In the 1960’s I was fortunate to land a nice illustration commission from Young & Rubicam. It entailed a series of full page illustrations for Kaiser Aluminum that appeared in Fortune magazine, Business Week and other publications. Each ad consisted of three pages. The first page was solid black with a die cut and small bit of copy underneath giving you a small glimpse of the illustration on the third page. The die cut was over a vivid pink sky I had painted in the illustration,which happened to be a picture of a helicopter flying over very rough terrain bringing a fully assembled aluminum transmission tower to its permanent site. With in the illustration I chose to paint a hot pink sky for visual impact. I thought I could get away with it. Upon delivery of my art to Y&R, I was confronted by one account exec reviewing my illustration. ”Wow” was his remark. “Why the pink sky?” “For visual impact” was my response.” Yeah but skies are blue” he said with a very serious tone to his voice “We will let let you know if they approve it”
Previously I had been told by Don Sternloff a creative director at Y&R that Henry Kaiser himself viewed and approved all corporate identity ads. Two days later I received a phone call from the agency ”Henry Kaiser loved the illustration pink sky and all” I was told. ”I knew he would like it” I responded” “What made you so sure?” I was asked. Having worked at Kaiser Graphic Arts right out of Art Center College, before opening my studio in San Francisco, I was aware of Kaisers affinity for the color pink. I told the caller from Y&R all of Henry Kaiser’s Permenente Cement trucks in California were painted a hot pink. On another occassion I viewed an article in Architectual Digest Magizine about Henry Kaisers home in Hawaii as well as a suite of rooms he kept at the Fairmount Hotel. The color PINK was dominate in the décor.
So when it came to painting the sky pink in my illustration, not only was pink used for visual impact, I thought how could I miss with Kaiser’s taste for PINK!