A Silent Movie About Dancing Pumps: Short and Sweet

I really didn’t mean to take a May-to-September vacation from this blog. So it’s nice to return by recommending a pleasant short film that has lots of pretty 1913 dresses in it!

500 1912 oct p 233 evening and wrap 5687 5688 wrap 5715 w5672 sk 5673 (3)

Two Butterick evening gowns from 1912. Notice the relatively high waists and the relatively close to the head hairdos. Delineator, October 1912.

Thanks to Movies Silently for writing about the film Pumps, made in 1913. Click here for an illustrated review of this less-than-nine-minutes long movie, which really is charming. (Anyone who has ever worn cute (but uncomfortable) shoes to a dance can relate!)

We get to see several ball gowns, and our heroine also appears in some lovely day dresses, which gives me an excuse to watch it again…. Actors usually supplied their own wardrobe in the early days of movie-making. Don’t miss the gowns on the extras, either! Seeing live women in real clothing, rather than fashion illustrations, is always a treat.

I don’t happen to have any photos from 1913, (Movies Silently shows several stills from Pumps) but the styles of late 1912 show the same high waistlines (and back views that do not minimize the hips.)

500 1912 oct p 240 strap evening dress article pg (2)

Evening dress from Delineator, October 1912. High waist and cold shoulders…..

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

1907 Dancing Dressmakers

The video of dancing dressmakers includes outfits similar to the one on the seated woman. Delineator, July 1907

I’ve watched this little (once silent) film several times, because it just makes me feel good! If you can watch it on a big screen, even better.  Only 2 minutes long, the plot is simple: Infectious music from a nearby apartment seeps into the dressmaker’s workroom and suddenly all the seamstresses are dancing!  Click here to watch.

Don’t miss the dressmaker’s mannequin at the far left, or the surprisingly lively moves of the women — their outfits and hairstyles are also a treat.

A suit with a bolero-length jacket; Butterick pattern, October 1907. The dancer with the great shoulder action wears a similar style.

Working women often wore shirtwaist blouses like these. December 1907, Delineator.

Frosting on the cake: This film was directed by Alice Guy Blache, one of the mothers of the motion picture industry. In the early days of silent film, job descriptions like “screenwriter,” “cinematographer,” and “movie director” didn’t yet exist, so it didn’t occur to women that those jobs were “man’s work.” The contributions of women in these fields used to be overlooked by [mostly male] film historians, but not any more. Read more about Alice Guy Blache at Movies Silently or at the Women Film Pioneers Project site. There is also a documentary about her: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.

Thanks to Glamourdaze for bringing this film clip to my attention! (go on, watch it again!)

Butterick fashions from September 1907. Delineator.

10 Comments

Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Edwardian fashions

How to Marcel: Video

Curling tongs like this were used to create those Marcel waves on a temporary basis.

A “Perfect Marcel Wave” in an ad from July 1928 Delineator magazine.

The always interesting Glamourdaze blog linked to a short film from 1926 showing a hairdresser creating/cutting shingle haircuts…

A haircut in progress, November 1925. Delineator magazine.

… and, to my delight, a close up of a hairdresser using curling tongs (predecessor of the curling iron) to create those “Oh-so-Twenties” marcelled styles.

My mother’s marcelled hair. “There was a little girl, who had a little curl/ right in the center of her forehead….”

If you want to watch the vintage 1926 “How-To” video, which has been enhanced and colorized but shows great closeups, click here.

A flapper getting a permanent wave, drawn by Nell Brinkley, September 1929.

To learn more about illustrator Nell Brinkley, click here.

Other posts about 1920s’ hairstyles….

For the benefit of new readers, I’m going to supply links to several past posts about hair styles in the 1920s. Most of them are inspired by magazine articles in Delineator magazine, which was published by Butterick, and carried monthly reports from Paris..

Bobbed Hair and Shingled Hair:

Four Paris models sketched by Soulie, Delineator, January 1925.

Four Paris models sketched by Soulie, for Delineator, January 1925. The two on the right have shingled hair.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/1924-dec-couture-p-23-twofer.jpg

Two Paris models with bobbed hair, Delineator, 1924.

After years in which a woman’s long hair was “her crowning glory,” the decision to cut it short, or “bob” it, took courage. Click to read “To Bob or Not to Bob Your Hair, Part 1” and “To Bob  or Not to Bob Your Hair, Part 2.”

