Maiden Voyages: May 2016

A Premium Postcard Collection: It is with great excitement that I announce that my friend Stuart—who has perhaps the world’s biggest collection of Edwardian postcards—has finally consented to share his collection with Pigtails readers.  It will take time to sort through and scan thousands of postcards but as they become available, I will share them here.  For starters, some new Reutlinger images have come to light and that post has been updated.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this generosity is greatly appreciated.

Guilt by Association: On May 9th, photographer Chris Madaio is scheduled to stand trial for charges that he violated the conditions of his parole after serving 4 years in prison for possession of child pornography (see more details on his story here).  Although Madaio does not contest the original charges, the Morgan County, Alabama authorities seem determined to find any excuse to continue to punish him.  The new charges are based on images found on a computer and some USB drives found in a storage unit with his name on it.  The unit belonged to two women, the sister and a friend of Samuel Hyde.  Hyde was a convicted sex offender whom Madaio knew for a short time while attending the same court-ordered program.  The women allowed Hyde personal use of the unit, but neither they nor Hyde have been indicted.  To complicate things further, Hyde made a statement against Madaio before dying under mysterious circumstances.  It would be difficult to speculate on the veracity of all the details of the case, but it is an excellent illustration of how the justice system prefers to grandstand on prosecutions rather than rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have been convicted.  Although Madaio has a court-appointed attorney, he is hopeful that a more trusted family lawyer will be allowed to serve as co-counsel.

No News is Bad News: An item came across my desk about a controversy regarding a GAP Kids clothing line and the portrayal of Black people.  An ad campaign featuring a performing troupe called Le PeTiT CiRqUe (more on them in a future post) included one image with a bigger girl resting her arm on a shorter Black girl.  You can read a little about it here.  With all the special interest groups involved in this issue, many people are getting on the bandwagon and making a lot of noise.  Whatever the circumstances, I would like to humbly suggest that those sincerely interested in the cause of racial justice not waste their energy on something that will accomplish nothing while giving free publicity to a major clothing company.  On the other hand, it is nice that Le PeTiT CiRqUe got a little press.

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

“Moral Welfare” on the Set: One of our readers, who is child modeling agent, has shared items of interest regarding the changing rules and conditions of child models and actors. For example, in the past, outtakes from films shot in the days before the internet would never see the light of day and if there was some inadvertent nudity, it was of little concern. But today, a lot of behind-the-scenes footage gets leaked and so the rules in Hollywood have become a lot stricter.  An online article shares an interesting anecdote regarding the opening scene of Disney’s Pollyanna and informs readers that now, under California law, it is studio teachers who are responsible for the moral welfare of children in their charge.

To Top or Not to Top: As many readers of this site are aware, in many countries outside the United States, it is routine for undeveloped younger girls to swim in public without bikini tops.  A mother shares an interesting story about her 7-year-old daughter’s recent trip to Spain.  It offers a little insight about a child’s body image and her ability to adapt to different cultural norms.  The editorial concludes with the mother seeking this advice: now that the girl is used to swimming without a top, how can she be persuaded to go back?

Auction News: A friend passed on this small item about Sotheby’s auctioning off a few Sally Mann photographs on May 19th.  A lot of big-name photographers are featured and the Mann images are numbered 58–61.  Speculation in art has continued to inflate prices.

Random Image: Moïse Kisling

An associate found this interesting oil painting—belonging to a private collection—and another associate followed through with some details. The title of this piece translates as Seated Couple.

Moïse Kisling - Seated Couple (1934)

Moïse Kisling – Couple Assis (1934)

Moïse Kisling (1891–1953) was born in Kraków (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied there at the School of Fine Arts and was encouraged by his teachers to pursue his career in Paris. He started out in Montmartre in 1910 and joined an émigré artist community with members from eastern Europe, the U.S. and the U.K.

