Job Changes

When many of those who worked commer­cially, came to the time to make a change or retire, they usually stepped into another avenue related to their talent: fine arts painting, personal photog­raphy, sculp­ture, writing, deco­ra­tive wear, event designing & plan­ning, profes­sional crafts, book design, teaching, theatre and more. Their unique talents, perfected through the years, were valu­able in pursuing their new interests.

Bruce Wolfe
When Bruce Wolfe switched full-time, from 2D illus­tra­tion to 3D sculp­ture — he surprised many in our ‘graphics’ circles. Bruce had a wide range of painting styles. This move, out of the commer­cial adver­tising arena, gave a huge opening to others. Here is Bruce’s sculp­ture of photog­ra­pher Ed Zak – and I show Ed Zak in 2006.

Chris Blum
In the 1960s and ‘70s— ‘Levi’s Brand’ in San Fran­cisco — many of us think: Chris Blum!
There were Levi’s posters, ads, and TV commer­cials (from Dancer Fitzgerald and Sample) like this one:

Now, his favorite art form is boxes – – that make you stop, and ques­tion, and wonder!
You can see Chris Blum’s websites in our list­ings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.

David Broad
Dave Broad has said: “I found my heart and wife in San Fran­cisco”. He also found a long and successful oppor­tu­nity – he joined Land­phere Asso­ciates. Dave found that art studio was full of great people – and Max Land­phere, was a close friend. There, Dave created humorous Illus­tra­tions. After many years, Dave decided that it was time to start free­lancing. Time to be working from home, as his third child was due to arrive there. His light-hearted Illus­tra­tions continued to grace many publi­ca­tions. When he stepped away from commer­cial work, that was his chance to show his water­color talents — from the classic water­color styles to bright abstracts.

Jack Allen
We posted a full story of Jack Allen’s photog­raphy, previ­ously. I missed showing this sample of his 1965 “Lucky Lager” photog­raphy. This time we empha­size his change from photog­raphy to painting. The style of his paint­ings are now subjects for jig-saw puzzles: “Company Town” (500 pieces) and “Nob Hill” (1000 pieces) are shown – very popular for all ages who are now staying close to their homes.

Kirsten Tirsbak Nusser
Kirsten arrived from Denmark in late 1965, and worked for Psychology Today Maga­zine in San Diego and design studios in LA.
I first met Kirsten when I joined Barnum Commu­ni­ca­tions, later FCB, in 1976. For many years we both covered medical ad agency needs as art direc­tors, graphic designers and layout artists. (Shown: a medical journal ad for Aleve® and the Genen­tech HER2 Patient Educa­tion Brochure (Cancer) –for which Kirsten won an RX Award.)
During many big campaigns, we were often working nights and week­ends, after everyone else had gone home! After I left FCB health­care in 1995, Kirsten stayed, and was employed there as Art Director, until retiring in early 2001. Then her time became open — to design jewelry (and she also teaches jewelry-making). Kirsten said she espe­cially enjoyed designing the back­drops and coming up with fun ideas for this event in 2019: Speak Easy Night Club, for the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

Mik Kita­gawa
Here was another move to sculp­ture. Mik Kita­gawa worked at various ad agen­cies in San Francisco.
He started in print, got into TV at Y&R on Goodyear. When he moved to other agen­cies he did both TV and print.
This entry into the SFSCA 1974 compe­ti­tion won him a gold medal.
Once on his own, he found many loca­tions to sculpt. I didn’t know Mik at the time, except for his appear­ances at McGovern’s on Vallejo Street. Then he would attend the Geezer Gath­er­ings. Richard and I visited one of his “open-studios” and we purchased this figure. This bronze piece, Mik titled: “Romeo and…”.

Norm Nicholson
Just recently we received a note from Norm Nicholson. I have posted his illus­tra­tions, but now he is writing his memoirs.
Norm’s note to me:

Hi Ann
I knew you were a native of San Fran­cisco. That is a great story of your mother working in the defense industry in Rich­mond. She was one of the orig­inal Rosie the Riveters. You have to start writing your memoirs with all the years of growing up in SF. Or you prob­ably have started.
I have to get back to it myself as I have let the pen drop so to speak. I have written a lot of memoir mate­rial as I had been in several writing work­shops. It’s really for my Grand­son’s and Grand daugh­ters, who would enjoy them.

