Allison was an English stage-designer, artist, caricaturist and potter born in 1890. The jazzy, Art Deco folding screen was one that he had made for himself and was in his London studio until he passed away in 1959.
Each panel was painted in oils on glass and depict various artists at their work. The composer writing music in the early morning, the artist painting a still-life during the daylight hours, an evening theater scene , and an author working late into the night.
As I imagine it, painting on glass would mean working in reverse because you would have to paint the highlights first and the darks last. Very difficult concept to keep straight as you work. As if painting isn’t difficult enough.
Here are a few other samples of his work:
I posted a question last night about an Art Deco screen, and this morning, someone not only knows the artist’s name, but had a higher resolution image. I could get to like this. Thank you David Johnson for sending this along.
And I was right. Even at a size where you can see the art, it still looks good.
I am posting this terrible low-rez image of a standing screen because I know this is a great painting. Look at the colors and the design, can’t you just see that it would blow your socks off if you could actually see it in detail? I have looked on the internet for a higher resolution version of it with no luck. Does anyone know who did it, or have any information that could help me track it down?
Sherman, set the WABAC machine to March 1990….
That would take us to about the time that I was pulling all-nighters in order to finish the poster for “The Two Jakes”. Originally Steve Chorney had done a series of small watercolor sketches for the movie. They were fast sketches, but the colors were beautiful. Seiniger Advertising was about the hottest movie poster design studio at that time, and they were doing the poster. I had never seen so many concepts for one movie before. I know they took Steve’s sketches and gave them out to five illustrators to develop into comps. Later they had each of us do a completely different image, but I can’t even remember what those looked like. These were all very finished comps, but done at about half size. Everyone was really happy with what I did for the original comp and from the beginning it was in the running. I went off on vacation for a few weeks and when I got back, they told me that my art was still the top choice, only they had revised it and I would need to repaint it at full size.
They had made Jack Nicholson larger, made his shoulders wider, made Meg Tilly’s hat cover her face almost completely, and changed Steve’s beautiful yellow/green color scheme to a grey/teal blue combination. Even with those revisions I still loved the art, so I was very happy to proceed with the finish. I feel like it was the best movie poster I ever did.
They told me at the time that with movie posters, the poster that was the top choice when they ran out of money or ran out of time, was the one that would become the poster. Until one of those things happened, they would just keep doing new art. I think all illustrators miss those days of Illustrated Movie Posters.
One other interesting story connected with that poster…I was told that the night before the art was to be delivered to the printer, Jack Nicholson called Frank Mancuso, Sr., the CEO of Paramount to say he had changed his mind about the poster. Nicholson wanted to use a different painting that had been done. Mancuso took both posters over to Nicholson’s house and they met until midnight to talk about which way to go. Basically Mancuso said, “We have been through more than a hundred movie posters and all along, this was the one everyone agreed on. In the meeting yesterday, we again looked at the top runners and everyone decided this was the strongest image. What do we have to do in order to make you happy with this version?” Nicholson said that he liked the colors of his face better in the other poster. So it was agreed that if I could repaint his face to one that he was happy with, they would proceed with my poster art. They gave me four days to repaint the head, and I remember the day I delivered it, the art director gave me a fistful of colored pencils and had me sit on her floor and paint out some additional wrinkles. But in the end, everyone was happy with the art. My first major film poster!
Someone noticed the mention in the last post of the lady in the red dress being a big favorite, and wondered why it was that she had to go. Sometimes as you work on a painting or the design for a painting, you fall in love with a section and you do everything possible to not destroy that area. Sometimes it is a brushstroke, a color, a pose, or even the way you painted a certain part of the picture. But the more you work on it, you realize you are trying to force everything to fit with that bit, to the detriment of the whole. Then you have to decide to kill your favorite child for the good of the family. Sorry to be so brutal, but it does feel that way at times. It is hard to come to the realization that you can’t sacrifice everything for that one area, no matter how much you love it. It is so difficult that I usually delay the inevitable and try to make excuses, but finally I’ll have to come around. Besides, with the lady in red, I can try to fit her into next year’s poster and she might be perfect at that time.