The Marcel wave had been around since the 1870s, and “Marcel” and “permanent wave” were used interchangeably. Here’s a marcelled hairdo from 1917:

A Marcelled evening hair style from 1917. Delineator, April 1917.

Getting a permanent wave was something of an ordeal:

Getting a permanent wave in the Twenties or Thirties. Ad, April 1932.

You could also do it at home…. in “just a few hours.”

From Nestle Lanoil Home Permantne ad, Delineator, Dec. 1924.

C. Nestle Permanent Hair Waving Machine, illustration from An Illustrated History of Hairstyles, by Marian I. Doyle.

To read more about permanents and marcels, see “Permanents and Marcels Bridge the Twenties to Thirties.”

Before the “bob,” Mary Pickford’s long curls were the ideal for girls in their teens. This is my mother before she bobbed her hair:

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/helen-with-1922-bobbed-hair.jpg

And this is my mother in 1922.

My mother (born in 1904) and her friend Irene were the first girls in town to have their hair bobbed. In my mother’s case, she also had a permanent. Her mother was in the hospital at the time. Her father forbade her to visit her mother, “because the shock would kill her.” Read “Marcels in the Family.”

An old fashioned curling iron (in three sizes) from An Illustrated History of Hairstyles, by Marian I. Doyle.

For my own experience with curling tongs and permanent waves, read “Curling Iron Memories.”

Witness2fashion in the late 1940s. I hated having my hair curled.

One of the more intriguing articles I found about Twenties’ hairstyles suggested that young women occasionally wore chic wigs — in many hues. See “Chic Wigs for September 1927.”

Transformations in the mode of the present day.... All the pictures are of the same charming woman. Top of page 37, Delineator, September, 1927.

If you still want to read about hairstyles from before and after the 1920s, just type the word “hair” in the search box at top right!

A final shout out to dancer Irene Castle, who bobbed her hair in 1917!

 

12 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

In Memoriam: Jessica McClintock

Simplicity sold this Gunne Sax outfit by Jessica in 1982.

This private obituary for designer Jessica McClintock appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, March 14, 2021. The Chronicle’s official coverage of her career as a fashion designer based in San Francisco can be read here.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of her dresses, but I can testify to her influence. In the 1970s, when I was teaching high school, her dresses were very popular. They were Romantic, in the sense of looking to the past for inspiration. Some had high, “Victorian” collars, “1890s” sleeves that were full and puffy from shoulder to elbow and tightly fitted from elbow to wrist, long, ruffled skirts and a great deal of lace and ribbon trim. This McClintock-inspired Simplicity pattern from 1974 gives you an idea:

McCall pattern 4249, dated 1974, shows the raised waist, long ruffled skirt, and elaborate trimmed sleeves characteristic of Jessica McClintock’s 1970s designs.

The Washington Post described her design influences well:

A reporter for the Wall Street Journal described her party dresses as “steeped in the imagery of Victorian romance and virginal sex.” People magazine in 1984 described one of her lines as “Gatsbyesque.” A paid death notice published in the San Francisco Chronicle depicted an early collection as aspiring to an “Edwardian and Renaissance look.”

“I have a romantic feeling about life,” Ms. McClintock, who boasted that she used more lace than any other designer in America, once told an interviewer. “I like Merchant-Ivory movies and candlelight and beautiful rooms. I like the patina of age.”

It’s hard to realize that was nearly 50 years ago, but the difference in how young women wanted to be seen then is striking to me. Grannie dresses or Prairie dresses were not overtly sexual. They were for young women who wanted to look pretty. There was probably an influence from the very successful 1968 Romeo and Juliet directed by Franco Zefferelli. (Some Gunne Sax dresses had real or fake lace-up bodices or sleeves.)

Plenty of applied trim meant that this look was not cheap to manufacture.



Back view of McCall 4249, from 1974.

In 2021, dress manufacturers save money by eliminating all non-essentials, such as pockets and applied trims. The fewer pattern pieces, the fewer seams, the less exacting the fit, the cheaper to mass-produce. Obviously, the Jessica McClintock look wasn’t cheap to make. Often, these dresses had a sheer poly-cotton top layer and were fully lined.

Costumers in the San Francisco Bay Area were lucky that McClintock was located (and manufactured)** in the US. The Gunne Sax factory warehouse on Townsend Street sold bolt ends of fabric (including changeable taffetas and lace and other evening/wedding dress fabrics) at really low prices.

McClintock used shiny rayon lace in the 1980s; some of these appliques are still in my crafts bin.

