The Beauty of Pinup and Commercial Art

This is a blog about men and women as seen throughout the history of advertising and pinup art. Art has always reflected the distinct diversity and beauty of both sexes respectively. Just as there is a moon, there is a sun, a night and day, cold and hot...male and female. It is the very sustenance of Nature.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The end of the road

This is a 1953 ad for Seiberling Rubber company. Frank A. Seiberling, who started this company in 1921, was also founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1898. He was a brilliant innovator who cared for his employees health and work environment. Among other innovations, he introduced the tire making machine and the detachable wheel rim.

As we can see from the picture above, something has gone awry. This couple's road to happiness has hit a painful snag. They're all dressed up, no doubt on their way to an important social event, and here is the car being towed away instead. He should have used those Seiberling tires!

This ad presents us with a totally different dynamics between the man and the woman. She is clearly taking control of the situation by blaming him for the accident. After all, it's his car, he should have known better and take responsibility for what he owns. How can she trust him now? Her physical stance is hawkish with her head inclined aggressively forward as he hunkers down trying to escape her criticism by looking at the tire for possible answers of just what went wrong. He's humbled, angry at himself and will look for away to regain control of the situation. For now he has to face his own incompetence, hopefully learn from the bitter experience and move on. The service man in the foreground just does his job not interfering into the affairs of the couple. He's part of another world, a 24 hour service taking care of car wrecks. He is the one who picks up the pieces when things go wrong in the road. Always someone else in society has to take care of the mess that others get into.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The future that lies ahead

This is another 1960 ad for Pontiac similar to the previous one. It's a beautiful, romantic moonlit night. Again, the theme of a couple together. This time the man is driving a big, elegant car. The woman next to him could be his wife, a girlfriend or a lover. She's relaxed, probably enjoying the summer breeze as it dances around her face, the view of the moon and just being happy next to the man of her dreams. And she's probably wondering if her man can steer their lives together as well as he drives. Is he ready to be at the helm? As for him, he's happy to be driving such a powerful piece of machinery--a Pontiac!. A symbol of his success in the world. He owns a great tool of the latest technology that allows him to be an integral part of the system to which he contributes. The wheel is under his confident control as his beautiful woman looks on. He wants to give her a sense of complete security by his side. She can be assured that he will lead them to happiness and fulfillment. All she has to do is relax, sit back and let him do the driving. How far will this relationship go? Will it be a smooth ride? Is there a bumpy road ahead? For now they enjoy the beautiful night together and live the moment.

Breeze in the night air

This is a 1960 car ad for Pontiac. No doubt the car influences American life. Here in this ad it silently but powerfully states its presence along with the couple so much in love. The couple have decided they need some time alone away from the civilized world represented by the lit house in the background. The car serves as a tool to take them back to Mother Nature, close to the palm trees, the grass, the vegetation, and thus closer to their own simmering passions that grows deeper as the night progresses. The man has his hand around the woman's waist. Her body language is calm, relaxed, and accepts his intimacy. She listens to his words while contemplating the beauty of the rose in her hands. The empty road seems to suggests that together this couple has a life ahead of them. Already they are on the right track by having selected a Pontiac as the vehicle that not only takes them to places, but more importantly, takes them into the depths of their hearts.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There is an Arrow headed your way...

Here is a 1954 ad for Arrow men's shirts. In this ad there is a rising sexual tension between the man wearing the Arrow brand shirt and the woman in the background who reveals her interest in this man by how she looks at him. At the same time, he's aware that she's observing him, and so they play this game. The setting is in some Caribbean paradise where perhaps they can let themselves more lose. Here there is no hustle and bustle from the city, no deadlines, no phone calls and no CNN Breaking News. The male and female energies are more free to interact.

In this ad, the woman is surrounded by men on all sides. She's attractive and desirable. The storekeeper smiles provocatively as she looks for a hat, yet her eyes are set on the man wearing the Arrow shirt. The man in the shades, wearing the blue shirt in the background seems to be coming in. Perhaps he too is interested in the woman, but he's too shy, hence the shades to hide his eyes. Also, he's not wearing an Arrow shirt like the main character in the foreground, therefore the woman doesn't notice him. The man wearing the Arrow shirt holds a souvenir in his hands. It is a toy bull, which is a symbol of male fertility and sexuality.

The main dynamics here is the interaction between the man and woman. He knows she's looking at him, and she seems to know that he is aware of her presence. They keep a distance, but for how long? In our minds, we eventually put them together and create a relationship. Thanks to an Arrow shirt, perhaps two people will be together and hopefully be happy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

How skillful are you?

In this lovely 1956 ad for Schlitz beer, we see an attractive female cheerfully observing her male companion as he carves a pumpkin presumably for Halloween. He too seems eager to show off his skill and talent, ready to impress his sexy companion. They're both enjoying a glass of Schlitz beer, but as the ad says, this is just half the fun. No doubt the woman is carefully observing how the man carves this pumpkin because this would give her an idea about how he is in other areas of life. Is he clumsy? Careless? Thoughtless? Does he rush do get the job done, or will he get the job done...right? All this, of course, is filled with other connotations. Basically, she is wondering if this is the right guy for her.

Children get to understand the world by playing games and interacting with each other. Adults too play games, only they're more complex. However, it is through the same ability to have fun that men and women interact and get to know each other, just as we did when we were children in the playground. The ad above is a good example of this analogy. We see a couple enjoying a good time, relaxing with each other and simply interacting. Having a beer, carving a pumpkin, laughing serve as the excuse to be with each other and hopefully reach that special state of male/female harmony.