San Francisco has unlimited, established cultures, from all of the immigrants that arrived.
In June of 1970 there was the “Gay Liberation March” that opened awareness of that culture that had populated in the Polk Street area and then moved to what was originally the Irish, Swedish, Finnish location in the Castro Street area.
In the 1940s and ‘50s, my family would shop at the Castro shops and once visited the Finnila’s Finnish Baths on upper Market Street. (in 1947: ”most modern & largest steam bath in U.S.” and in 1977: ”the oldest and most well-known of all Bay Area baths” and “for many years it was the only non-gay bathhouse available”. Alfred Finnila also designed the famous art deco diner, which opened in 1938 at the southeastern end of Golden Gate Bridge. Thank you, Wikipedia.).
Location: 300 Broadway, Greenwood Press was founded in 1934.
Until today 7−10−22, I was writing: “nothing to see here, no history found about this building”. Then, checking one last time, this link popped onto my screen:
This studio was existing in 1966, when I was just down the street at the Belli Building. I would have been so impressed if I could have visited the Greenwood Press and met Jack Stauffacher!
In 1973, Graphics and I moved to the second floor of 300 Broadway. The location brought us closer to clients and services — above us was Roger Sheridan and Rudy Gomez who had moved from Landphere’s (one of the major art services in the city). Rudy solved our need for quick photostats.
There was a pasta company across the street. It was called “Homestead” because the Italian immigrant owners wanted to assimilate (and the name sounded American). It had started in 1917. The delicious aroma, all day long, took some getting used to.
San Francisco had the usual culture centers that included the San Francisco Ballet which became one of Graphics’ clients. We were commissioned to produce all publicity brochures and posters for the Spring & Winter performances and for the special Nutcracker performance and première performances. Photographs were provided by the ballet company. Larry Keenan, Jr. (who previously photographed the Beatniks) altered the ballet company’s photo with filters and created the poster of the Nutcracker’s Dancing Doll. I show two “Nutcracker” layouts that I presented to Lew Christiansen, the Ballet’s Artistic Director. Luckily, he chose the version that was easier for me to complete as finished art (line art converted to a film-pos overlay and painted with Dr. Martin’s dyes on illustration board).
There was a lot of direct contact with the SF Ballet as I kept up with performances (newspaper ads and special printed pieces). When I left Graphics, this client left with me. The time required for personal contact with the SF Ballet was not profitable for an art studio, but it was an easy fit for a free-lancer’s studio, at home.
We were still designing annual reports and one was the first annual report in 1974 for the Trust for Public Land (a tax exempt public charity established to acquire and save land for the public’s open space needs). As we were putting the annual report together, I found that the location the TPL was saving (32 acres of creek front in Marin County) was a block from my home/studio. A “marsh stop” is the favorite term today for the circular walk where the path views the mouth of the creek reaching Richardson Bay. TPL was the first self-sustaining conservation organization in the nation.
Last month, June 22, 2022, after 48 years of land acquisitions, the Trust for Public Lands saved a large part of 110 acres on the southern tip of our nearby Tiburon peninsula: TPL’s agreement was with the Martha Co., a group of heirs of the John Reed family of Marin County, and it gives the trust until summer 2024 to complete the purchase.
Another major cultural change appeared.
My years at 300 Broadway were 1974-to-1976, so the first notice of another major cultural change was my assignment of illustrating the arena for a game of Pong!
PAC-MAN was another popular early game.
Our client, US Leasing, was showing the new NCR office equipment. This was the beginning of the never-ending High-Tech Culture.
US Leasing described itself as the oldest and largest independent leasing company in the world.
The new NCR equipment was large and expensive, businesses would lease them and then trade-up quickly as new models were developed. I show the NCR new equipment for leasing.
For this folder, I was asked to develop a very long dragon. The concept was to show how the “other” leasing companies were slow to give quotes and service their leases; “you kick it in the tail and two week later it feels it in the head”.
I offered two dragons. They were painted using the white masking paints that dried enough to be able to spread black ink or paint over the full area and then peel back the mask, revealing the dragons. They chose the bolder dragon.
Theater, Movie Culture and Barnum Communications.
From 1976 ‑1977, I was at 560 Pacific Avenue when I freelanced again for Bob Buechert at Barnum Communications This building was originally a saloon, housed a night club, an art gallery, and a space for public assemblies. It had a stage at the rear when it was the Monaco, a theatre-restaurant.This location was on a street that had very many previous occupants. It was a very popular street titled: “International Settlement”.
The street, when I was there, had the Little Fox Theatre which was originated by The Kingston Trio, using artifacts from the demolished huge Fox theater on Market Street.
564 Pacific Avenue was the location of American Zoetrope founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas.
This area that had been the old entertainment location was in the ‘70s, the new North Hollywood.
Yes, Barnum Communication had the name of a circus family member, but he was owner of the pharmaceutical ad agency.
The agency’s equipment was changing to electric typewriters and to even an in-house photostat machine: an AGFA GEVAERT 24“X26” REPROMASTER VERTICAL CAMERA. MODEL # 1100.
(I could find several on-line!) Even when working late, I would just take the few steps up to the darkroom (the stage of the old Monaco). The Agfa’s copy board had a backlight feature for halftone and continuous tone reproductions. It would even take dimensional objects. Quite a convenience! I found it a way to make slide shows. I would copy my black and white art, make positives and negatives on the Agfa and then color the white areas with colored markers.
Another slide presentation was for families of hemophiliacs.”Inside a Bleeding Joint” described hemophilia. Folders were offered showing the art from these slides which were drawn on layout paper with fine black marker lines and colored with the wedge markers.
Later, i was required to illustrate a 2 page “Just for Fun” center spread for the ECHO magazine: “Education and Communication for the Hemophiliacs and Others”. The finished art for the magazine was also just felt tip markers. There were 18 issues of that magazine.
Another change in my methods needed for the medical agency layouts was using Prismacolor pencils.
I found that medical artwork needed pencil line detail. I also found that I could smear the penciled areas with Bestine thinner on a tissue to achieve smooth tones. (I was warned that the thinner was toxic to use, but the method was an easy way to achieve the final.effect.)
Some layouts that were approved by the client came very close to matching the final printed page. I rendered the Barnes-Hind layout, as I was instructed. The ad changed significantly during the photo shoot when it became necessary to show the contact lens being applied.
Line art was often required, mostly for instructions.
Some presentation layouts had line, markers, paint and even xeroxes included.
I enjoyed my years working for Barnum Communications. I especially enjoyed the friends that I made there. Friends that I still see, now.
That location, that was known for restaurants and entertainment in the past, still had that atmosphere during the “Barnum“ days.