During World War I, he served in the French Foreign Legion and was seriously wounded in 1915. As a reward for his service, he was given French citizenship. He became friends with many of his contemporaries such as Jules Pascin and Amedeo Modigliani. Although he painted landscapes, he was noted for his surreal female nudes. However, his style seems to have changed over time with the seated couple above being painted in the Art Deco style. During the German occupation of France in World War II, he emigrated to the United States where remained until his return to France in 1946. A large collection of Kisling’s works is held by the Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva.

Creator of Sarah Kay: Vivien Kubbos

Researching illustrators of children’s books can sometimes be a challenging task. Many are freelance workers so they may only illustrate a small number of books as well as doing other illustrating jobs. Combine that with the fact that some books don’t mention the illustrator and so using WorldCat or any other cataloging site is rather useless. One example is Vivien Kubbos. Another complicating factor about Vivien is the fact that she does not desire fame or attention and therefore does not have a website or do any interviews. Vivien Kubbos could have been famous as she was the originator of the Sarah Kay Collection.

Vivien Kubbos - (Untitled illustration) (c1970's) (1)

Vivien Kubbos – (Untitled illustration) (1970s) (1)

Vivien Kubbos - (Untitled illustration) (c1970's) (2)

Vivien Kubbos – (Untitled illustration) (1970s) (2)

The Sarah Kay Collection was started by Valentine Publishing in the early 1970s and quickly became popular among girls throughout Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe and Latin America. Sarah Kay illustrations were featured mostly on greeting cards, swap cards and postcards. Sarah Kay fell out of fashion in the 1990s; however this only lasted until 2005 when she relaunched, presumably with new illustrators doing the work. The thing I find adorable and gorgeous about Sarah Kay images are they are the complete antithesis of the ideas pushed on children in our current society. The girls in these images do not worry about what they wear and if they get holes in their clothes—they simply repair them with patches. There is no obsession with shoes either: the children are currently wearing none and back in the 1970s and ’80s they wore thick leather shoes, sandals or sneakers. The idyllic imagery also adds to the illustrations’ appeal. Sarah Kay merchandise can still be purchased on their website.

Vivien Kubbos - (Untitled illustration) (c1970's) (3)

Vivien Kubbos – (Untitled illustration) (1970s) (3)

Vivien Kubbos - (Untitled illustration) (c1970's) (4)

Vivien Kubbos – (Untitled illustration) (1970s) (4)

Vivien Kubbos - (Untitled illustration) (c1970's) (5)

Vivien Kubbos – (Untitled illustration) (1970s) (5)

Vivien Kubbos also illustrated many of the books in the Pony Pals book series, written by Jeanne Betancourt and published by Scholastic. Frustratingly not all the books mention the illustrator’s name. The images I used came from the book Western Pony, written by Betancourt and published in 1999. All images are drawn in pencil.

Vivien Kubbos - Western Pony (1999) (1)

Vivien Kubbos – Western Pony (1999) (1)

Vivien Kubbos - Western Pony (1999) (2)

Vivien Kubbos – Western Pony (1999) (2)

These images clearly show how easily Vivien can change her style and what a hugely skillful artist she is. I find the images of the people, and more so the horses, to be very realistic.

Vivien Kubbos - Western Pony (1999) (3)

Vivien Kubbos – Western Pony (1999) (3)

Vivien Kubbos - Western Pony (1999) (4)

Vivien Kubbos – Western Pony (1999) (4)

Finally we have what must be Vivien’s defining work: The Wizard of Jenolan, written by Nuri Mass and published by Just Solutions in 1993. The Wizard of Jenolan is a rewriting and re-release of a book first written by Nuri Mass in 1946, so if anyone thinks of buying the book, the images are only in the 1993 re-release. All the images are drawn in pencil. The story is about Thel who, under the spell of “Something”, follows a Wallaby down a tunnel into the Jenolan Caves. While in the cave system Thel discovers that the caves are not as they seem to other visitors and the outside world; she has many magical experiences such as travelling back in time and encountering creatures that want to borrow her reflection. She also talks directly with the caves themselves which teach her about how they were formed. The Wallaby eventually leads her back out but Thel then falls asleep so that when she wakes up she is not quite sure if she ever did follow the wallaby into the cave or that she dreamed it.

