Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

5/19/2006

A portrait of the artist as ‘mildly irked’

Filed under: — stan @ 12:26 pm

This is yet another story from the obituary pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Joyce Ballantyne Brand was the creator of the iconic image of the dog pulling down the little girl’s swimsuit in the Coppertone ads. While it’s not in the same world-changing category as the invention of the tortilla chip, it’s still something that became part of our cultural landscape.

There used to be a big animatronic billboard of this on the Santa Ana Freeway with the motorized dog rocking and pulling the little girl’s swimsuit up and down endlessly.

She also worked with Gil Elvgren and became an artist and model for pinup calendars:

During World War II, one of her college professors — Gil Elvgren, a well-known pinup artist — got her a job at a studio known for producing such calendars. Brand’s women “always had some clothes on or at least a towel on,” she said in 2004. Today, her pinups are collectibles.

“She was an icon for women in a man’s world, especially when it came to her pinups,” her friend Ed Franklin told the Ocala Star-Banner. “She was beautiful and used herself as a model for many of the pinups.”

Yet in all her years of producing commercial art, nothing is better-known than the Coppertone ad:

Brand never quite understood the Coppertone billboard’s appeal and was mildly irked that it was her most famous work.

“It was hardly the only art I ever produced,” she told the St. Petersburg Times in 2004. “But that’s what everybody remembers.”

For the full story:

www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-brand19may19,1,6436495.story?coll=la-news-obituaries&ctrack=1&cset=true

And the St. Petersburg Times interview with her from two years ago:

www.sptimes.com/2004/09/05/Floridian/Real_Florida__Red_fac.shtml

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