Jantzen - Abracada-bra

Sometimes I see evidence of That Which Is All But Lost From The World, and when I find it in such a humble place like this underwear ad, it's even more impressive to see and sad that it's so rare now.

This ad for Jantzen lingerie is a masterpiece. Every line was expertly arranged to work with the composition. This drawing is all about "S" curves - a clever choice considering the subject matter. You can find them everywhere, even if you zoom in to the magician's fingers. Plus, all the esses work together instead of becoming a jumbled mess, which they almost surely would have, in the hands of a less skillful artist. I can't say a bad thing about any of it. I only with they'd sprung for full color.

 It's really disappointing that there's no signature. I'd really like to figure out who did the work. Unlike Monday's Petri wine advert, this drawing gets better the longer you study it. At first glance, the Petri beaver had the look of a Disney character, but that suspicion didn't hold up too even the most casual inspection. This Jantzen ad really does have the effortless mastery of the best Disney artists.

It clearly states that the Jantzen company was based in New York at the time, so they would have had easy access to the best commercial artists to be found.I wonder if any Disney artists moonlighted for advertising firms.

Nobody cares about drawing any more. That's an exaggeration, I admit. FEW artists concentrate on drawing any more. I think because of that, there's less concentration on composition, form, and line of action. It's more about technical skills and software. Art schools can promise parents that, upon graduation, their son or daughter will know X and Y software. Schools like to be able to make promises to parents. The promise that no school has ever been able to make is that the art student will "get it" - that he or she will be a good artist. As the art field became more technical, schools were able to make more and more concrete promises about what the students would be able to do after graduation.

There's a TV commercial for an art school where they brag that "You can't draw? It doesn't matter!" and then they go on to point out the technical aspects of art that make room for the visually illiterate. Hoo-ray. Remember in the Ren & Stimpy episode "Stimpy's Cartoon", where Ren wants to help, but he has to admit that he can't draw? Ren tells him "Lots of people make cartoons that can't draw!" and then he places him in control of the whole project. "You can't add single digit numbers in your head? It doesn't matter! You can still be a banker!" Same thing. There is very little emphasis placed on fundamentals. That's why the place where I work can't find good artists.

That's why it's incredible and sad to see work of this caliber selling underwear. It makes it seem like, in 1948, there were brilliant artists to spare, and now the well is running dry.


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