Vivien Kubbos - The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (1)

Vivien Kubbos – The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (1)

Vivien Kubbos - The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (2)

Vivien Kubbos – The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (2)

Vivien Kubbos - The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (3)

Vivien Kubbos – The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (3)

Vivien illustrated many other children’s books, did painting for commemorative merchandise and in retirement spent most of her time painting, though these subjects are outside the scope of this blog and so are not displayed. Additionally, given that she is not always credited, there are probably many works by Vivien that are yet to be acknowledged.

Vivien Kubbos - The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (4)

Vivien Kubbos – The Wizard of Jenolan (1993) (4)

Michael G. Laster

About 12 years ago I discovered the work of the American artist Michael G. Laster on the web. I was impressed by the artist’s imaginative figurative paintings of adolescents. The paintings reflected a rare sincerity which gave the work an emotional beauty. Eric Fischl’s paintings from the 1980s are the only other contemporary works that come to my mind that are similar. Contemporary figurative art is expected to be “cool”; the artist is expected to wear a mask and avoid any sensitivity.

Michael G. Laster Birthright Boy and Girl

Michael G. Laster – Birthright Boy and Girl (c2004)

Laster’s Birthright is a diptych of a boy in a field of wheat and a girl in a field of flowers. The painting technique is very crude but it actually gives the work a child-like charm. The boy and girl each hold symbols of the opposite sex, the boy holds a cute cat while the girl holds a spooky bird. I only recently noticed that the boy is holding flowers in his hand from the field the girl stands in while the girl holds wheat in her hand from the field of the boy. Although the symbols are clear, the meaning of the work is still ambiguous; it is very poetic.

Michael G. Laster Playing Doctor 2004 ca

Michael G. Laster – Playing Doctor (c2004)

Laster’s drawing, Playing Doctor is like Eric Fischl’s classic work from the 1980s.

Michael G. Laster Girl Refuting Hegel's

Michael G. Laster – Girl Refuting Hegel’s Dialectic Model of History (c2006)

Unfortunately there is little information on the web about the paintings because the artist’s site has been down. The info I could find was from a post from 10 years ago by Gary Sauer-Thompson about the exhibition Based on a Thorough Understanding of the Way Things Are. A photograph from the exhibit titled Girl Refuting Hegel’s Dialectic Model of History, may be of Laster with his daughter. Either Laster has a sense of humor or she is just a really smart girl! If anyone has information about this charming work let us know. I would like to arrange an exhibit of his work. I’m afraid Laster may have stopped painting due to the cultural environment, which is a great loss.

Michael G. Laster Spring Fever

Michael G. Laster – Spring Fever (c2004)

Michael G. Laster The Little Red Haired Girl

Michael G. Laster – The Little Red Haired Girl (c2004)

Other work by Laster can be found here.

Vitality in Subtle Gestures: Teresa Riba

A reader from Spain brought my attention to this sculptor. This is a further demonstration that there are many established on-topic artists who still need to be covered on this site.

Teresa Riba was born in 1962 and raised in the Igualada district of Barcelona. She graduated from Facultad de Bellas Artes de Barcelona (Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona) and is now a professor at l’Escola d’Art Gaspar Camps (School of Art Gaspar Camps). Although this artist has a Facebook account and a sales site (Galeria D’Art Anquin’s) for her work, the only substantial information comes from an interview conducted in 2013 and originally published as “Entre 8km2″ in Diari d’Igualada.

Teresa Riba - Nen (charcoal) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – Nen (charcoal) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba - De tu a tu XI (acrylic) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – De tu a tu XI (acrylic) (Date Unknown)

Although Riba’s repertoire includes drawings, she has been specializing in sculpture since 1985. She has a reputation for her penetrating insight into the character of youth, paying particular attention to the nuance of gesture and how it reflects the compelling everyday behavior of young girls, both in their innocence and their inner power. The artist has also adapted to technological developments with a series called ‘Entre dits’ showing her subjects using mobile phones, texting and engaging in the latest forms of social media as though they were observed from the street.

