Gustaf began working as a runner boy and as an apprentice by a lithographer's shop at eleven, to help support the family. After his artistic talent was observed, he obtained a scholarship in 1910 to, at only thirteen, attend the local art school, Slöjdföreningens skola.
Tyrus Wong is a Chinese-American artist who's most best-known work was as the background artist largely responsible for the look of Walt Disney's 1942 film Bambi. He's also worked as a landscape painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker. Some of his well known paintings include Self Portrait, Fire, Reclining Nude, East and West. At 100 years old today and one of the earliest successful Chinese-American artists, he is a living legend.
Tyrus was born 黃齊耀 on October 25th, 1910 in 台 山 (Taishan), China. When he was nine, he and his father moved to Sacramento, leaving behind his mother and sister, never to see them again. Father and son subsequently moved to Southern California where Wong attended Pasadena's Benjamin Franklin Junior High. It was there that his teachers noted his artistic ability and, after receiving a summer scholarship at Otis Art Institute, he left junior high.
Today is the birthday of artist, animator and vaudevillian Winsor McCay, who, were he still alive, would be 139 -- or 144 years old… more on that later. Like many animation pioneers, McCay's work has been largely overshadowed by his better known successors, Walt Disney and the Fleischer Brothers. But if it weren't for McCay, who knows what they'd have done with their lives.
Zenas Winsor McKay was born September 26th -- either in 1871 in Spring Lake, Michigan (according to McCay), or in 1869 in Canada (according to his tombstone), or 1867 in Canada (according to the census). What is not disputed is that he was the son of Robert McKay (later changed to McCay) and Janet Murray McKay. Robert worked variously as a teamster, grocer and real estate agent. They sent him to Cleary's Business College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), John Goodison (a former glass stainer) taught him the fundamentals of art. McCay moved to Chicago in 1889 with the intention of attending the Art Institute of Chicago. However, unable to afford tuition, he found a job at the National Printing and Engraving Company where he made circus and theatrical posters. In 1901, he moved to Cincinnati, where he worked as an artist for Kohl and Middleton's Vine Street Dime Museum and married Maude Leonore Dufour.
Today is the birthday of American artist Charles Dana Gibson, best known for his creation of The Gibson Girl. By some accounts, he's also responsible for the invention of the Gibson martini. Were he still alive, he’d be 143 years old today.
Gibson was born September 14th, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, today the heart of Boston’s population -- back then, probably not. His parents were DeWolf Gibson and Josephine Elizabeth Lovett. The patriarch was a somewhat gifted artist and encouraged his son to draw. Gibson honed his skill at Manhattan’s Art Students League. In 1886, he sold his first sketch to Life magazine (of a dog chained to a post), for which he became a contributor for the next three decades.
As Gibson’s reputation grew, his works appeared in The Century, Colliers, Harper’s Weekly and Scribners. By 1889, he’d acquired enough money to travel to Europe. In England he met illustrator George du Maurier, known for (among other things), his skill at drawing beautiful women. His subsequent illustrations reflect du Maurier's influence, although they are quite distinct.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage, an occasion I marked by seeking interviews with several Asian-American artists (like Roommate's Ken Lambert) and blogging about Asian neighborhoods and such… One interview I attempted to land was Chinese-American artist Xu Darocha, now giving a whole new meaning to the concept of “Asian time” by getting her responses to me in time for National Cat Fish Month… To be fair, she’s been occupied with more pressing business, working on her amazing artwork.
Eric Brightwell: Hello Xu, thanks for letting me profile you. Happy Asian American Heritage Month. Have you done anything in recognition or celebration?
Xu Darocha: Not yet. I will make myself some dumplings soon. Will that count?
EB: Not really, unless you weren’t going to otherwise make them… plus it’s a little late! When I mention your name, almost everyone asks, “Is that her real name?” Do you get that a lot?
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