6−8−23 12:12 PM
Hey there -
Attached is a photo circa late 60’s. After I graduated Cal in 1970, my first job was doing paste-up at Capwell’s ad department (in Oakland) assembling newspaper ads from type galleys, and FPO prints with wax.
6−18−23 2:33 PM
My next job after Capwell’s was as a Federal Sky Marshal. I flew on PanAm — mostly from SFO to points west for a year and a half.. As a cover identity I carried a sketchbook. It was a good excuse for looking around. Fortunately, I drew well enough that most of the other passengers assumed I was a professional artist. The Sky Marshal gig lasted until 1972 when they phased out the program. I wasn’t really cut out for law enforcement, so I got a job as a writer for Hallmark Cards and moved to Kansas City for a couple of years. After that I went to work as an art director for an educational film company, Centron Educational Films, in Lawrence, KS.
In 1975, I moved back to SF to marry my first wife. I had a couple of jobs (art director for American Analysis, a company in Oakland that made training films for the Army and art director at the Slide Factory) before I was hired by Ketchum, in 1978, as a storyboard artist reporting to Bruce Campbell.
Editor’s Note. See: https://geezersgallery.com/steve-rustad-has-tales-to-tell/ for his full story.
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6−8−23 1:29 PM
Photos 1 — This is me (Todd Miller) as “Uncle Sam” helping Joel Siegal (later a newspaper movie reviewer) cut a cake at a going-away party at Carson Roberts Advertising.
Joel was going into the army…sent to Vietnam. I was the copywriter replacing Joel.
I was making $450. a month.
Within 6 months, I moved to B.B.D.O. in San Francisco where I worked for Hal Riney for $500. a month.
Photo‑2 This is a picture of Joel Siegal pushing a piece of cake into the face of art director Mikio Osaki. Art Director Terry Gilliam (later Director of the movie Brazil and animator of Monty Python,etc.) was dressed as a wounded soldier standing beside Joel.
Writer Jill Murray also worked at Carson Roberts when I was there. I don’t know their salaries but I think they were miles above my $450.
6−9−23 8:38 AM
Oh yeah.….this was in 1964.
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6−8−23 2:12 PM:
“My first self-appointed task, at the age of 16, was to copy a single panel of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant” Sunday comic strip (for a year) from the Chicago Tribune. That was my first intro to graphic arts. I was very happy to find that Frank Frazzetta also copied “Prince Valiant”, to learn how to use the brush and pen.
My photo at age 17 and my copies.”
My “entry level” into a graphic location was on the USS Pocono, the Flag Ship for
Vice Admiral F. G. Fahrion, USN ( Commander Amphibious Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet.)
There was a full art and photo department where I was able to create charts and cartoons as shown on this menu for the 1952 Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Editors note: The collection of Prince Valiant drawings (saved by Dick’s mother) shows no corrections. There are 53 in all.
Editor’s second note: See Dick’s previous story:
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6−8−23 7:17 PM
My entry was in the Art Department of Singer Sewing Machine. The company could not create repair manuals in hundreds of languages, so we did “wordless books.” Using only drawings and symbols, we provided complex maintenance and repair instructions. I can’t imagine a better visual communication training ground.
6−11−23 4:03 PM
The wordless books were smaller as they only dealt with everyday maintenance and repair.
BTW, the machine that the book was written about was not a household machine. It was an industrial one primarily used for making shoes. The most heavy duty one I know of made fire hoses.
6/14/23, 1:33 PM
Great research. I don’t believe these two examples would have been part of the wordless series, but it’s a great example of giving a ton of information on a single sheet…with no need for translation as it was just numbers and letters.
I don’t remember if I had done the 221K machine (which is a small workhorse) wordless book, but I did work on its instruction booklet and I still own the machine.
In the art department was a guy named Arpad Stanuk who was a virtuoso with the airbrush. He did “X‑ray views” of the machines. Every part of the machine was photographed at a 45-degree angle and he would overlay translucent images of every single part. Every rod, every gear. Every plate. Spectacular work. I could find none of them on the internet, I’m afraid.
I’ll send a photo of me at that time for a giggle.
Editor’s note: Boot-or-shoe making Singer machines can still be bought on-line — -“shipping” is the issue!
On-line there is a showing of the very many versions of the Singer logo in foreign languages,
The machines reached many parts of the world.
Editor’s second note: See Lester’s part in Medical Advertising:
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6−8−23 8:50 PM
I was 25, coming off of 6 years of active duty in the Army, waiting to transfer out of my second year-long tour in Viet Nam. All I knew was weapons, and tactics, and had grown up as a service kid. Drew a great deal as a kid, which I had not drawn anything at all for the past 6 years. I was a veteran, married and a father.
