From another Geezer re: the obit on photographer Tom Vano
I did some work with Tom on a brochure for the Olympic Club. I had worked with him before, but this was just a few years ago. It was then just to past some time he was telling me about a band he had back east. I think he was in high school. Any way, the band was unhappy with the singer they had. His voice was a little too high. And not to hot, so they fired him. His name was Antoio Benedetti at the time. He later became Tony Bennet.
Thought you might like that true story.
Your friend SAL VERGARA
Steam Beer, Spice, Ships and a 58’ Classic Fantail Yacht
As posted in June, I showed the first label for Anchor Steam Beer, bottled in San Francisco. Not long after its original debut, the label was redesigned by Jim Stitt who has designed all of the labels for the brewing company, to date. Even more than these! Jim has said that there is soon to be released, still another of his design and illustration (that he executes totally by hand, (no use of computer enhancements).
To view a 2012 video (Click this link) https://www.anchorbrewing.com/mobile/videos/jim_stitt
Anchor Brewing Videos
Drawing on History: Anchor Brewing Label Artist Jim Stitt Jim has a long history in San Francisco advertising and corporate design. Technical illustration while employed at Boeing in Seattle, Jim says, was intense training. Tom Gleason was there also, and they both moved on to study at in Los Angeles. Back in San Francisco and connecting with Hal Riney, Jim got a job at SF’s BBD&O as Art Director. Tom also located as A.D. at McCann-Erickson, Inc. of San Francisco.
Jim was offered the Spice Islands account at Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample. Jim was to design a package that held many Spice Island cookbooks, each offering recipes of different cultures. Great ideas can pop-up at any time…so it was as Jim was riding across the Golden Gate Bridge on his way home – -he remembered his introduction to Sister Mary Corita while he was at The Art Center. (Corita Kent 1918 – 1986) Visualizing her beautiful serigraphs, Jim contacted her and together they built a campaign as a boxed set of Spice Island cookbooks with the serigraph art on the front and back covers.
“International Dining With Spice Islands.” This direct mail production won many design awards. Artist: Sister Mary Corita,IHM – Designer Jim Stitt Art Director: Jim Stitt — Copywriter: Susan Plummer — Printer: Pacific Lithograph Co. — Agency Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample — Client: Spice Islands.
Jim moved to the Campbell Ewald Advertising & Marketing agency on Pacific Avenue (with the Spice Island account following him there). Jim was assigned the Matson Corp. account. He created a full line of corporate identity for the shipping line. When Dailey & Associates replaced Campbell Ewald, Jack Keeler was Head Art Director and when Jack moved on — Jim became Head Art Director of Dailey & Associates.
From then until now, Jim Stitt has had his own marketing business. He has worked and lived on the “White Heron” that has just been sold. Now he lives on dry land and probably sleeps on a water bed.
Apologies to photographers and all for usurping the images without permission, if you want photo credit, please contact this site and we will give credit.
All Working ”Commercially”
Maynard Dixon was known for his paintings. In 1999, PBS Antique Roadshow showed a Maynard Dixon painting appraised at up to $30,000. And on a recent update of that telecast (6−30−2014) it was valued up to $250,000!
Norm Nicholson alerted me to the fact that Mr. Dixon worked commercially, while in San Francisco — even illustrating Hopalong Cassidy books.
Many magazines in the early 1900s had covers illustrated by Mr. Dixon. (Click this link) ”Maynard Dixon Museum” it shows a very good selection.
I asked Norm if he had a couple of examples of his work when he was in the 728 Montgomery Street location.
1 These first four illustrations were a part of a Crown-Zellerbach promotional piece- — a joint effort — Bill Hyde, designer and Norm, illustrator.
2 They are followed by an ad for Consolidated Freightways for Burger Advertising Agency (which took the Butte Herrero & Hyde studio space).
3 Next, we show one of a series of ads for World Air Center — Agency: Richardson, Siegel, Rolfs & McCoy — ADs: Bob Penné and Barbara Judson. Norm: “I Think Barbara Judson was mainly a production person who worked for several agencies during her career. For some reason she acted as an art director along with Bob Pinné on that series of ads I did for World Air.
4 Illustration for Chevron Corp.Publication “Bulletin.” Norm: “I believe the machine in the painting for Chevron was a road paving machine that used Standard Oil products.” – AD: Max Landphere.
5 Illustrations for Princess Cruises (at that time, there were only two ships). —Agency: Gross, Pera & Rocky — AD: Jerry Huff
Nicholson illustrations — 1 through 5A-5D
Others that I haven’t already mentioned that were in the Belli Building at that time were, Bob Bausch, Janet Jones, Paul Rupert, Richard L. Burns and Charles Matheny, and later, taking the Matheny location — Thom LaPerle was there designing annual reports.
Janet designed annual reports for Hexcel Corporation and California Dental Society, and collateral for Fireman’s Fund and Wells Fargo Bank, among others. She also created the identity, signage, billboards and brochures for Southampton builders in Benicia.
