Jet Smooth Chevrolet - Blow it up.

I'm not a flag-waving "git-r-done" mouth-breathing type of gearhead.  I like whatever is interesting or beautifaul or innovative. I don't buy "Amurr-can" cars exclusively. I think the best kind of patriotism is to buy the product that best meets your needs. To exclusively buy domestic products, no matter how crappy, gives American companies no incentive to improve the product and be more competitive. Ugly, bad, or insanely overpriced products should suffer, no matter who made them.  Crazy, huh?

That being said, this ad was so pretty I demanded that the Scanning and Being Careful Not To Tear Things Office (SBCNTTTO) scan this two-page spread at extra high resolution. Pity about the visible binding, but there you are. Click through the picture for a giant saveable version you and your heirs will treasure for minutes.

In the sixties, it was smart to associate your product with air travel. The Jet Age, as people were fond of calling it, was sexy, sophisticated, and super cool. Jet travel was still kind of an expensive luxury, making it less of the utilitarian forced march it has become, and more of a celebration of technology and prosperity. Airlines in the sixties were trying to out-swank each other. Stewardesses dressed slightly inappropriately, and the experience, from departure to destination was more a cocktail party than the soul-crushing ordeal that we enjoy today.

This un-credited painting is typically fantastic of the era. I think it's gauche, but it could be acrylic or something. A really great artist can hide their tracks and make you wonder what media was used. The longness and straightness of the car's lines are accentuated by A) placing the vehicle right in front of the terminal, lending the car some of it's clean lines and B) making the ad a two-page spread. The car's panels seem to stretch endlessly across the magazine. On the paper, the car is around 14 inches long. As a side note, I really like the spacey light pole just past the car's rear bumper.

As always, nice chrome rendering abounds. You get no jobs painting car ads if you can't do reflective surfaces. You can look in the reflections to see what they're reflecting, but don't waste your time. They're just shapes, giving the impression of reflections without actually being anything at all. No trees, giraffes, or former presidents to be seen in the hubcaps.

With this painting style, things tend to get interesting away from the focal point. The car is the star of the show, and it's painted photo-realistically. But, if you look in the background the rendering gets loose and weird, or as I call it, "loose and interesting". Look at the people, or the wall art in the terminal. They're little more than splotchy brush strokes. If I have to explain why this is great, then I guess we just can't be together. Sorry.

It's interesting to see a car ad like this, opening a window into the impossibly perfect world of Chevy's marketing department, NOT using a happy blue sky with puffy cotton ball clouds. It's positively overcast, isn't it? Know what though? This let the artist put more horizontal lines in the sky, further stretching out the width of the piece, making the car look even longer and sleek. Clever, that.

Maybe someday I'll spend a weekend photoshopping out the binding and have this printed as a frameable poster.


Craig said...

Hey, Phil:

If you can find it, I bet you'd love a book called "Boulevard Photographic: The art of automobile advertising."


Boulevard Photographic was the agency that pioneered most of the really amazing photo work in the brochures and ads in the 1950s through the 1970s. It tells a lot of the tricks they employed to make cars look even longer, lower and wider than they were in those days.

Phil Are Go! said...

$121??? jeez o man that's a lot. Used copy for $20? Add to cart please! That's a savings of, uuuh, well, there's no way to calculate the relative percentage, but it's a steal.

Thanks Craig!

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