Even better, when you were doing a period show, were the bolt ends of lavish lace trims, bins of beading and appliques, artificial flowers, ribbons, and beautiful buttons and “jewel” trim, which usually had a Turn of the Century or Twenties’ influence. I was inspired by a lace and pearl encrusted dress worn by Bessie Smith when working on a musical  about Josephine Baker:

A character from the 1920s with one from the 1960s. I was lucky to work with Della Reese.


Rayon lace was wonderfully dye-able. The metallic lace probably came from the McClintock factory store, too.

The only trouble with the factory warehouse remnants store was that there were too many temptations to buy things that were too “special” to pass on — when would I see a beaded headband in perfect 1920s style and colors again? I’d buy them with my own money and keep them until I finally had a chance to use them in a show. When I was shopping for a show set in 1885, I might spend my own money on something that would be perfect — eventually — when I did 1770s or 1920s productions. I just tried to keep track of what I paid for them, and usually they did get billed to a show … eventually.

For collectors, The Vintage Fashion Guild shows an array of Gunne Sax, Jessica McClintock, and Scott McClintock labels.

** “Two decades ago, a Mission District garment shop that sewed her clothes was found to have violated labor standards and was liable for unpaid wages. She and others paid $120,000 to settle the case.” — SF Chronicle

11 Comments

Filed under 1960s-1970s, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade

Shirtwaist Photos 1904, 1907 & 1910

Photographs of waists and shirtwaists illustrate a 1907 article in Delineator.

Two views of Butterick shirtwaist pattern 3595 from Delineator, February 1910.

Feminine versions of the man’s basic business shirt could include a separate stiff collar or a softer attached collar. Sometimes the lacy collar was made separately and basted into place, so it could be laundered, starched, and ironed differently than the shirt.

I always love to find actual period fashion photos, since they avoid the exaggeratedly tiny waists of period fashion illustrations. All of the photographed blouses below were shown in “The Summer Shirt-Waist” article featured at the top of this post:

A ruffled “Marie Antoinette waist” from July, 1907.

A Butterick “Negligee waist” from July 1907, Delineator.

“Negligee” meant “casual” and was also used to describe men’s shirts for sports. The model above seems to be holding a golf club.

The stiff collar and tie worn with this shirt-waist mimic men’s business shirt styles of 1907.

Many of these styles from 1907-1910 show a three-quarter sleeve length.

A closer view of the yoke:

The soutache-trimmed yoke is elegant. Delineator, July 1907.

Now, for a real, moving picture view of literally dozens of shirtwaist-wearing women reporting for work in 1904, the Glamourdaze website shared a two minute film (computer enhanced and colorized) which is well worth watching for the shirtwaists, the skirts, the hair styles and other proof that women really did get up and go to work wearing these wonderfully varied “basics.” It’s a long parade of working women punching in at the time clock. (I wish it wasn’t colorized, but that’s a small quibble.) Click here to watch it. (You can skip the ad.)

Watch it again to notice all the handbag variations, many of them suspended from the women’s waistbands or belts.

“Chatelaine” handbags from Sears, Robuck, 1903. These bags are designed to hang from a belt or waistband.

Top, a “Wrist Bag;” bottom, a “Netsuke” bag. A Japanese idea, you pull the chain under your belt or sash, and the ornamental ball (netsuke) dangles over the belt and secures the bag.

For more about this film, visit Glamourdaze.  Glamourdaze is a commercial site, but it has excellent research, and I have never received an unsolicited ad or email from them, although I subscribed years ago.

11 Comments

Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Edwardian fashions, Hairstyles, handbags, Purses, Resources for Costumers, Shirts and Blouses, Uniforms and Work Clothes

Glamour from the 1920s, Goodness in 2020

Art Deco illustration by Jean Desvignes for Butterick’s Delineator magazine, November 1926.


Detail of an illustration by Jean Desvignes, January 1927, Delineator.

To celebrate the New Year, I’d like to share some glamourous gowns from the 1920s, and also something that gave me hope whenever the news from 2020 seemed too bleak.

Masks made for donation to a shelter, March 2020.

Most people realize that it’s hard to make a living in the performing arts under the best of circumstances. Here’s an old joke.

Q: An actor graduates from a top drama school and gets his first job. What are the first words he will speak in public?

A: “Would you like fries with that?”