Teresa Riba - Entre dits, II, 7 8 (bronze) (2015)

Teresa Riba – Entre dits, II, 7 8 (bronze) (2015)

Teresa Riba - Nena rambla (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – Nena rambla (Date Unknown)

Riba’s sculptures are figurative and characterized by their coarse texture and robust vitality. The potency of a subtle gesture was expressed by another sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, and Riba expounds on that principle in her work. The artist avoids falling into the familiar trap of producing pieces of a particular type and attempts to bring out the distinct character of each subject. Even when displaying multiple pieces in an exhibit, special care is taken in placing each work in relation to the others.

Teresa Riba - Movil tres (bronze) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – Movil tres (bronze) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba - Judit (resin) (2014)

Teresa Riba – Judit (resin) (2014)

Teresa Riba - Des de dalt (bronze) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – Des de dalt (bronze) (Date Unknown)

Riba says her rough style invites touch and makes the pieces seem unfinished yet much more alive and expressive. She prefers to work with molding clay—and uses these molds to produce bronzes—but also likes working with wood and stone. The softer materials have advantages, giving the artist more options and engaging the fuller use of her hands. Although most sculptors prefer to create in a certain size range, Riba has produced work from 5 to 10 centimeters in height up to 4 to 5 meters, with pieces weighing up to 13 tons.

Teresa Riba - Tarda al sol 3 (bronze) (Date Unknown)

Teresa Riba – Tarda al sol 3 (bronze) (Date Unknown)

As a professor, she acknowledges that the challenges of teaching have changed. With the advent of the internet, more people have access to knowledge about production and the artistic process. However, lack of experience and supervision can lead to misinformation and thus access to a good teacher in a school setting is still quite valuable. Serious artists engage in learning experiences on a daily basis.

Any corrections or more details on these images would be appreciated, particularly by those fluent in Catalan.

Archives Destroyed: David Simpson

Quite a sensational title isn’t it? So I shall start by saying that a large part of the archives have indeed been destroyed. In 2011 David was charged and convicted on child pornography charges; this fact made his own son so insane that he went to his father’s house and burnt all the archives stored there. A more detailed explanation can be found in this news article. Such is the result of people’s hatred for paedophiles.

Little is known about David Simpson and with a name this common, it can be difficult to find the right person when you are simply searching for his name. The few biographical details I found appear in the children’s books he has helped to produce. David was born in 1931. For five years David trained as an R.A.F. photographer and when he left the air force, he first worked at the Baron Photographic Studios—photographers of the Royal Family. He then opened his own studios where he specialised in child portraiture. David moved to Adelaide, Australia in 1969 and continued to photograph independently. Most of his portraits were still of children.  Occasionally he would be commissioned to photograph famous people and would also do photography for children’s books. The only book I found to be of relevance to this blog was Tanya and Trixie by Colin Thiele, published by Rigby Opal Books in 1980.

David Simpson - Tanya and Trixie (Cover) (1980)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (Cover) (1980)

The book is about Tanya who lives on a farm in the Australian countryside. The book starts off by telling us about the morning chores Tanya does.

David Simpson - photograph from book Tanya and Trixie (1980) (1)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (1)

Then in the afternoon, when her dad leaves the farm, Tanya and her brother go fishing. During the fishing expedition Tanya goes swimming then falls asleep in the grass and dreams about the horse she so dearly wants.

David Simpson - photograph from book Tanya and Trixie (1980) (2)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (2)

Tanya and Trixie Page25

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (3)

David Simpson - photograph from book Tanya and Trixie (1980) (4)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (4)

She soon wakes up and goes back home where she finds that her dream has come true as her dad comes home with a horse.  The book ends with an image of Tanya riding Trixie.

