Saturday, February 27, 2010

It Came From The Beanworld Archives!

"Self-portrait of the bean as a young artist."
8 1/2" x 11"
Technical pen, felt tip pen, color markers on Bienfang 360 mounted on color clay-based paper.

So there used to be this weird colored paper that was once a fairly common art supply. For the life of me I can't remember the trade name for it, but when I was first in advertising, at the agency, there was a big flat-drawer full of it.

The older art directors called it "clay-based paper."
No one ever used it.

The back side was white and the front side was coated with a thin layer of beautiful lush smooth color.
Brilliant colors.
But the clay-based coating was fragile and easily cracked.

You wanted to work with it because of its brilliant hues. The clay paper surface was so "thirsty" it hungrily soaked up all forms of ink and tempera paints. So I think it was considered a superior art supply in the "Golden Age" of advertising layout when everything was rendered with pen & ink, brushes, and chalk.

But it was absolutely incompatible with dry transfer lettering.
Dry transfer lettering wouldn't adhere to the clay base for even three seconds before it just slid off.

Colored Pantone papers were developed and marketed to work hand in glove with dry transfer lettering. By the time I entered the advertising business Pantone Matching System (PMS) papers had elbowed clay-based out of the way. PMS stuff (papers, markers, and inks) had became the new standard for making layouts.

So, as I said, we had a drawer full of these gorgeous clay-based papers. They were too expensive to throw out but no one wanted them either. Sometimes I'd play around with them.
The illo above is one of those times. The clay-based paper is probably 35 years old or more and the color is still brilliant.

Based on the shapes in the night time sky, I think this is from the late '70s, around the time I made my Beanworld Tarot deck. The "orb"and "hot dog "shapes later transformed into hoops and slats and became the Four Realities. The original shapes became the Mystery Pebbles we know today.

I believe that this piece is less of a true Beanworld study and more of a self-portrait.


carol said...

It's really beautiful. The colors are vivid without being bright. I love the sky so high above. The entire layout is so spare and satisfying. Thanks for sharing this with us.
I've always been intrigued by the Beanworld Tarot. Did you actually create an entire deck of cards?

Anonymous said...

So...what are the chances of this *fantabulous* piece ever being offered for sale or charity auction?


Hamachisn't said...

There are a number of things I really like about this picture and a few things that disturbed me a little.

I love that particular shade of purple!
I also liked the trapezoid. A rectangle would have been so boring...
I really like that you offset the subject to the left, a pleasant amount.
That's a great drawing table :)

On the other hand, I was a bit bothered by the fact that the bean was solid color, not half-black. Of course this was an early bean and, once I realized that, I decided that's just fine; the beans just hadn't developed dark areas yet.
What was bothering me a lot more was: why is the light shining in the beans eyes instead of at the drawing he's producing? I asked JJA that and his reply was that I'm incorrectly assuming the purpose of that light. It's a grow light; it's there to provide the bean necessary UV, not to illuminate the drawing. Okay, I can accept that.

I've been developing a number of questions and talking with J, who told me to ask you some time. So you can expect a short list from me one of these days. Just not right now.

Have fun!


Larry Marder said...

I'm always eager to read anything anyone has to say.
As far as selling any of these pieces from the Archives, Pam, well, not before there is an "Art of Larry Marder" book published some day.

Susan D-L said...

Your description of the clay-coated paper sent me to my box of legacy art supplies to dig out my packet of Color-Aid paper from my freshman year of college in 1979.

These are exactly as you described; lovely rich colors on one side, white paper on the reverse. I used them in my 2-D Design class and have hoarded the remaining papers (quite a few, in a full range of hues) all these years. I'd forgotten about them until I read your post just now. Thank you for reminding me!

Larry Marder said...

Color-Aid! That sure sounds right to me. Thanks for the info, Susan.