Sunday, June 26, 2011

Celebrating The Pin Up

A pin-up girl, also known as a pin-up model, is a model whose mass-produced pictures see wide appeal as popular culture. Pin-ups are intended for informal display, e.g. meant to be "pinned-up" on a wall. Pin-up girls may be glamor models, fashion models, and actresses.(source: Wikipedia)

Grable's famous pin-up.
Many pin-ups were photographs of celebrities considered to be sex symbols. A prime example being Betty Grable - Whose legs were famously insured by her studio for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London, and whose iconic bathing suit photo made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era with her poster "Pinned up" in the lockers of many a G.I. It was later included in the LIFE magazine project "100 Photos that Changed the World"

Other pin-ups were artwork, often depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like. Provocative images, particularly used in advertising, trod a thin line between sex and commerce; drawing on figures like Marilyn Monroe who created a sensation when featured centerfold in a 1953 Playboy.

Additionally, there are several contemporary artists such as John Kacere - The subject of his Photorealistic paintings were exclusively the mid section of the female body. Although in the early 1980s he did branch away from this theme and included the entire body of a female in lingerie, only to then return to his original mid-section of the female body in 1988.

Playboy magazine December 1972 cover featuring
the last illustration work of Haddon Sundblom
Perhaps more importantly there was also Haddon Sundblom - If anyone was responsible for the explosion of vibrant beautiful pitchwomen, it was this Chicago artist. Whose lush oil technique influenced a roster of important pin-up artists.
The most famous being Gil Elvgren, who worked at Sundblom's Stevens-Gross advertising agency along with such notable artisans as Al Buell, Harry Ekman, Bill Medcalf and Joyce Ballantyne. Their technique of using thick layers of paint to achieve a warmth and glow was dubbed 'the mayonnaise school'.

Until the Monroe/Playboy sensation, it was mostly Esquire who provided opportunities for a generation of pin-up artists; although they had presented photographic pinups previously, these had never contained overt nudity. Then in 1970 Penthouse introduced the world to pubic hair.
pretty soon the introduction of explicit men's magazines made the saucy depictions of 'the mayonnaise school' seem quaint and old-fashioned, as further advances in Photographic technology brought quicker easier means of satisfying the pressures of monthly deadlines.

Among the thousands of talented artists working hard to bring good art to the masses, many are still making time to pay homage to the natural beauty of the female form with some truly stunning art.

And thanks to zazzles cutting edge print technology many of these beauties are now available on a wider range of products than ever before. You can now own beautiful pin up's on anything from Key-chains, to Bumper stickers, to Keds sneakers, or go all out: to show off the true splendour of these works with zazzle Posters; made with premium UV-resistant archival ink, and available on seven different media, from basic poster paper to canvas.

My own original art is all handdrawn in pencil & because I love the effect of the contrast I generally only colour the clothing on my Sexy Ladies as well as offering the raw sketches themselves on products.

However Zazzle is a marketplace of astounding capacity and with a quick search you can find a fantastic selection of anything you're looking for. This results in quite the collection of "Pin-Up" art created in many different ways. Below is an example from a store that is a personal favourite of mine.

Sexy Black Lingerie Pin-up Girl Art by Al Rio print
Sexy Black Lingerie Pin-up Girl Art by Al Rio by AlRioArt

If you enjoyed this post & would like to see Sexy Art from a larger selection some of my favourite sexy zazzle you'll find these & more on My Website
Alternatively if you're interested in learning more about Pin Up girls & nudity in art you can visit my squidoo lens Pin-Ups Through History  Adults only I'm afraid so you'll have to login or sign up (it's free!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Sun's Shinning - It's BBQ Time!

Summers here and you know what that means, whether your planning a family reunion or just want chill-out with friends, it's time to fill up those coolers, pull out the grill and sprawl out on the lawn with your sun shades on. 
Zazzle's custom aprons are a great way to stay clean and look good while cooking, grilling at the BBQ. Add your favorite photos, memories, and phrases (i.e. “#1 Chef”) to these durable high quality aprons, and create something that will be worn proudly every day. Makes the perfect gift for your favorite cook. Kid sizes available too.

My 5 Favourite Zazzle Apron designs

(So far)

Heart Kabob apron
Heart Kabob by GrilledCheesus
Start selling my art online with zazzle.

& here's some more great designs Available on Zazzle's custom Aprons

Rare Steak apronFun Grilling Apron apronPersonalizable Personal Chef Apron apronhungry animal apronI Love Meat Apron apronFeasting Chipmunk apronVegan Chef Apron apronSeafood Chef apronhungry cat apronBURNT APRON, BURNT FOOD apron

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Sketch The Claddagh

Origins Of The Claddagh

Irish tradition holds that the Claddagh ring orginated with an Irish youth, Richard Joyce, who was kidnapped by Mediterranean pirates while en route to the West Indies.

