Self-Employment (not by choice)

As I wrote previ­ously, I was very happy working for Butte, Herrero and Hyde — very fine and fun fellows. That year from April 1964 to April 1965, before they dissolved their part­ner­ship, was the only time in my art career that I was employed full time. This is my sketch of them in 1964. It is graphite pencil on tracing paper.


For the rest of my career I was a free-lance artist, never again on a pay roll.
At the break-up of their part­ner­ship, BH&H’s book­keeper advised me of the require­ments needed for invoicing, tax records and the like.
I was 23 years old and I was busy — as I continued assisting Bruce Butte, Lowell Herrero and Bill Hyde as they set up their indi­vidual studios. Easiest, was working for Bill, because he had let me rent space in his very large third floor studio at 728 Mont­gomery Street.
By 1966 it was time for me to design a proper busi­ness card and printed invoices for my now estab­lished busi­ness: Ann Thompson Graphic Design.
More bits of income came from small design jobs from my contacts at Shell Chem­ical— they knew me from when I assisted BH&H on the Shell Chem­ical calendars.
Some smaller San Fran­cisco adver­tising agen­cies also called me for illus­tra­tion and/or design.
In November, Richard L. Burns with Edward S. Kellogg Co. was new to the Belli Building. Previ­ously, he had put the “smile” on the PSA commuter airplanes and, when working in New York, he created the successful “Fruit of the Loom” campaign.
Richard had many clients. He gave me the widest variety of assign­ments where I could perfect many styles. Knowing that “I had to start some­where” — I always said “Yes”, no matter the kind of client, car-dealers to candy-makers. (Many of these were his smaller clients and yet he was still taking a risk with me since I had little expe­ri­ence.) In all, he gave me 154 assign­ments from 1965 to the end of 1968.
The last time that I heard from Richard was when he called me in late 1968, telling me that he suffered from a detached retina. I didn’t hear from him after that. I, at that time, was getting a lot more assign­ments from all around town and was plan­ning to move to the Wharf­side Building (next to Aquatic Park) in the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
In all the following years, I wondered what had happened to Richard.

Recently, I thought to look up his name on Google. Nothing. I have found another way to search. Typing a name and opening “Images”. Then I search for a face that I would recog­nize. —This time, I was looking for an “older” Richard Burns. There he was! It was his smile that was so recog­niz­able. His story from all those years until now is too much for me to relay other than to say that he died from a massive stroke — but he lived — and recov­ered — showing remark­able courage and determination.When we last spoke, Richard Burns was off to Wash­ington D.C., furthering his drive to help stroke victims. His incred­ible story is told on his website: Live or Die Burns

From his website, I found his phone number and I left a message. On August 11, 2015, Richard returned my call. It had been 47 years since we last talked. Remem­bering those days, I began digging into my files of jobs trying to deter­mine credits on each. I came upon my full list from 1965 to 2003 — here are a total of 3,447 assign­ments!— I thank Richard Burns, who was there when I got started.
Here are just some samples that show the variety of styles needed for some of Richard’s clients.

1 PSA–Pacific South­west Airlines (19491986) Children’s Coloring Book, 12-27-1965
2 MATEO FREEZER MEATS / MARIN FROZEN FOODS, Direct mail, holiday sales and greeting card, 122965. A steer wearing a “Santa” outfit — selling cuts of beef !
3 REDWOOD Lincoln/Mercury, Mercury Comet – Direct mail, 1 – 11966
4 REDWOOD Lincoln/Mercury. Full one-column news­paper ad, 4 – 61966 This was very unusual. I was to hand-letter and illus­trate this very narrow one column news­paper ad.
5 DAILEY Chevrolet, an auto dealer in Liver­more, CA. Layout for Outdoor Board, 1 – 41966 This was my first “big” job, an outdoor board! This tight layout was accepted and my finished art (with the then popular Cooper Black type font) followed the layout, exactly.
6 DAILEY Chevrolet- Campaign, 1966 A lot of other assign­ments came from the initial concept.
7 ANNABELLE CANDY CO., Sell-sheet showing TV time-slots of commer­cials, 1966 Many ads followed this and also included an initial design of a “Sweet” ANNABELLE doll and a story­board. I don’t know if these two ideas were ever completed.
8 GOLDEN BAY RAMBLER, Logo and stationery for a San Rafael car deal­er­ship, 9-15-1966
9 SID LEE Announce­ment and Grand-Opening Invi­ta­tion. 10-20-1966
10 SID LEE-Concept. This is the simple layout on 14”x17” layout paper that I presented to Sidney Lesser Lee who was opening his new office high in the Wells Fargo Building on Mont­gomery Street. A photo of the view from his window was to show as the ribbon was cut and the card was opened.
11 HOLIDAY MAGIC Poster, Prelim­i­nary concepts for a presen­ta­tion, 7-20-1967 There were other designers that were already working for this account. Years later, I found out that fellow-Geezer, Dick Moore, was working with photog­ra­pher, Dominic Belmonte, on that same account (located in San Rafael). The Holiday Magic entre­pre­neur, William Penn Patrick, became news — for polit­ical and other reasons. Holiday Magic was found by the US Federal govern­ment, to be fraud­u­lent. Artists were seldom aware of the char­acter of persons bene­fiting from their creative efforts.
12 RENO-TAHOE GUEST CLUB- News­paper ad, 11 – 31967 From Richard Burns: “Reno-Tahoe Travel” was the outgrowth of the “TSA” – a safety program for highway travel in the winter from the lowlands (ex: San Fran­cisco and Los Angeles) to South Lake Tahoe (Harvey’s & Harrah’s). The other casino client was a “mafia” casino in Vegas, I can’t remember the name.”
13 The Latham Foundation-BROTHER BUZZ. Direct mail brochure, 10-11-1968 From Richard Burns: “Latham Foun­da­tion (Brother Buzz) gave me work when no one else would (*)…ended up being a chil­dren’s TV program around the world, 20 million weekly viewers.“ (*After his extreme stroke — as described above — with its heavy toll of speech and motor hand­i­caps, most of Richard’s clients dropped him.)

14  This photo shows me as I learned the neces­sity of working at night, March 1968