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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…”.
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:
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.
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 – 3‑2000. 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.