Paul Rupert had a one-room studio on the top floor of 728. One of his big assignments was a lot of promotional productions for Peggy Fleming — after she won the US Figure Skating Ladies’ Singles gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.
Richard L. Burns was a partner in an advertising firm. During my first years of free-lancing from 1965 to 1968, Richard gave me a wide variety of assignments. Charles Matheny Advertising was also my other source of work — also so very convenient being in the same location.
Studios: Cold, wet and noisy
Studios: Cold, wet, noisy — with history and warm memories.
The building at 728 Montgomery was, in 1849, the First Freemasonry in California. At the time of the ‘49 Gold Rush, Montgomery Street, like all of the streets, were sand or mud or worse. Wind, fog and rain and all the extra influences — and no sidewalk surfaces — one can hardly even imagine just getting from a building to your mode of transport. 722 and 728 were once a cigar warehouse, a theatre, and a public bathhouse. There were gas lamps at the street (that could still be lit in the 1960s).
Starting before the 1920s, the buildings, from 728 Montgomery Street — south to the huge Montgomery Block building, were locations adopted by a surprising great number of great writers and great artists — (there is no need for me to repeat this information from the web — it is all there in full). I am zeroing in on just one artist of that time, Maynard Dixon, who had his studio at 728 Montgomery Street from 1913 to 1938.
And here he is carrying (a painting?) south on Montgomery Street.
He had a twenty-by-twenty foot room at the back of the buildings top floor of 728 with north light from a skylight. There is a documentary video, narrated by Diane Keaton — selections from (click this link) “Maynard Dixon Art and Spirit.“ It shows the view above and also this one of Mr. Dixons in his studio with his collection of western artifacts.
There is another video, (click this link) “Arizona’s Artist: Maynard Dixon” narrated by Mark Sublette, that shows a drawing of how Mr. Dixon carried all of his collected treasures to safety the day after the 1906 earthquake.
In those years — and through the years, the buildings must have been cold, wet and sometimes noisy!
The buildings had a lot of charm, but I can’t say that the renters in the 1960s and 70s — were warm or dry in the winter. The artists there at the Belli Buildings knew that Mr. Belli would take only lowest bids for repairs.
Not so lucky, for Janet Jones (who had her studio overlooking the courtyard) as she describes: I definitely can tell you the Belli Building was leaky. The story was that Belli was too cheap to put on a new roof and kept patching, then refusing to pay when the roof leaked again. My little office was flooded when water leaked into the outside wall and ceiling, and soaked all my books and filled the flat file with water, ruining all my papers.
Now, should we hear about the heating system in the buildings? There wasn’t one. Most renters kept electric heaters at their feet. Bill Hyde had rented the third floor front space when the partnership had dissolved — and there was an area with a drawing board, chair and side cabinet that I could rent. Bill had put in a Franklin stove, but with the size of the room and the very high ceiling, five single glass high windows and a large skylight above…we were “commercial” artists freezing in a garret. We wore heavy wool clothing and even mittens (except when actually working on artwork).
Bill, then having become a single free-lance artist, was able to produce creations that were his alone. He was creating huge Op-Art (popular at that time) back-drops for Chevrolets that were photographed in studios back east. Here are three of Bill’s clients. The United States Post Office (Contact, Norman Todhunter), Anchor Steam Beer (Owner: Fritz Maytag), and an advertising agency — Baker, Johnson & Dickinson, of Milwaukee (Art Director, Will Johnson) The bronze casting by Tom Martin Browne.
Norm Nicholson took over my location in Bill’s studio when I moved on in 1969. He probably used Bill’s great drawing board that lifted easily by the shift of a handle below. I did a lot of work standing up…large pieces where I’d have to walk around the board. Norm wrote: I remember Bill Hyde’s potbelly stove that seemed to be the heat source for that room. If I got there in the morning before Bill, I would fire it up.
Janet: There was no heat in my office, but I had a little space heater. Noise? Also, you may remember that whenever Belli won a case they fired a cannon in the courtyard, and it was ruinous if I was ruling a line or doing fine work at the drawing table. I remember that when he won he also would fly the “Jolly Roger” on the flagpole on the roof, (also in disrepair) so it came crashing down. One more jolt to live through.
Thom LaPerle had his studio on the second floor of 722 (right above the Belli offices) — he wrote: I was in the Belli building from February 1970 through mid-1979. Mel wanted my space to expand and offered to buy-out my lease for $10k, which I eventually pushed to $40k and moved the office to the third floor above Swiss Ski Sports on Commercial Street. Others in the Belli buildings, during my tenure, where Charles Felix, Janet Jones, Charles Matheny, Dan Ramano and Paul Rupert. Sure had some fun and memorable times there.
Each year, there was the Christmas Party!
Norm: Did you ever attend Melvin Belli’s Christmas parties? They were something else. He made his famous Pisco Punch that he served. Herb Caen mentions it in one of his columns.
