Above the reception area of Butte, Herrero and Hyde’s second floor studio, there was a small storage space on the roof, with windows for light and shelves for storage. This is where a lot of finished art from past jobs was kept. One very rainy afternoon, when the partners had headed out for lunch (was it Venessi’s or New Joe’s or Enrico’s — up the street on Broadway, or lunch with Hal Halberstadt at ChoCho’s, or the Owl ‘n’ Turtle, or the Iron Pot or Gino’s) — I locked the front door, put a chair on the reception desk and climbed up to push up the trap door in the ceiling. I pulled myself up and into the storage space. As I had guessed, with the heavy rain, there were many areas getting wet.
I moved a lot of illustrations that were still dry. The water seemed to flow down established channels, so when I left, everything was in a dry location. By the time BH&H had returned, I was back at my drawing board and they never knew that I protected (maybe what they no longer even wanted).
When I was there, the partners had a yearly production — the Shell Chemical Calendar.
Shell Chemical’s office was in San Francisco. When it was time for the calendar to move through the studio, there was much activity. Conferences were many on the style and details of the new calendar. One of the little additions — barely noticeable — was the graphic decoration that was added on each of the special days of the month. These were authentic images taken from flour sacks of the past — so plentiful in early American bulk supplies of flour. Each image was sized and muted, so they were seen on the date — but still subtle. Phases of the moon were styled and placed. The reference for the dates of the moon’s changes came from the prediction records that I picked up at the US Federal Building at 30 Sansome Street.
My special assignment at the last phase, close to the deadline for all to be completed, was answering the phone calls from Shell’s David Davies. I was to tell him that he could not see the ongoing development of the paintings — and that Lowell was at his cabin in the Sierras and would deliver the finished art when it was completed.
Click on an image for a larger view and the collection.