David Simpson - photograph from book Tanya and Trixie (1980) (5)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (5)

David Simpson - photograph from book Tanya and Trixie (1980) (6)

David Simpson – Tanya and Trixie (1980) (6)

From these pictures we can see that all these decades of photographing children has created a real ability in being able to capture the innocence and beauty that children have. I shall finish this post with some of the photographs I found on auction sites or in the background of other pictures, they are not high quality but still manage to show David’s photographic talent. These images also prove that the entire archive hasn’t gone, there would be many copies in private collections and public art galleries.

David Simpson - Alice - (unknown date)

David Simpson – Alice (Date Unknown)

David Simpson - (unknown title) - (unknown Date) (1)

David Simpson – (Title Unknown) (Date Unknown) (1)

David Simpson - (unknown title) - (unknown Date) (2)

David Simpson – (Title Unknown) (Date Unknown) (2)

David Simpson - (unknown title) - (unknown Date) (3)

David Simpson – (Title Unknown) (Date Unknown) (3)

Eloise Wilkin: Illustrator of Little Golden Books

Most of us would have childhood memories of reading books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Wilkin started writing Little Golden Books in the 1940s and many of her books are still being re-released today. The illustrations of Eloise Wilkin depict an idyllic environment that is free of dangers and is inhabited by chubby, cherub-faced toddlers and children. These children are mainly of Caucasian appearance, though occasionally other ethnicities do appear. Curiously most children drawn by Wilkin have a closed mouth smile or contemplative expression—you almost never see their teeth. I suppose this was because Wilkin was not comfortable or did not believe she could convincingly draw other expressions. Regardless, I don’t think this lack of varied expression reduced the quality of her images. All of her images are either watercolors or coloured pencil drawings.

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book A Child's Garden of Verses 1957

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book A Child’s Garden of Verses (1957)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (1) 1957

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (1957) (1)

Eloise Margaret Wilkin was born (as Eloise Margaret Burns, March 30, 1904–October 4, 1987) in Rochester, NY. She completed an illustration course at the Rochester Institute of Technology and upon graduation, started up an art studio with her friend Joan Esley. However the art studio was unsuccessful and she struggled to find work in Rochester so she moved to New York City. Here Eloise did freelance work for many publishing companies and her first published book was The Shining Hour (1927) for the Century Co. Additionally, Wilkin also illustrated paper dolls for the businesses Playtime House, Jaymar and Samuel Gabriel and Sons.

Eloise Wilkin - Prayers for Children (Cover) 1952

Eloise Wilkin – Prayers for Children (Cover) (1952)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book My Goodnight Book 1981

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book My Goodnight Book (1981)

Eloise married Sidney Wilkin in 1935 and reduced the amount of illustrating work she did for the next nine years in order to raise their four children.  She signed a contract with Simon & Schuster in 1944 and went on to illustrate about fifty Little Golden Books. During this time she would use family, relations and neighbours as models for her images. The landscapes that appeared in Eloise’s illustrations were also real and drawn from the areas she lived or holidayed.

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (2) 1957

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (1957) (2)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (3) 1957

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Wonders of Nature (1957) (3)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Birds 1958 (1)

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Birds (1958) (1)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Birds 1958 (2)

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Birds (1958) (2)

Eloise Wilkin started designing dolls in 1961. Her first doll was was the Baby Dear doll produced by Vogue Dolls. Inc. which came in two sizes, 12 and 18 inches.

Image of "Baby Dear" doll created by Eloise Wilkin

Image of “Baby Dear” doll created by Eloise Wilkin

Eloise went on to create six other dolls.

Image of seven dolls all created by Eloise Wilkin

Image of seven dolls all created by Eloise Wilkin

The Baby Dear doll was released concurrently with the book Baby Dear, published by Little Golden Books, and appears in the book as the little girl’s doll. Another interesting thing about the Baby Dear book is that it was written by Esther Wilkin, Eloise’s sister. Additionally her daughter was the model for the mother and her grandson the model for the baby.

