Olds Cutlass F85 - Can't Make Fun

Sorry. Can't make fun of this. It's a really great painting of a car and that's about it. As usual, click for a much larger version of the picture. Very pretty.
Back before the whole computer thing took over the art biz, every advertising agency had amazing painters for this kind of stuff. There are still incredible painters like this around, but they're few and far between because there's much less need for people who can paint. More often, an artist may achieve notoriety among peers by being a good photo retoucher. Some people even call themselves artists when all they do is comp different photos together and smear around the pixels. In my opinion, an artist is able to work from scratch. Start with a blank sheet of art board and draw it, shade it, scan it (if you have to), render it. I mean, the artist here, of course, had photo reference of the car, and probably the people, and the house. However, scanning and actually inserting photographs into your file and then passing it off as your own work just crosses a line in my mind that I think is professionally and artistically fraudulent. But what do I know? If someone pays you to do it, it must be okay, right?

It's not surprising that in this ad, the car is the star of the show. It's rendered very sharp and super realistically. It's still fun to note that the people are much less clearly defined. They're painted more impressionistically, with vague features and rough brushwork. This is no mistake. It's just a way to keep the emphasis on the car. Funny thing, though. Although the characters and care are seemingly from two different universes - that of realism and impressionism - the kids' reflection in the hood of the car is where the two worlds collide.
It's a little odd to have the vague and blotchy humans sitting in the car, but it's a little more weird to have the blotchy parents' kids reflected in the laser sharp hood of the car. Of course, this makes more sense than having the kids' reflection appear perfectly clear when they themselves are loosely rendered. It's just amusing to see.

The grill on this car looks like an electric shaver. That's not necessarily bad. I like this grill. Of course, lots of cars looked like that at the time. There are some positively hideous grills on current models.

One last thing.Auto makers at the time (1961) were still infatuated with airplanes, even though the tail fins and pretend jet engines had been mercifully abandoned. There's a little jet airplane shooting through the "Cutlass" logo. It's hard to let go.


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