Once, I was working in the costume shop at Stanford University. A student came in for a costume fitting, and mentioned that he had changed his major from Economics to Drama. “But my parents wanted me to have something to fall back on,” he said, “so I’m minoring in Art.” After he left, the theatre professionals agreed that he wouldn’t have much of a future in Economics….

For costume designers and technicians, the first months of the year are traditionally difficult. After the Nutcrackers and Velveteen Rabbits and Christmas Carols at the end of the year, there’s not much work for wardrobe, part-timers and overhires until March or April. But in 2020, theatres and performing arts companies shut down in March, and with COVID-19 still spreading they have not reopened. Suddenly, all the theatre workers I know were facing months of uncertainty and unemployment just when they were already at the end of their “off season savings.”

Immediately, the Costumers’ Alliance yahoo group I subscribed to began exchanging information about what organizations and hospitals needed facemasks, where you could find patterns online, who was willing to share elastic and other sewing supplies, and where you could donate masks. Hundreds of people who had just lost their income set to work as volunteers, using their skills and supplies. It was the same in most theatre communities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York…. (And those are only the ones I’m in touch with.) Home stitchers and quilters were also pitching in by donating thousands of hours of labor to supply communities in need.

Whenever I began to lose hope in our democracy, I thought of all those people who pitched in, and kept at it, during the darkest months of our lives. The instinct that says, “Let me help” is still alive.

And now, since we’re not going to any New Year’s parties this year, we can fantasize about wearing this couture from the past:

Two evening dresses by Chanel, illustrated by Desvignes in January 1927. Delineator.


Lavishly beaded couture gowns by Doeuillet and Patou. Delineator, November 1926.


It’s hard to show the detail of this bodice. The skirt is equally ornamented in a different pattern.

For more detailed images and information about these and other Chanel gowns from the same issue of Delineator, click here.  Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2021!

8 Comments

Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Jewelry, Vintage Couture Designs

Looking Forward to a New Year

cover of The Delineator, December, 1931

Delineator cover, Christmas 1931.

Since I didn’t get around to posting this in time for Christmas, I’m going to ignore the unopened presents and pretend that these ladies are taking down the Christmas decorations (in their evening gowns….) You can read about the fashion for bustle dresses in 1931 by clicking here.

Meanwhile, speculation about the clothing choices we will make when we emerge from months of isolation is all over the place. Will we be so used to comfort that “business casual” becomes even more casual? Or will the pendulum swing toward change: a more dressed up look replacing our pajamas and sweatpants? Here are three articles speculating about post-Covid 19 fashion: from Good Morning America, Barrons.com, and The Washington Post.

Historically, there is a tendency for sportswear to gradually become acceptable in more formal situations, as when the man’s country riding coat with cut-away front:

became business, and then, formal dress:

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/resized-1936-jan-mens-formal-dress-article-illus.jpg

In our own time we have seen the skin-tight leggings which women first wore for dance rehearsals and gym workouts become acceptable street (and even formal) wear, and not just by women who are shaped like ballerinas….

So there’s a distinct possibility that comfort will win out.  On the other hand, after the rationing and shortages and clothing restrictions of World War II,  women’s blocky padded shoulders and knee length skirts were quickly replaced by tightly fitted, mid-calf, super-feminine designs.

Tiny waists, natural shoulders, long skirts: Butterick Fashion News for August 1948.

 

Long skirts, fitted waists, and no scrimping on fabric in these suits from Butterick Fashion News, February 1948.

The wonderful blog A la Recherche des Modes Perdues shared pages and pages of French fashions from L’Art de la Mode, December 1948.  (Do take a look!) If there’s a theme, it’s the lavish waste of fabrics in long, full skirts, and draped skirts. These are super-feminine clothes for grown-up women (very rich ones!) Perhaps the relief of getting out of overalls and “shelter suits” (and pinching every penny) made the fashion pendulum swing to this extreme. It could happen again….

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fashion Photos from 1907

Detail of fashion photograph from Delineator, December 1907. The original photo was probably hand tinted.

Fashion plate, Delineator, Dec. 1907. Left, Butterick dress 1610; right, bodice/waist 1646 with skirt 1660.

Dress 1610 was described as “elephant gray” in this picture, but the line drawings suggested other versions.

Detail of dress 1610, bodice/waist.

The face and the feather boa confirm that this is a photo, not a drawing.

The detail of feathers and lace confirm that this is a tinted photo, not a drawing.

Skirt detail, Butterick dress 1610.

