17 Pinup paintings side by side with the photos that inspired them


in my youth one of my escapes from reality was drawing. it was something i shared with classmates war planes tanks etc, the Korean war was going on, one of my classmates was really good at characters and created his own comic strip which he shared by slipping it around to his fans.

i liked drawing and art classes, my best class along with writing although i wasn’t a good speller but i had an active imagination which the teachers tried to stifle at every chance they got. so drawing didn’t have these limitations and i was free to try this and that.

as a mopy teenager hanging around the house the one thing my parents did encourage was drawing so i sent in a match book cover ‘Draw Me’ and won. i won a salesman dropping by to congratulate me on my budding talent. i had a scholarship  to this correspondence school if only they signed me up for the course, which they did.

it’s not easy learning to draw that way but i tried and my drawings came back corrected showing how i should have drawn the line. i imagine teaching those courses must have been really depressing but soon the students like me gave up and the school had the money so who cared if another Michealangelo became a truck driver.

when i first came to New York city i lived next to a working painter who sold his work in a small gallery on Broadway. he mentored me to a degree at least he didn’t laugh at my work. i remember him saying my work ‘was too honest.’ but i continued and the work improved but where to store all the finished canvas and i was moving around from apt to apt? so most of them wound up under years of trash in a NJ landfill.

it wasn’t until years later that i moved into photography after establishing a steady income and life. so i am neither officially trained in drawing or photography but i’ve had some classes in both and love both art forms. here is something that came along to me i though would be nice to share.

 

Gil Elvgren is a painter known for the pin-up images he made in the 1950s. The iconic creations feature impossibly curvy ladies in silly situations, and until now, only the paintings have been seen. Nerve.com has now released the photographs upon which Elvgren based his paintings, and the similarities (and differences!) between them are really fun to see.

Elvgren’s paintings take the photograph as his inspiration, but alter the image to make a cartoonish effect.

Elvgren's paintings take the photograph as his inspiration, but alter the image to make a cartoonish effect.

nerve.com

It’s interesting to see that the way Elvgren alters his models’ bodies is similar to the way that photos are altered now with Photoshop.

It's interesting to see that the way Elvgren alters his models' bodies is similar to the way that photos are altered now with Photoshop.

dailymail.co.uk

The bright colors and voluptuous curves combine to make the iconic images that so perfected captured a moment in art.

The bright colors and voluptuous curves combine to make the iconic images that so perfected captured a moment in art.

dailymail.co.uk

No matter the decade or the tools available, it’s clear that the media has been making an exaggerated figure to catch your eye.

No matter the decade or the tools available, it's clear that the media has been making an exaggerated figure to catch your eye.

nerve.com

The bizarre scenarios and silly expressions look all the more entertaining when you see them enacted by a real person.

The bizarre scenarios and silly expressions look all the more entertaining when you see them enacted by a real person.

dailymail.co.uk

Many of the images Elvgren created were used in advertisements and calendars by the company Brown & Bigelow.

These pin-ups defined an era in art, and seeing the women behind them makes them all the more beautiful.

These pin-ups defined an era in art, and seeing the women behind them makes them all the more beautiful.

nerve.com

Who knew that so many everyday activities could be so conducive to leg-showing?

For more information on Gil Elvgren’s work, check out his website here.  Originally published in Nerve.com

 

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