Sold into slavery, he eventually came to be owned by a skilled Moorish goldsmith.  During his lengthy servitude, Joyce learned the skills necessary to be a master metalsmith himself.  In 1689, Joyce's freedom was secured by no less than King William the Third.  Joyce rejected his former master's offer of marriage to his daughter, as well as the hefty dowry she would have brought with her. Joyce returned to Galway, where his true love had been faithfully awaiting his return, never giving up hope.  Upon their reunion, Joyce presented his beloved with what was to become an everlasting symbol of fidelity and love, the Claddagh.  The two clasped hands were a motif of friendship reaching back to the days of the Roman Empire.  The heart symbolized romantic love and affection, while the crown honored the King who had made their reunion possible and stands for loyalty.

How much truth there is in the tale, the Claddah has still come to symbolize these qualities, and has become a common romantic symbol, especially of those of Irish descent.  Depending on the attitude of the giver and wearer, and the orientation of the ring when worn, a Claddagh can symbolize many different relationships.  In its most common form, the Claddah is worn on the right ring finger, with the point of the heart towards the wearer, it suggests romantic involvement.  When reversed, with the heart pointing away, the wearer is unattached.  When worn on the left ring finger in the style of a traditional wedding ring, the Claddagh is a symbol of marriage or engagement.  The Claddagh ring has existed since the 18th century, but it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that the term Claddagh came into usage.

The Claddagh (Gold) necklace

What The Claddagh Means To Me

With an Irish Da, who came from a large Irish family, I have a habit of slipping into a fairly convincing Irish accent. Something which I'm sure can be disconcerting to some on a young Black British woman (Mother was Jamaican, so I'm pretty good at that accent too). Obviously I love both sides of my family but it's fair to say I always knew the Irish relatives better. As children me and my siblings spent much more time in their care and more than one of my Irish aunt's has good cause to claim they had a big hand in raising us.
Ireland was the first country I travelled to from England and some of my fondest memories are of spending time there with relatives in in my youth. Probably the reason I still consider it one of my favourite places on earth, even now that I've visited so many other fine places, and still think regularly of returning even though I've now settled in the US. People can tell you what a beautiful country Ireland is but the truth is it really is a beauty, which needs to be seen to be understood.
My Claddagh sketch is but a small tribute to my Irish family, and the happy childhood memories they aided me in creating. To the aunt's, uncles and cousins who made me smile over the years. It's a way of keeping even those who are no longer among us, a part of my waking memory because they were always so important to me.

Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Top 5 British Horror Writers:

Reginald Easton's miniature of Mary Shelley
is allegedly drawn from her death mask (c. 1857)
5. Mary Shelley
Frankenstein: Grandmother of the horror genre.  Written at the tender age of 18 as part of a friendly competition between herself, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley to write a "ghost story" during a rainy weekend in the country. Unfortunately her story which is based on what it means to be truly human, with the Monster being literate, reading Paradise Lost and sympathizing with Milton's heroic Satan figure, becoming eloquent, kind, and well-mannered, has been reduced in film after film to a shambolic monstrosity.  Still, its impact cannot be denied, as evidenced by refernces in Eando Bender's I Robot short story (not to be confused with the Asimov anthology of the same name, or the Will Smith blockbuster), in which the humanoid robot reads Frankenstein (mirroring The Monster's reading of Paradise Lost) during his own existential search for meaning and humanity.  The story has such staying power that modern horror writer Dean Koontz has even penned a quadrilogy of "sequels" set in modern times in which Victor Frankenstein is alive and well, as is his famous creation.  Shelley has left such an impact on the modern psyche that to this day many educated people continue to refer to The Monster as simply "Frankenstein."

Abraham "Bram" Stoker,
born in Ireland (1847-1912),
author of "Dracula"
4. Bram Stoker
Dracula: This book put vampires on the map, and they've been here to stay ever since.  Like Shelley's Frankenstein, Stoker used the technique of multiple narratorive perspectives to craft a masterpiece.  In a preview of how popular and enduring the story would be, the first film adaptation, Nosferatu, was produced during the lifetime of Stoker's widow, and was such a blatant rip-off that it prompted a court case which was eventually resolved in Stoker's favour. Though Stoker's Count Dracula is a far cry from the sexy vampires of today (we forget the long nails and hairy palms), Stoker's work was seminal in establishing vampire writing as a horror genre unto itself. Without Dracula, it is arguable that we would have no Lestat, no Angel, no Blade, no Lost Boys, and no Edward (though that last would not have been much of a loss.)

3. Shaun Hutson
My all time fave Horror novel.
Best known for the book Slugs, which was made into the film of the same name, in my opinion far and away Hutson's best work is his Nemesis.  It features the classic horror trope of a small town with an old, dark secret, yet what Hutson does with this meme is incredibly and irrevecably his own.  Hutson's work is not for the squeamish, Hutson deals in so-called "body horror," involving parasitism and mutilation. It may be that I read this book at an impressionable age, which makes it stand out in my mind as such a masterpiece.  However, what impresses me most is that it not only deals with classic horror themes, but it's also a well thought out novel in its own right.  Many horror stories use plot as merely a vehicle for unsettling or disturbing scenes (something Hutson himself is not above as evidenced in Slugs), but Nemesis is a brilliant novel which transcends the conventions of horror, a genre which is all too often written off as mere pulp.