The pattern included the waist (blouse,) over-blouse, and skirt.

Pattern 1610 description, Dec. Page 874.

The drawing of dress 1610 on page 874 shows very different options, and suggests two other color and fabric suggestions as well:

Left, 1610 in “amethyst chiffon velvet” with ruffled sleeves; Right, in “sherry-color crepe meteor with blue and gold embroidery.”

The tiny waist and extreme posture shown in the drawn illustration are exaggerations, as we see from the photograph of the same dress on a normal woman:

Butterick 1610, photo and fashion drawing.

The ensemble on the right, which was shown in a photo in the color plate, must have had fewer pattern variations, because the drawings on page 874 only illustrate back and side views.

Fashion plate, Delineator, Dec. 1907. Right, bodice/waist 1646 with skirt 1660.

Detail of Butterick skirt 1660, Dec. 1907. Delineator.

Side view drawing of skirt 1660.

Back view of skirt 1660.

Pattern description of Butterick skirt 1660. Delineator, Dec.1907, page 876.

Detail of fashion photograph from Delineator, December 1907. Waist 1646.

Back view drawing of waist 1646.

Waist 1646 description p. 876

I was hoping to show a few examples and then just give you a link to some 1907 Delineators, but…. Sadly, not all issues of Butterick’s Delineator from 1907 are available on Googles’ Hathi Trust site. This link will take you to the Hathi search page.

(Maddeningly, Google has assigned its own page numbers rather than the original page numbers, which is a problem because, in 1907, Delineator didn’t put the month of the issue on the pages, and Delineator did number its volumes (six months per volume) with consecutive page numbers (e.g., page 1 on January 1, and page 998 in June.) Figuring out which month you are reading requires you to search the little dark box at the top left for the table of contents for each month. On the other hand, I found photos of some dresses in the August issue, but the pattern information for them was in the March (?) issue. I simply typed the pattern number (e.g., 9909) into the text search box for Volume 69, and “Bingo!”

More color photos from Delineator at Hathi Trust.

More about these later….

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Pledge

https://rememberedsummers.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/flag-float-1960ish060.jpg

Fourth of July Float, Redwood City parade. Early 1960s.

https://rememberedsummers.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/foresters-500-car-flag-and-star.jpg

Fourth of July Float made by the Foresters Lodge. Redwood City, CA late 1940s.

My father helped to build this float, so I got to sit front and center:https://rememberedsummers.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/foresters-bklt-col-rest500-float-with-star-group.jpg

If you’re not in your seventies, you may not remember when the Pledge of Allegiance was changed. I was in first grade when I first memorized it, and the word “indivisible” was quite a big one for a first grader. On Flag Day, June 14th, 1954, two new words were introduced into the pledge. When we started school that September, our teacher told us that we would now be saying “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

To this day, when I say the Pledge of Allegiance I have to give some thought to whether the words “under God” come before or after the word “indivisible.” The wonderful thing about putting hand on heart and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is the reminder that we Americans stand for “liberty and justice for all.” For all. 

Fourth of July Float, Redwood City, CA, early 1960s.

The other wonderful thing I learned in first grade was how to read. As I grew older, I read a lot of books and articles that were not part of our normal high school curriculum. I became aware that our behavior as a nation didn’t always match our stated principles. In college I was assigned a speech on the topic of the Vietnam War. My college library had a collection of Department of State bulletins, and what I read there was shocking to me. It turns out that we believed in free elections in other countries — unless they’re not going to turn out the way we want them to turn out. That was pretty disillusioning. Later, I Iearned that the passage of fair housing laws didn’t immediately translate into fair housing practices.  And I learned that that US policy in South America was also occasionally far from the ideals stated in our Pledge of Allegiance. 

That doesn’t mean the ideals have anything wrong with them. It doesn’t mean they are unattainable. The United States is still a work in progress. Maybe I’m still naive, but when I say the words “with liberty and justice for all,” I mean them. I still think that’s a pretty good idea.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It’s election day. Please, can we all say those words today and mean them?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

October Treats (Videos)

I didn’t intend this picture to look menacing. I just needed to balance the interesting curved stem with something, and my mother’s old knife was handy. Besides, it was fun to paint.

For those interested primarily in fashion, I recommend two YouTube videos to watch:

Doris Raymond (her store is The Way We Wore) shares close-up details of Paco Rabanne garments (and look-alikes) from her collection. She also has videos of some YSL for Dior pieces and many other designer pieces including jewelry and accessories. I didn’t know that Rabanne sold kits for those disc dresses!

