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Tag Archives: Plastic

Simplicity

Last weekend, while cleaning out excess stuff in our garage, I came across this forgotten little acrylic-on-board study I once did back in the ’90s. Although the piece is somewhat derivative of Anthony Russo‘s art, it still appeals to what I’m continuing to strive for in art, and in life: simplicity. When doing art, the temptation is to keep adding on and adding on, when the most effective art (to me) continue to be the pieces that communicate an idea in just a few brush strokes or pen marks. Unfortunately, that concept is easier to think about than to actually do… but I keep trying.

That whole idea of whittling down a drawing to its essence also came to mind when I was perusing the illustrations for a piece of vintage paper ephemera that C. recently acquired. The imagery below comes from a booklet published by the Melamine Council to promote the proper use of plastic dinnerware. It might have been a lost cause in the ’50s and ’60s, trying to make these common household items look elegant and sophisticated, but in the context of this brochure it actually works – beautifully. The uncredited artist (or artists) did a masterful job of paring down the ideas of stylish living, feminine beauty, and cleanliness into simple – yet never simplistic – illustration.

Stylish, Fashionable, Plastic

More vintage Bell Telephone ephemeral films — this 1979 tape trumpeting the products in their “Design Line” is probably the goofiest of them all. I actually remember these special phone designs being a really big deal at the time (and coveting the Snoopy and Mickey Mouse models!). Bell even had special stores in shopping malls set up to peddle this stuff, although I never personally saw one. The film is nine minutes long, but totally worth it for all the kitschy designs, fashions and set decor. The most puzzling phone would be the one that folds up into a discreet wood-paneled box. Disguising household technology as wooden furniture when not in use seems like a completely bizarre concept to wrap your brain around, and yet that was a huge thing in marketing radio and TV consoles going back to the ’20s. People who bought Bell’s Stowaway model could be secure in knowing that their phone could be mistaken for a Kleenex box when not in use. A very expensive Kleenex box — these specialty models retailed for anywhere from $39.95 (Exeter) to $109.95 (Antique Gold).

This and more at the fascinating AT&T Archives YouTube channel.

Flickr Friday: Empire Savings Ad, 1957

As a reminder of a more benevolent age in banking, behold an ad that I scanned a few years back for Christopher’s Plastic Living website. It appears that Los Angeles-based bank Empire Savings had a peachy-keen incentive for new customers at the dawn of 1957 – a set of Lifetime plastic melamine dinnerware! The ’50s-era stuff was considered a nice deal, too, since the retail price was comparable to their ceramic cousins. The lady in the ad seems delighted by her new acquisition, despite having to fork over at least $250 for it. I’m liking the midcentury modern building rendering, too.

This was published in the January 7, 1957 “Midwinter” supplement in the Sunday Los Angeles Times.

They’re Fantastic, Made ‘o Plastic

Just finished scanning and uploading a bunch of random imagery for my Ephemera, Ads Ads Ads and Cool Vintage Illustration flickr sets. A few came from a Modern Plastics magazine annual from 1966 that C. recently acquired — including this lovely ad for Plexiglas (one ‘s’ thank you). These also went into the Vintage Industry flickr group. Ephemeral fun for all!

plexiglasad