Rory Phoenix
I would see Rory Phoenix, also at McGovern’s. I knew that he was in adver­tising but I didn’t know of his copy­writing talent. That was back in the 1980s. I remember seeing the ”Pin Drop” commer­cial on TV.
I changed my lunch spots when McGovern’s became a ‘fern bar’ called “Grumpy’s”— so I no longer saw these ad men at lunchtime. Then in 2010, in our Marin Inde­pen­dent Journal, I saw Rory Phoenix again — a painter!
I was able to reach Rory and he sent this:
“McGovern’s” late 70s early 80s was an era of long lunches. I remember the owner Seamus poured very generous drinks.
I worked at JWT ‘til ‘87 and left for Chicago, then NY in ‘87. Came back to JWT 9 – 32000. Painted all my life and was an art director ‘til the Mac turned layout into a commodity and became all about Photo­shop. Copy­writing always seemed easier. Heck, I wrote half the scripts and head­lines anyway.
I continue to work remotely where age doesn’t seem to matter. I think the Internet gave a lot of us “geezers” a fresh oppor­tu­nity, after they’d shunted us out when we started looking too much like “Dad”.

You can see Rory Phoenix’s websites in our list­ings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.


With so many at home and not sure of being employed again – – I find that, very much like the time that I had to retire before retire­ment age. It was 1996 and I was age 55 when I moved out of my studio located in San Fran­cisco. It was not: “Now, what else can I do?” it was “I know what I need to do”.
I became a care­giver. I had already been assisting my aunt who had been on her own for nine years. I had been able to stop by “in the avenues” after work. So helping my aunt, taking on some free-lance jobs and other family matters filled my time. But then from 2002 to 2011, my mother needed my help.
Care giving starts with the closing down of residences.
(Totally out of my realm of expe­ri­ence) was the “first job” – – when a small mobile home that I sold through a realtor – was aban­doned before the full payment. The prop­erty had been wrecked and my “trusted” realtor turned her back on me. I needed to refur­bish, adver­tise and make the appoint­ments and show the prop­erty, and sell the mobile home. I even wrote a new sales agree­ment that incor­po­rated the rules of the mobile home park with the legal require­ments for selling. This is just to say that, when you have a new task, you can tackle it.
All this was before the time when daily health-care was needed full time.

Senior-care wasn’t in my art instruc­tion, but my past assign­ments in the medical ad agen­cies gave me the interest to illus­trate what I was learning with this new chal­lenge. I also took photos of foods, home­care equip­ment and my mother. (I was lucky that she was always sweet and accepted all that I tried when there were changes made and she required more help.)
As a full time care­giver, I was not making money – but I was saving it. No more free-lance busi­ness expenses, no hired help to our home.
There were those who suggested that my mother be placed in senior home. I couldn’t “not know” what was happening to her daily – or even hourly.

So, as I was learning what was required, I was making a record of every­thing. I was “on the job” as I had been all those years at my drawing board.
My past assign­ments had shown a lot of step-by-step instruc­tions. My past expe­ri­ence with type and photo selec­tion helped when I created a binder of infor­ma­tion. A visiting hospice nurse once suggested that my binder of care would be useful for the Red Cross to share with the public after a natural disaster. Family members might need some easy-to-view instructions.

There were vaca­tions that I had to refuse, but I used the time for family research, family trees, and keeping this Geezer group as an exten­sion of the friends that I had from previous years. After 2011, I continued almost full time with these projects.

The change of job for me, I know now, is that I write. I hadn’t been into writing since my high-school years. Now I’m writing for this Geezers site, computer type designing of family roots, and I wrote a small (48 page) book of my paternal grandparents.
Another big job change for me is that I take digital photos! I have taken thou­sands of shots as we have visited (monthly for 6.5 years) the building of the “Matthew Turner” – – a tribute to the master ship-builder of 228 ships who was related to one of my most favorite persons since 1964: Murray Hunt. I can’t say that I am a “photog­ra­pher” but I am espe­cially enjoying this new job change and also using my favorite tool – – this computer. (But I do still draw on paper.) I even submitted this cartoon to the New Yorker maga­zine. But it was rejected.
My changes did not make money. So many people are looking into what else they can do to bring in income.

Still, at this time, when it is safer to keep family members together — I know that I would again choose being a family caregiver.

Ann Thompson