The Posters of Jean Carlu

It’s not just
postcards
around the ole
Muscleheaded Blog,
ya know…..

We’re also crazy
over for vintage
poster art-

– especially those
related to La Belle
Époque, Art Deco,
Cubism, and
World War II
subjects.

If it’s got to do
with graphic
design or art,
well, we’re
probably into it.

Today’s topic is
all about what
the French call
‘affiche’ ;

— and specifically,
about one of
their best
and brightest
poster designers –
Jean Carlu.

Born in  1900,
in the Île-de-France
region of Northern
France; in a town
called Bonnières-
sur-Seine, Jean
grew up in a
family of architects –
but decided early
on, while attending
the Ecole de
Beaux-Arts,  that
his interests lay
more in the
printed image –

— and he won his
first professional
job as a poster artist
in a Glycodont
advertising contest.

He was chosen as
“Designer of the Year”
by none other than
the world famous
graphic artist Leonetto
Cappiello himself.

Tragically, that
same day he
lost his right
arm in a traffic
accident-

but he dedicated
himself to relearning
to draw with his left,
and soon he was back
at his easel; and a hint
of that missing hand
would appear in several
of his forthcoming works.

Much of his designs
between 1918
and 1925 were
in the rapidly
evolving Art
Deco style, and as
the decade played out,
he focused more on
encompassing cubism
in his designs.

His posters for theatres
like Pigalle, museums
and attractions like
Aquarium de Monaco
and the 1937 Paris
Exhibition were very
popular ;

– as were the designs
for elite French
wine labels, like
Chateau Mouton
Rothschild in 1924
and adverts for beer
like Spatenbrau.

His poster work
can be considered
in three general
perspectives:

1: Style Art :
Including
Cubism,
Surrealism,
and Art Deco.

2: Innovative Technique :
Including Photo-montage
and Dimensional Layering.

example

3: Propaganda :
Since he had lived
through the devastation
and death of World War
I, he was originally
inclined toward the
European disarmament
movement in the early
1930’s …..

— but as Hitler
geared up for aggression,
Jean Carlu found himself
creating more patriotic
and propaganda art –

including several
posters encouraging
the United States
to render aid to
the Allies, and even
‘increase production’
posters for the American
market …

— and he lived in
the United States
from 1940 to 1953.

After 1953 he returned
to his native France,
and created dozens
more memorable works,
much having to do with
travel, like his posters
for Pan American
World Airlines and
Air France.

He died in the late
1990’s; leaving a rich
legacy of stunning
color and powerful
line in hundreds of
affiche designs
from his 70 year
plus career.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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The Incredible Laura Nyro

Popular music has always
had it’s prolific songwriters –

– and most of
the great ones,
Carole King, Jimmy Webb,
Dolly Parton, Tom Waits,
Joni Mitchell, etc, have etched
their names in the minds of
music lovers pretty solidly.

A few, though –
get little mention
in the music press
or in popular culture:

… one name that
seems all but
forgotten, not
only as a very
important songwriter
but as a performer
as well, was:
Laura Nyro.

Maybe I’m wrong ?

Maybe you’re a musician
who started playing in
the 1960’s or 1970’s ;

or maybe you have a keen
ear for creative, intricately
put together pop songs
with heart.

If so, then you
remember Miss Nyro’s
Music , and songs like :
” Eli’s Coming ”
” Save The Country ”
” Stoney End ”
” Sweet Blindness ”
” And When I Die ”
” Wedding Bell Blues ”
” Midnight Blue ”
” Mercy On Broadway ”
…… Etc.

For those who have not
been exposed to Miss Nyro’s
work, here’s a quick run-down
of her all-too-short career…

Born in New York in 1947,
she went without any
formal musical education,
though her father was a
trumpet player in the
Catskills Mountains,
and, inspired by the works
of Debussy and Ravel, she
taught herself to play
the piano at an early age:

” I’d created my own
little world, a world
of music, since I was
five years old “ said Nyro.

Her musical influences
also included Billie
Holiday, Nina Simone,
and she wrote her first
piece of original
music at age 8.

“When I Die “, sold
to Peter, Paul and Mary
in 1966, when she was 17,
netted her $5000, and was
her first chance to be
considered as a serious
songwriter:
this single song was
recorded by several
popular groups, but
is best remembered for
the “Blood Sweat & Tears
version – in 1968.