Me: I remember being to a least one Christmas party there in the deep underground rooms of 728. Had some Pisco Punch, too. The only time that I spoke with Melvin Belli was then as he handed out the drinks. I knew that he had represented many famous and infamous persons. He represented Corporations, Hotels, and (to name a few) persons: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mae West, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Muhammad Ali, Jack Ruby, Sirhan Sirhan, Alex Haley, Nick Nolte, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Tony Curtis, Mickey Cohen, Lenny Bruce, Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker — and MY GRANDFATHER (!) who had (as my mother told me) an OSHA type claim for an injury to his hand (or arm) — this may have been in the ‘30s while my grandfather worked as a winch driver on lumber ships at the San Francisco docks — and Belli was with the National Recovery Administration (that NRA created a migrant worker relief program). Mr. Belli later claimed that he developed a deep sympathy for the underdog during that time.
Also being in “touristy” North Beach (the previous “Barbary Coast” area), one evening when I was watering the Geraniums in the window boxes of 722’s second story windows, “Three Caballeros” serenaded me (with guitars and voices) from the street below. Nice.
Meanwhile, Next door at 728
At the same time, 1964 – 1965 there was another studio in the other of the two Belli Buildings that was pouring out a lot of creativity.
The second floor, front, of 728 Montgomery Street was the workspace for Charles Felix, Dan Romano, Roy Gover and Sven Lindman.
I knew that Charles was from the UK, but I have read, more recently, that Charles Felix was from Bath, in Somerset, South West England. In the early 1960s he was in public relations and on his was to Hong Kong. He stopped here to explore the San Francisco Bay Area and this became his home.
In 1964 he was in the Belli Building and word was that he was pursuing the rights to build an English pub on the pristine and protected site of Muir Beach, Marin County. The authorities of the area were afraid that he was to create an “eyesore”. Charles had to battle long and hard to get approval and create the authentic 7‑room roadhouse that stands there today. His creative talent was his vision and ability to find a very old pub in the UK that was to be demolished. Charles had it totally disassembled, put in containers and shipped to San Francisco. He also found a 70-year-old San Rafael hotel that was to be razed and he salvaged all of the antique beams and much of other wood. The Pelican Inn opened in 1978.
Dan Romano painted the sign for the Pelican Inn.
I saw the original painting in the dining room of the Romano house on Christmas night in 2012.
Dan Romano’s art was seldom in color. He was a master of pen and ink line work. If color was needed, he would convert his black line art to a film positive and then paint color on the illustration board attached behind the film-pos. Dan’s style was in great demand in publications before the halftone process was perfected for newspaper ads and editorial art. In those days, Norm Nicholson was teaching at San Francisco’s Academy of Art. Norm said that he showed Dan Romano’s fine lines and crosshatch style to his students so that they could aspire to such clean and very precise work. Norm: “Dan was a beautiful designer in all his work. He certainly inspired me! What talent came out of S.F. in those days. Especially the black and white art.”
A lot of the SF artists socialized in the city, but Dan worked steadily at his drawing board through the day and then was home with his wife, Riva. They had had their home in Marin County designed and built by Joseph Esherick. The Romanos enjoyed a long-time friendship with Stan and Frances Galli who also lived in the same area.
Here, first, is line art for a winery (the names of client, agency, art director are unavailable). Scanned directly from Dan’s art, I could find no corrections on the 12” x 6” illustration.
Another original is this line and full color illustration of a truck. The examples that follow have been found at small size in ADASF 1963−64−65 Annuals where the halftone has blurred the clarity of the “Romano” line.
Roy Gover came to San Francisco from London by way of Toronto. He had worked in London and he had a strong commercial art background before arriving in the SF Bay Area.
Bob Bausch wrote recently, “Roy Gover and Sven Lindman were both good friends of mine, who I met when we all worked at “Patterson and Hall” (an art studio established in 1921 that promoted many artists new to San Francisco).
Roy had the valuable drawing talent to provide layouts (comps or comprehensives) for San Francisco advertising agencies such as Bonfield Associates. Because the agencies held his work, I never saw that side of his talent — but in 728 Montgomery St., between assignments, he was always painting. I have one of his paintings from that time. Later, he had shows at the SFMOMA and many fine galleries. Roy was “theatrical” and his creative talents were also presented in his recordings and humorous illustrations.
Sven Lindman was born in Hultsfred, Sweden and went to design school in Stockholm. He and his classmate, Lars Melander, were chosen by visiting “scouts” from Hallmark Cards to come to the states and share their talents with designers at Hallmark in Kansas City.
He stayed at Hallmark for a few years and then moved on to San Francisco where he worked at Patterson and Hall and did some freelancing at 728 Montgomery Street.
After five years there, he moved to New York City where he again free-lanced and later joined Sudler & Hennessey, Div. of Y&R as an art director. In 1985, he went on to Klemtner Advertising where he became Creative Director until his retirement in 2001.
Sven and his wife, Jean Davidson spent some time in Hawaii and then settled permanently in Menlo Park, CA.
Although the collection of his art is much larger, I am showing his work from the publications of the 1965 and 1966 ADASF Annual Exhibitions of Advertising and Editorial Arts and also the Sven’s promo folder when he was at the Patterson and Hall.