2. James Herbert
Portent a shinning
example of Herbert's 
fascination with the  
Herbert's body of work has a much larger scale than many other writers, with an apocalyptic bent.  Herbert often kills off scores, if not hundreds of people in the first few pages of his books, swiftly hooking the reader and pulling them into the tale.  His magnum opus is the Rats trilogy (Rats, Lair, Domain).  Herbert's work evidences a soaring scope, much in line with stories such as Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later, in which a small band of people are caught up in world-changing events.

1. Clive Barker
When you mention Barker, most people immediately think Pinhead.  Described as one of the leading horror writers, Barker's incredible body of work includes The Damnation Game, The Books of Blood (1-3 and 4-6), Cabal, (adapted to film as Nightbreed), Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, and of course, The Hellbound Heart, which Barker himself adapted and directed in the classic Hellraiser film.  Barker describes his own work as "dark fantasy," though horror elements are front and center in most of his writings.  Barker deftly constructs entire other worlds alongside our own, and deals with questions of sexuality and the supernatural in a compelling yet disturbing fashion.  No less than Stephen King said, "I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker."  He is also a skilled visual artist, as I mentioned in a previous post.  Other of Barker's works adapted to the silver screen include Lord of Illusions, Midnight Meat Train, Dread, The Forbidden (released as Candyman), and "Clive Barker's Books of Blood."

Here's a great Barker interview with Craig Ferguson.  Bear with the slight video glitch at 3:44 just as Barker mentions Hellraiser.  I blame Pinhead.  Jesus Wept!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Zazzle Featured Artist Interview


A place for designs and photography in many subjects! Just a few things you can find in Susan's store:
Abstract art, Bonsai quotes, Bass guitar photographs, Musician Gifts, Florida Pictures, Animal photography, Vintage Victorian Designs, Spray Paint Paintings, Vintage Armed Forces posters, Rose Photographs, Flower Art

How long have you been Zazzling?

9 months

What do you like most about zazzle?

Being able to create templates!! (my second choice is the artists themselves).

What medium (graphic design on computer/paint/pencil, etc...) do you work in?

All mediums except oil. I have the most postings under my Spray Paint Spray-paintings, which are done using spray-paint, poster-board, and misc objects from around the house

What genre does your work mostly fall into? and space?

What artist or art are you inspired by?

Way too many to list. I tend to be more inspired by individual pieces I see rather than one artist though. I love any artist who can do photo-realism, but appreciate some of the abstracts (others are just paint thrown at a canvas).

Where do you get your ideas from?

Reading, nature, my photography, just about everywhere!

Is there a product in your store that you liked so much you’ve bought it yourself?

This is a painting I did based on my peacock I had named Peaburd. He was the coolest bird, love bass and listening to the band (and would throw a conniption fit when he was a baby and I didn't bring him out and let him hang with us while practicing!). He had an accident and ended up a one winged peacock, but you couldn't tell. He was my favorite! So this button is on my bass strap in memory :).

Abstract Peacock Head button
Abstract Peacock Head by SusansZooCrew
Shop for a button at

Do you have a favourite zazzle store that’s not yours? 

Not a store per say, but I have to give a lot of kudos to Amy (Shopaholicchick) for helping me out a TON.

There's so many great artists here that I end up browsing through dozens of stores when I'm on the hunt for promoting items!

Do you have your art on other sites? (Blog, Website, other POD site)

Just here on zazzle :).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lace9's Art Arena Contest Winners!

My second art contest in Lace9's Art Arena, with the theme "Surreal Art" has finished. The winners are below.  Many thanks to those who voted!

1st Place Winner: DizzyDebbie

2nd Place: Andrey & Tiffany

Honorable Mention: Lace9's Pick!: AbstractRealm

Congrats to the winners, and many thanks to all who entered.  The runners up are below.

Unwritten novel by Ray Bradbury shirtSpirit of Spring Blank Notecard cardsoulsisters printeasy dream printBottled Water Bombs mousepadmelting monster shirtMagic Happens Poster printOut of This World Wild Heart Mug mugBar Monster printWild Violet printSwamp Deity mousepadthe last walk in the garden of Eden i-pad case speckcasePsychedelic Skull II mousepadCarp head surrealistic T shirt shirtundisturbed life of an apple speckcaseSkelly Claude Monet Cute Skull and Crossbones printMind Control print

The next competition in the Art Arena won't be until Autumn, so it's time to start thinking of the next theme.  So if you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments.

Rules, votes & other info on the contest, as well as all the entries in their full glory, can still be found here Lace9's Art Arena