Around this time,
Laura obtained new
agent representation
from an influential
person by the name of
David Geffen –
(Asylum Records,
Geffen Records,
Dreamworks ) together
forming ‘Tuna Fish Music ‘.

Her songwriting soon
saw much more exposure:
the catalog of the pop
group ‘The Fifth Dimension’
was loaded with Nyro songs,
like “Wedding Bell Blues“,
“Stoned Soul Picnic “, etc.

Musical artists with styles
ranging from the Manhattan
Transfer, Barbra Streisand
to Maynard Ferguson and
Three Dog Night also
recorded hits from Laura
Nyro scores…..

And she not only wrote songs,
but had her own special
delivery in performing
other people’s work :

Witness :

It’s Gonna Take A Miracle

.

or

.

La La Means I Love You

.

She did a piece with the
late, great Duane Allman
called ” Beads Of Sweat
that has become a blues
rock cult classic.

Unfortunately, she was
never comfortable with
performing live, and she
found maintaining the high
level of originality in her
songwriting a difficult
process, and by age 40
had largely retired from
the music business.

She died at the age of
50 of ovarian cancer.

She was inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame posthumously,
in 2012.

A number of rock and
pop music celebrities
claim Laura Nyro as
an important influence,
including:

Elvis Costello
Joni Mitchell
Elton John
Jackson Browne
Cyndi Lauper
Carole King
Alice Cooper
Todd Rundgren
Melissa Manchester
etc.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Photo Boothing

My buddy Jen sent
me a funny picture
of a couple of dogs
mugging in one of
those coin-operated
automated photo
booths, and it got
me to thinking-

(always a
dangerous thing)

— just how many
hilarious examples
of this kinda thing
must be
out there
somewhere.

I guess it
must be true,
cause you can
do some really
goofy stuff in
front of a camera
in 5 second intervals.

Hell, I’ve been
known to participate
in some pretty silly
photo booth high jinks
myself when they were
still popular in arcades
and such.

Of course,
that required
pain-staking research,
searching every nook
and cranny of the
interwebs and stuff,
but
hey,
anything for
our readers, right ?

Well, here’s
the thing.

Most of the vintage
photo sets from
4 for a quarter
photo booths
that I found were
kinda lame…..

(with a few
exceptions)

People skewing up
their faces, bugging
their eye balls, and
making obscene
gestures is pretty
much par for the
course.

Not that
I have any
issue with any
of that-

– it just so
happens
that I hold
an advanced
degree in
obscene
gestures…..

….. but it’s just
not something
that would make
for all that thrilling
of a post,
if you get
my drift.

You seen
one middle
finger, you
seen em all.

But never fear —

( notwithstanding
how really slow
I was in
realizing it ) –

we did finally
figure out
that those
old fashioned
backdrop shots
that they used
to sell at the
beach,
arcades,
zoos, and
in amusement parks
could get pretty risque
or downright bizarre…

— especially those
from around
World War II.

Folks would simply
stick their head
or other appendages
into cut-outs on the
backdrop-

Then:
the camera
would click,
the light
would flash,
and – presto –
instant humiliation
stored on photo
emulsion paper.

Who wouldn’t
want ten
pounds
of that,
I ask you ?

Of course,
folks had a
much better
sense of humor
back then…….

And they hadn’t
learned yet the
truth of the now
defunct rule 74 –

– that if you
look like
you’re naked
or are doing
something
naughty in
a picture,
even if it
ain’t really
you, for all
practical purposes,
you are,
and for all time.

Don’t I know it.

(Rule 74 was
officially replaced
in the early
2000’s by :
Rule 74-R
which states that
unless you’re doing
so completely out
there while you’re
naked , (or a politico
or celebrity), that
makes it stand out
from the trillions
of other naked
pics floating
around
on the internet
somewhere,
there’s a very
strong chance
that nobody will
want/notice/care/
even see it. )

Ahem.

I honestly
don’t know
which version
of that rule that
I like least, but
anyhoo……

For those
of you who
tuned in to
see the funny
photo strips….

well,
if you’ve
got any:

just send em along
in care of this here
blog, we’ll still do
it on another post.

I just didn’t
have near
enough good
ones to make
a whole post
interesting.

And I do like
these vintage
‘cut-out’ shots 
a whole lot better
that the photo strips
I ended up not using.

It comes down
to simply this :

sometimes
a detour
will get ya
ya where you’re
going somewhere
faster than the
main road.

Not often,
I grant ya.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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Alrighty …………..