I was able to scrounge some pencils, markers, and white cardboard from the headquarters and I created 12 illustrations while I waited the last 2 weeks to rotate back to the states. I can’t remember what they were.
What ever they were, I sent them to my Dad in California. After a little research I came up with three options: Art Center, Pratt, and University of California, asking him to mail a copy set to each school. U.C. was my only rejection (Thank you Lord…) and I took my family to LA.
I was halfway through Art Center when I ran out of my GI bill money, so I worked at Universal Studios art department for the summer, picking up a job creating art for educational film strips for 1st graders. I loved it! I was able to return to Art Center. They offered me a half scholarship by ACC and I graduated B.A.A. with honors.
Here’s my very first printed job.. It was 1974 for Zee toys and I was paid $75. I rendered the helicopter for the art director for whom I had earlier done some storyboard work.
I loved LA but got an offer to join a well established studio in Chicago,
So away we went, but a Chicago guy, I am not. Shortly after only a year, Dianne and I landed in San Francisco, where I worked at Art Works Studio for three great years. I’ve been now, for nearly 40 years, almost all of that at 1045 Sansome Street (the top of the hill). Ive been retired for a few years. (I got here, right at the beginning of Tech and Gaming, and I’ve retired at the beginning of the advent of Artificial Intelligence. Perfect timing all around.)
Ann, I’m pretty sure that this (illustration above) was done in Chicago for their beloved railroads.
It’s been a wild ride with a ton of all-nighters, but, it was an adventure and a lot of fun working with really special folks all across the advertising spectrum.
Here is my retrogameart.com of my favorite work, and the art I most enjoyed.
Cheers to you all,
Editor’s note: For Marc Ericksen’s previous story and artwork, see:
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6−11−23 6:03 AM
Here is where it all started for me after art school.
Hallmark Cards was in Europe looking for young talents working at them for a year as a experimental designer.
In Sweden they found Sven Lindman and I, so we went there and stayed for a year.
I am sending you a picture of me in my little space at Hallmark in 1962 that was published in our Swedish morning newspaper. (It also was added in a book about me). Here I am standing in the huge archive in Hallmark.
Editor’s note: The earlier report about Lars was posted at:
Lars, for many years, has been a successful Fine Artist in Sweden.
See his current website of paintings and prints at the list at the right: Still in the Game or:
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6−12−23 2:54 PM
Here’s my tale:
After graduating from Art Center College of Design in L.A. against Tink Adams’ (then president of Art Center) recommendation I went to Australia where I found a job with J. Walter Thompson in Sydney. At that time (1960) it was a great advantage being from America. With no actual/real life advertising work experience I was given a job as a Senior Art Director which included accounts that allowed me to visit all of Australia’s major cities! I am still amazed at my lucky experiences as a novice.
This is me in 1963 having just finished working in Australia for 2 years and then hitching hiking from Singapore to London. That’s another story!
7/1/23 12:30 PM
My office was just to the left of the Opera House which was just starting to be constructed when I was there. Our building was torn down several years after I left. The tea ladies who came by in the morning and afternoon asked us to join the Opera House Lottery ticket pool that the creative department had going.
My portfolio from that time and everything in San Francisco has apparently been lost in our move to Texas!
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VP Creative Director, Dennis Foley was responsible for hiring me as the first female art director at Ogilvy Mather, San Francisco in 1982. It was a miracle I was ever hired. David Ogilvy anointed Ogilvy & Mather San Francisco as the “crown jewel” of O&M Worldwide, and regarded Hal Riney as his #1 Chief Creative Officer. Since 1976, when Hal Riney first opened the San Francisco O&M office, the policy was to only hire creative heavyweights with a proven track record.
Dennis Foley, Hal’s Creative right-hand man, believed O&M was to “top heavy.” Foley predicted when top creatives left for better opportunities, the agency would suffer huge talent deficits shattering its creative foundation. Foley advised Hal to hire a group of talented young creatives for grooming as O&M’s next creative generation. VP Creative Director Tom Tieche coined Foley’s approach as “The Infinite Monkey Theorem.” I was the first of many “monkeys” hired at O&M during this creative experimental window.
I was introduced to Dennis Foley courtesy of The Creative Black Book. After finding Foley’s name listed, I called for an interview and met with him during his portfolio review hours. Dennis impressed me with his intelligence, humanity and razor-sharp Irish wit. He was one of the best story tellers I’ve ever met, we became instant friends. At the end of our interview Dennis gave me the ultimate compliment by asking permission to keep my student portfolio in his office so he could pitch it to Hal at “the right time.” As a master strategist planning his attack Dennis elaborated, “‘The right time’ could be tomorrow, next week or next month. It’s really important to wait for Hal to be relaxed and in a good mood, this usually happens after a successful creative day and a few bourbons.” Dennis’s strategy hit the mark, six-weeks later he called to offer me my art director job at Ogilvy & Mather.
