Vintage Pin Up: Gene Pressler

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The Pin Up Art Of Ernest Chiriaka

Sure, you’re a
longtime and
dedicated subscriber
of the Muscleheaded Blog,
right?

That,
my friend,
makes you
a sorta
expert on the
vintage Pin Up
genre –

– so, you should have
no trouble telling me
just who the heck was
Anastassios Kyriakakos.

Hey-
no fair,
reading the post title.

Yeah,
you’re right –

it was none
other than
Ernest Chiriaka.

I’m given to understand
the name is a translated
version of the whole
Anastassios K thing.

Sorry,
all Greek to me.

But there is more
to the name thing-
Tassi
is the shortened form
of Anastassios,
which sounds like
Darcy “,
which is a name you
might see on certain
Chiriaka works.
(along with “ACKA”
and “A.D.” )

Confused, yet?

Well, this guy was
a seriously skilled
artist, and I’ll make
no bones about that.

His heritage was Spartan
(literally), his parents
having emigrated from the
Laconia area of Greece,
and coming to the United
States in 1907.

He was born a couple
years later, in 1913,
in New York City.

At the age of 14,
young Tassi was painting
on anything he could find-
and soon was hired to
paint signs professionally
in a shop.

In that job, he recognized
his calling, and signed up
for evening classes in
illustration and drafting
at the venerable Mechanics
Institute, then going on to
the Grand Central School
of Art.

There, he met a lovely
young art student named
Katherine, and he married
her in 1937.

By 1940, his illustrative
work was appearing in a
wide range of publications,
and his work on pulp fiction
covers was especially popular.

These included
titles like:
Sweetheart Stories,
Ten Detectives,
Aces Western,
Adventure,
Big Book Western,
Black Book Detective,
Detective Fiction Weekly,
Dime Western,
Texas Rangers,
Thrilling Mystery,
Exciting Detective,
Fifteen Western Tales,
.44 Westerns,
G-Men Detective,
New Detective,
Phantom Detective,
Rodeo Romances,
Star Western,
et al.

But a new market also
was creating demand:

Pin Ups for calendars,
magazines, advertising,
arcade cards, and the
like.

By 1942, with World
War II in full swing,
and he himself found
ineligible for military
service due to health
issues, he found himself
knee deep in illustrative
jobs of all kinds.

As busy as he was then,
the period after the war
was actually his most
creative and productive
era-

– he became a part of
the American Artists
Agency in 1950, and
thus, was doing art
for the country’s most
popular magazines like
American Magazine,
Colliers, Coronet, The Saturday Evening Post,
Argosy……

and more
especially,
Esquire Magazine,
– where his classic
pin ups are still
remembered with
great enthusiasm.

In the 1960’s,
he went back to
concentrating on
paper-back book
covers, and by the
late 1980’s was
really only interested
in doing landscapes
with an Old
West theme.

He passed the veil
at age 98, in 2010,
at his longtime
home on
Long Island,
New York.

More Chiriaka Art Here.

! HOY !