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have kindly put an 18 minute tour of the Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit online.

Photograph of Frida Kahlo by Edward Weston, part of the FAMSF Kahlo exhibit.

Some rooms of Frieda Kahlo’s Blue House (La Casa Azul /Frida Kahlo Museum) were kept sealed until 50 years after her death. They contained thousands of photographs and much of her clothing, which has generously been on loan to the De Young Museum in San Francisco until February 7, 2021. COVID restrictions have been eased, and it is now possible to visit the exhibit. But, if you can’t travel to San Francisco, you can enjoy the virtual tour (and perhaps some museum publications.) Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived in San Francisco in the 1930s, and she was often photographed there.

Other YouTube Videos that have cheered me in October:

I’ve been interested in art for a long time, and because I physically can’t do many of the things that used to fill my days — like walking or research or writing — I’ve been watching three specific young artists on YouTube. Now that I’m no longer teaching or working in costume shops, I miss the company of people in their twenties.  Besides, it’s much easier (but not as satisfying) to watch other people painting for forty hours — especially when the painting process can be speeded up into a neat ten or twenty minutes!

So I began watching these three inspiring young men, whom I found by chance, and watching them in no particular order: Ten Hundred (aka TENHUN), SLEW, and STRUTHLESS.

Why would a seventy-five year old woman choose to spend hours and days with three guys who love graffiti, wear their baseball caps** backwards, and are lavishly tattooed?

Because they are very skilled, very serious about their work, incredibly hard-working, and good teachers.

SLEW (Samuel Lewis) dresses like he just jumped off a skateboard, and half his art doesn’t appeal to me at all — but the other half documents his progress in fine art drawing and oil painting. (You can skip the ads to see the videos.) He is very serious about improving his art. Also, like my other two recommendations, he is serious about making good videos — and like them, he understands that the ability to organize information is essential to a good teacher.

Ten Hundred (Peter Robinson) is a muralist, but also an entrepreneur. He paints, he teaches, he sells a line of merchandise,  he makes well-produced videos, and, by working very hard, he is making a living as an artist. Besides, I do enjoy his use of color — his murals have a joyful quality not always found in street art. The line between graffiti and urban art is sometimes a little blurry — but I learned (from his European mural painting tour) ( get past the ads….) that there is an organization (Global Street Art) which seeks to find legitimate places for outdoor art, where the murals are wanted and appreciated; it also connects muralists so they can collaborate on public pieces. Anyone who thinks being an artist doesn’t require “real” work or self-discipline should watch Ten Hun painting a commissioned mural or seeing how hard he worked to earn an extra $5000 to pay a medical bill: “90+ Art Pieces in 4 Days.”

Ten Hun and SLEW collaborated on a joint portrait mural here.

STRUTHLESS (Campbell Walker) is an Aussie cartoonist and — perhaps oddly — his videos are more about self-improvement than his own art process, although his series of cartoon characters drawn in the styles of ten different artists are quite amusing. He is a born teacher — producing  well thought out videos, sharing good advice about art and life with candor and a sense of humor. One video (“The drawing advice that changed my life”) convinced this white-haired old lady that I could learn a lot from this under-thirty guy in the ball cap and colorful tattoos. Any writer or creative artist should watch this video. (Besides, have you ever heard of a  “bin chicken?”) If you find that your perfectionism or procrastination keep you from starting to write or draw, STRUTHLESS gives very good advice. Really serious advice, given with tremendous honesty but no self-pity, can be found in “The Five Questions the Changed My Life.” (Trigger warning for abuse survivors like STRUTHLESS….) This is a human being trying to help others, and I admire him very much. Plus, he is entertaining….

I spent many hours over the past week watching these three very young men (SLEW is 24) giving advice, sharing what they’ve learned, working very hard, using exceptional self-discipline to carve out a living by making the art they want to make.

It was only by chance, as I watched video after video, that I realized: at least two of these admirable young men are recovering addicts. They turned their lives around.  They are doing good and doing well.

EDIT Oct.31, 2020: I forgot to include a link to How Art Saved My Life.

If you’re feeling desperate for good news, maybe spending time with them will cheer you up as it did me.

**STRUTHLESS wears his cap with the bill in front. He humorously explains why in “How to Go Bald in Your Twenties.”

7 Comments

Filed under Exhibitions & Museums, Musings, Resources for Costumers