Eloise Wilkin - Baby Dear (Cover) 1962

Eloise Wilkin – Baby Dear (Cover) (1962)

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Baby Dear 1962

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Baby Dear (1962)

In addition to books Eloise’s images also appeared on calendars, puzzles, the covers of Little Golden Records, china plates, ads, cards and in Child’s Life, Story Parade and Golden Magazine.

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book We Like Kindergarten 1965

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book We Like Kindergarten (1965)

Eloise Wilkin - My Kitten (Cover) 1954

Eloise Wilkin – My Kitten (Cover) (1954)

Eloise Wilkin - Songs of Praise (Cover) 1970

Eloise Wilkin – Songs of Praise (Cover) (1970)

Eloise continued to illustrate and design dolls right up until her death, from cancer in 1987.

Eloise Wilkin - Untitled illustration from the book Prayers for Children 1952

Eloise Wilkin – Untitled illustration from the book Prayers for Children (1952)

An extensive bibliography of Eloise Wilkin books can be found at the Loganberry Books website

To listen to a three-part interview with one of Eloise Wilkin’s daughters, Deborah Wilkin Springett go to the triviumpursuit website. The webpage also says you can order her biography about her mother, The Golden Years of Eloise Wilkin, however this page is eight years old, at this time, so it may no longer be available.

A Girl and Her Dog: A Survival Story and the Artwork It Inspired

Now here’s something unique. In July of 2014 a three-year-old little girl named Karina Chikitova became hopelessly lost in the Siberian taiga for nearly two weeks with only her little dog to keep her company! The story of how such a small girl managed to survive those eleven harrowing days and nights borders on the miraculous, but she owes much to her canine companion Naida, who not only helped keep her warm during the near-freezing temperatures of the taiga nights but eventually led villagers back to her when the dog sensed she was in danger. Truly amazing! She has been nicknamed the Mowgli girl because of her survival skills in the wild. You can read all the details of this story here and elsewhere on the web. And because of this story, Russian artist Nicholay Chochchasov was inspired to create a sculptural tribute to the pair called Girl and Dog, which is now installed at the airport in Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha Republic, where the little girl and her favorite pet reside.

Photographer Unknown - Rescuers with Karina Chikitova

Photographer Unknown – Rescuers with Karina Chikitova

Sakha Republic Rescue Service - Karina Chikitova

Sakha Republic Rescue Service – Karina Chikitova

Photographer Unknown - Karina and Naida

Photographer Unknown – Karina and Naida

Nicholay Chochchasov - Girl and Dog (2015) (1)

Nicholay Chochchasov – Girl and Dog (2015) (1)

Nicholay Chochchasov - Girl and Dog (2015) (2)

Nicholay Chochchasov – Girl and Dog (2015) (2)

Nicholay Chochchasov - Girl and Dog (2015) (3)

Nicholay Chochchasov – Girl and Dog (2015) (3)

No Pants!

An associate came across an interesting example of performance art called The No Pants Subway Ride. Essentially started as a prank in 2002, it has turned into an international annual event. On a lark, he decided to investigate if any children had participated; after all, it wouldn’t be appropriate to allow kids to participate in this kind of event, would it? Lo and behold, he did find some images of little girls taking part and shared them with me.