As I prepared myself to enter O&M’s hallowed halls for my first day of work, mentor and dear friend Herb Briggs wisely counseled: “Keep your eyes open, and your mouth shut!” Priceless advice that has served me well.
The Larson Bride Came C.O.D.
My life began when I met Hal Larson. We first met at a party celebrating the birthdays of our mutual friends’— writers John van der Zee and Joanna Thompson Zane. I was introduced to Hal by Creative Director Herb Briggs who deadpanned, “Hal Larson, I’d like you to meet Sue Atcheson, she’s a real ball breaker!” Caught off guard by Herb’s remarks, I blushed and was speechless. Hal gazed at me with twinkling eyes that soon melted into a wickedly endearing smile. As Hal reached into his pocket to give me his business card along with an invitation to “do lunch,” my heart became his.
On the face of it we appeared to be an improbable match. I was a divorcee who had blessedly emerged whole after surviving a traumatic marriage. Hal was a widower who had been happily married for 33 years before losing his wife to complications from juvenile diabetes. Hal recalled:
“After Vonnie’s death, I was emotionally exhausted. I contemplated a peaceful old age, traveling, reading and writing. I would never marry again. Or so I thought. Four years after my wife’s death, on the eve of my sixty-second birthday, I cancelled a red-eye flight to Chicago and went to the birthday party of an old friend. And there my life took an abrupt turn. Completely forgetting my plans, I fell higgledy-piggledy hopelessly in love with a blithe and radiant woman 28 years younger than me. Five months later, on a sun-drenched patio under a bower of balloons and fresh country flowers, we married.”
To commemorate our nuptials, Joanna adroitly wrote a Hal Riney & Partners, Inc. purchase order for my new husband. This gift came with C.O.D. instructions “For a lifetime of love, tenderness, caring and fun with Susan Atcheson, A.D.” Hal Riney added his endorsement by signing it.
For the next 31 years (until his passing at age 93 in 2017) Hal Larson faithfully embodied the spirit of that purchase order; he was my soulmate, best friend, lover, mentor, and partner in work and play. I will forever cherish the love we shared and our time together.
At age 66 Hal became a first-time dad. Then again at age 69 Hal welcomed the birth of our second little girl. Hal reflected his second marriage gave him:
“a renewed appreciation of the thousands of little things that make life such a joy. Good friends. Family. Love. Funny stories. Books, Long walks. Useful work. Beautiful views. Ice cream. Sunsets. Music. Community. And always and forever, my wife and daughters. How very, very lucky I am.”
Learning From The Masters
“Learning the Art of Advertising From The Masters,” was the most gratifying entry level project I created while working at Ogilvy & Mather. The project was a series of SF Ad Club 2 workshops taught by advertising masters including creatives: Herb Briggs, Kit Hinrichs, Stan Fleming and Al Hayes.
As the education program director for SF Ad Club 2, it was my job to find ways to link entry level professionals to senior advertising experts who could provide guidance in the fundamentals of art direction, copywriting, portfolio design, selling yourself & ideas, marketing and learning what to say (and not say) to a client.
My inspiration came from Rembrandt’s Dutch Masters painting. During my freelancing years, before I was hired at O&M, I had the privilege of working for some incredible advertising masters in art direction, graphic design, copywriting, media and accounts. I wanted to share with others what I had learned, thus “the Masters series” was born.
There was no budget for the Masters project. This project took wings through the generosity of San Francisco’s advertising community. The Master teachers and fine artist waived their stipends. Print donations were provided by Walker Engraving, Aspen Graphics, Omnicomp Typography, Seaboard Paper, California Printing and Ed Zak, photographer. Greg Keeling, a gifted oil painter, rendered the Advertising Masters artwork on canvas emulating the style of Rembrandt. My supervisors at Ogilvy and Mather graciously gave me the needed time to design the poster and mailer during office hours. Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby lent their Master’s hand by editing my copy and fine tuning the design.
Opportunities to learn the “Art of Advertising From The Masters” continued for the rest of my years at Ogilvy & Mather and Hal Riney & Partners, Inc. How blessed I was to work and learn from the best! I witnessed the creation of legendary advertising campaigns created by Goodby & Silverstein, Hal’s Presidential Tuesday Team, Jerry Andelin, John van der Zee, Boyd Jacobson, Dennis Foley, Brian Barnes, and the list goes on and on and on…
Susan Atcheson Larson