In this case her posture was so low that she couldn’t fill the space strongly enough to demand the attention I felt the central figure needed. I tried making her bigger, but she was more of a horizontal shape and wound up being cropped too tightly. That’s when it became obvious that what the composition called for was a more vertical pose. This became the center of focus and the surrounding people became the background elements.
Painting a picture for me is a journey. Originally I start out thinking, “This is going to be the greatest painting I have ever done.” Somewhere along the way, I have to admit that I might have painted better things before, but this can still be one of the better ones. I still don’t give up trying though. And that’s where the “lucky accidents” come in. Here I am, trying this, trying that, when all of a sudden something wonderful happens. I go, “Wow!” Now the painting has direction, now it is starting to work. Now almost everything I do to it only adds to making it even better. Once that “lucky accident” occurs, the painting just marches on to completion with no false steps to mislead it. So I suppose you could call it an Aha! Moment, a Flash of Inspiration, or a Leap of Faith, but whatever it is, it definitely isn’t me controlling it. It just happens, and then everything falls into place and I suddenly know where to go from there.
An artist can paint a picture strictly based on knowledge and skill, and it will be a very competent painting, but I don’t believe it will have any soul until that “lucky accident” happens. At least that’s the way it works for me.
Hopefully, this isn’t too much like pulling aside the curtain to expose the Wizard. I was just aiming to provide an interesting peek at the path this year’s poster took along the way. I was putting in old photos, parts of vintage illustrations, and very rough scribbles to start thinking about the direction I wanted to take the art. As things progressed, I would get one little section working, or one shape, or an area of color, and keep it in mind for the next step in the painting.
Originally in the development there didn’t seem to be any focus, just a scene of a group of people. The lady in the red dress in the second sketch was a big favorite and stayed around in my layouts for a long time (versions you don’t see here). But eventually she had to go, a more dominant figure emerged, and I knew I was on the right track. You can see the color was starting to evolve as well. I always think it is interesting how lucky accidents occur in the making of a picture, things you expand on until the whole piece is working much better than it was when you started. I’ve heard stories of artists who know what they are going to do before the first brushstroke hits the canvas. That has never been my way, though if it were possible, it would make things a lot easier. My method is to move in little steps until I finally realize it is finished. Step-by-step discovery, where the painting points the way as it evolves to completion.
I was designing the poster for this years Tales of the Cocktail, knowing I wanted to do something with a sort of Cubist/Art Deco look to it. That got me started. My thinking about color evolved much more slowly. At first I was keeping the color very greyed down and I liked it that way. But then I started throwing in more and more vibrant colors and eventually ideas started coming to me. I kept thinking about a painting by Edward Hopper of an usherette in a movie theater, and that reminded me of my favorite Van Gogh painting of a pool room/cafe. I think Van Gogh described it as the kind of place that one could go mad in. Not exactly what I wanted to convey in my Tales poster, but the color was still beautiful, so I let those two images inspire my color choices.
The Gatsby Era. The Roaring Twenties. The Jazz Age went bopping right along until the 1930’s, by which time things took a little break for the Depression. But some might question whether New Orleans has ever let up and Tales of the Cocktail seems to confirm that.
So, in keeping with this year’s theme at the awards dinner, the poster expresses this era in an Art Deco style as well as by depicting some of the classic cocktails of the day. We have the Mint Julep, the Rickey, the Corpse Reviver, and the El Presidente. Out on the town with a few classy ladies and gentlemen in the Vieux Carré of old New Orleans, living it up at a balcony bar setting, drinking it in with the music and the spirits, we are looking down on Bourbon Street while late night revelers make their way home in the wee hours before the dawn.
The poster is printed on 80# glossy cover stock with a special UV coating to protect it from fading, dust and moisture. It comes to you signed by the artist, in a sturdy mailing to insure against damage during shipping.
Print size is: 19″ x 30″
Poster is $30.00
Shipping is $6.00