(Photographer Unknown) - No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (1)

(Photographer Unknown) – No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (1)

(Photographer Unknown) - No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (2)

Timothy A. Clary – No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown)

Timothy A. Clary - No Pants Subway Ride (2015)

Timothy A. Clary – No Pants Subway Ride (2015)

(Photographer Unknown) - No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (3)

(Photographer Unknown) – No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (2)

(Photographer Unknown) - No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (4)

(Photographer Unknown) – No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (3)

(Photographer Unknown) - No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (5)

(Photographer Unknown) – No Pants Subway Ride (Date Unknown) (4)

The No Pants Subway Ride is staged by Improv Everywhere every January in New York City. It started with only seven guys and has become an international celebration with dozens of cities around the world participating. The idea was that random passengers would board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants and behave as though they did not know each other. They would wear appropriate attire for the season such as winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, just no pants. There were no pictures taken of the first event, but some video footage was captured. Improv Everywhere produced a video, We Cause Scenes*, about the history of No Pants and there is a summary at the Improv Everywhere website. This year’s event was the 15th anniversary and included 30 cities such as Tokyo and Jerusalem with the Moscow event catching the attention of the police. Cities outside New York began participating in 2008.

Any readers who find dates for these images, that information would be much appreciated. -Ron

*Available through Netflix and other outlets.  Sorry, there is no complete video available online.

Maiden Voyages: April 2016

It is my wish that Pigtails in Paint serve as a chorus of those interested in the rarefied but important subject of the little girl.  In the months to come, it is my intent to make our needs more clear, so readers can contribute in small or large ways to help spread the burdens of running this blog.  -Ron

A Fresh Voice: I would like to welcome aboard Arizona as a new Pigtails contributor.  He has commented many times in the past with well-researched information that I felt would be an asset and he has kindly consented to putting together a number of posts, particularly in the area of illustration.  Also, WCL has shown a renewed interest in contributing more regularly to this site.  He has agreed to help pick up some of the slack by producing short posts featuring his extensive collection of postcards and advertisements.  Thank you both.

Contemporary Artists and Their Children: There is a long history of artists using their children as subjects in their art and many have been covered here on Pigtails.  A reader shared an interesting article about 13 contemporary artists published in The New York Times Style Magazine.  Of particular interest are Chantal Joffe—an artist already scheduled for coverage on this site—Carrie Mae Weems, John Currin, Friedrich Kunath and Sarah Illenberger.  Although a brief statement accompanies the work of each of these artists, the main article written by Rivka Galchen was about French artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) and the challenges she faced at a time when female artists were not taken seriously.  In fact, it was commonly believed that women simply did not have the disposition to be competent in this arena—a frustrating situation to say the least.

A Computer All Her Own: Since the passing of Steve Jobs, there has been a strange reverence whenever people around the world talk about the man.  In times like this, it is refreshing when a filmmaker has the courage to just tell it like it is.  Sure, Jobs had ambition and a vision and was responsible for many products that people love, but is it really the man people loved?  This question is explored in Alex Gibney’s documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015).  It seems the biggest issues had to do with Jobs’ interpersonal relationships.  For example, one of his first girlfriends, Chrisann Brenna, became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Lisa.

Alex Gibney - Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015) (1)

Alex Gibney – Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015) (1)

Jobs’ reaction to this seemed strange.  On the one hand, he tried to deny his paternity and was legally compelled to take a blood test to confirm it.  But, in the unveiling of the new Apple computer, he christened it Lisa.  Did he think it a good marketing tactic or was he somehow moved by the reality of having a little daughter?

Alex Gibney - Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015) (2)

Alex Gibney – Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015) (2)

Banksy Outed!  A study was conducted by scientists at London’s Queen Mary University to discover the identity of Banksy, an artist profiled earlier on this site.  They used a technique called geographic profiling used to catch serial criminals. The results identify the elusive artist as Robin Gunningham.  It is both amusing and disturbing that this much effort would be expended to make this identification and implies that, to some, his work is a form of criminal behavior.   I know Pigtails readers wish Gunningham the best of luck in future efforts which have to be conducted without the cloak of anonymity.

Compensating Artists: There was an interesting article about the problem of artists getting compensated for for their exhibitions at nonprofit institutions in the United States.  There is some logic for commercial galleries with an eye for profit, to avoid compensating artists, but it makes less sense for organizations claiming to support artists.

Molly Crabapple: This artist tells a frank story about art and the reality of the art world from a woman’s perspective.  She recently published a memoir that will be of interest to many of our readers.