Robert Rodriguez fineartprintsca

The art and interests of Robert Rodriguez

Tag: 1920’s and 1930’s art style

To Disco, With Love

That is the title of a new book in the works right now.  It won’t be out until the fall of 2015, but I saw some pages from it and it looks really exciting.  And I hated, and still do hate Disco music, but no one can deny that the music and the artwork associated with it was some really exciting stuff.  I was more into English Traditional music or Folk-Rock, or Country-Western in those days.

The book title is To Disco, With Love: Albums That Defined The Era, by David Hamsley, and will be published by Flatiron Books.

I came to know about it because David is using one of my best known illustrations.  Back around 1977 I did the album cover for Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk by Meco.  That album was a huge success.

I actually tried to get out of doing the job because the deadline was cut from one week to three days, but Steve Lumel, the art director talked me back into it.  No sleep and three days later, we were finished.  It was a fun project, though I always wished for more time to do a better job, but people seem to like it.  It was in an art exhibit a couple of years ago, entitled The Hundred Worst Album Covers In History.  As we were going to see the show, I joked that I wondered if my Meco album would be in there.  And it was!  I was relieved that it wasn’t because I did such a lousy job in the painting, but it was in the category, “People Who Are Having Entirely Too Much Fun!”  I actually think they missed the point.  That was what Disco was about wasn’t it?


Discovering the New Orleans Lakefront Airport


Restored Lakefront Airport Lobby

Restored Lakefront Airport Lobby

Growing up in New Orleans, I didn’t see anything unless an adult was going there.  We never went to the Lakefront Airport.  When I finally was driving myself, there was no reason to go there.  There was only this ugly sixties style building that had never been in style, even when it was new.  I did go once to see the “Fountain of the Winds” by Enrique Alferez, which always seemed to be so completely out of place next to that monstrosity of a terminal.  But yesterday, online, I saw this fantastic sculpture that I discovered had been hidden since the early sixties by concrete panels they had added to make the terminal into a bomb shelter!  Who knew?

The airport was built during Huey Long’s administration in the mid-1930’s, and designed by the same architect that did the Louisiana state capital building.  The capital building in Baton Rouge is hard to beat…maybe Nebraska’s is a little more exciting to fans of Art Deco, but it is a toss up.  So this airport is a pretty amazing place.  And the people that are restoring it seem to be doing a very classy job of it.  The airport was one of the first major terminals of the period.  On their website, they have an interview with a woman whose father took her on a commercial flight departing from Shushan Airport (the original name).  Even as a child, she was impressed by the splendor of the terminal building. During their flight the weather was so bad, they had to make an emergency landing in Atlanta.  She describes how the airport workers escorted them across the field with umbrellas, into their terminal, which was a small clapboard house.  The contrast between the two buildings had stuck with her all these years.

So, this is something I have just found out about.  I will make a trip to see what is going on, and if possible I will post some more pictures.  I do know they are renting the building for special events, and it was used in the movie The Green Lantern as the headquarters of the Ferris Aircraft Company.  Now I will have to rent that movie.

Exterior Sculpture at Lakefront Airport

Exterior Sculpture on the facade at Lakefront Airport

Enrique Alferez Fountain  Enrique Alferez “Fountain of the Winds” at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport


WPA Hurricane Memorial

Memorial in Islamorada, Florida designed by the Federal Art Project, 1937

Memorial in Islamorada, Florida designed by the Federal Art Project, 1937

A little history…in 1932 some 43,000 marchers (about 17,000 were WWI veterans and their families) camped out in Washington, D.C. demanding early payment of their military bonuses.  The Depression had been running its course for a few years and most of these people were desperate for their money.  President Hoover ordered the military in, and the whole thing situation went to hell.  This was one of the reasons for Hoover’s defeat by Roosevelt a year later.  When confronted by another Bonus March soon after his election, Roosevelt offered them the chance to work for the CCC , which most of them accepted.  So in 1935, when one of the strongest hurricanes in US history was approaching the Florida Keys, there were about 400 Bonus Army veterans and their families living in ramshackle camps that no one thought to evacuate until the last minute.  A train was sent to save them on September 2, the hurricane struck on September 2, the train was destroyed on September 2, en route, with only the locomotive surviving and managing to arrive hours later to save the workers.  The Florida Division of the Federal Arts Project designed this memorial to hold the ashes of the 200 victims of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.

I was looking for photos of hurricanes from space, as reference for my Tales of the Cocktail poster, and came across this amazing story and amazing bas-relief carving.

The Curtain is Coming Up.

Not yet, but soon.  Here’s a sneak peek.  A student recently asked me how you know when a painting is finished.  That is a much more difficult question than it seems upon first hearing it.  Of course the answer is so subjective, it would have a different answer for every artist, except to say, it is finished when it is finished.  And that’s no help to a student and would probably be different for every style of art as well.  For instance, I am sure the Impressionists must have called paintings finished that any Academic painter of the period would have considered to be a study.  I guess it has something to do with when the time comes that you can’t imagine any way to make any element of the painting any better than it is, you can call it finished.  Or in the case of an illustration, it is either that, or the deadline looms, whichever comes first.

On this painting, the deadline is getting close, but isn’t exactly looming yet.  So I am still taking everything to the point where I am happy with every little bit.  So far, so good.Image

More About Adrian Paul Allison

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:


Ain’t the Internet Amazing?

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.

2006BG1856_jpg_lThe artist’s name is Adrian Paul Allinson.  If I learn anything about him, I will post that too.

Tales of the Cocktail poster, 2013

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
Total: $36.00