Monday, July 27, 2009

Working at other art studios in Detroit

After I left Allied Artists in 1951 I started working at Grey Garfield Lange, an older established Detroit art studio. It was formerly Grey Garfield LaDriere. I used to go through their old files when I wasn't busy and I found work that John Gannam, Austin Briggs and Jon Witcomb had done while working there in the 1930s. Many illustrators had come through Detroit before ending up in New York City. Detroit was a gigantic market for artists for many years because of the automotive industry. During my stay in Detroit Bernie Fuchs, Robert Heindel, Mark English, Dick Palulian, and Don Silverstein all worked there before moving to the Big Apple.

GGL Studio
Here are the artists and salesmen that I worked with at Gray, Garfield & Lange. I'm in the upper left hand corner standing next to my first wife Marilyn. I can't remember the next gentleman, I recall that he was a salesman. The fourth fellow is Al Phelps, he was a lettering man and later became an art director at McManus, John and Adams working on the Pontiac account I believe. The fifth fellow was Hugh Monahan, a keyliner. I don't remember who the sixth one is. In the lower group is Don DeLaura, studio manager, Max Kanous, photo retoucher and Morey Stafford, cartoonist and illustrator.
One of the major jobs that I did while working there was the 1952 Annual Report cover for General Motors, unfortunately I don't have a copy of that to post. My stay at GGL was pretty interesting and I did a lot of work, but decided to leave and work with my old buddy Cliff Roberts at Jose Cavillo Studios. That only lasted a few months and I decided to work for McNamara Bothers which was becoming one of Detroit's major commercial art studios.. I was hired as a head graphic designer and would also be doing illustrations as well.

Harry 1
Here I am at my drawing board at McNamara's doing some comp renderings for automotive catalog presentations. McNamara Studios was a very busy place, I remember one weekend I designed five automotive catalogs, not much sleep in those days ! As well as design work I did quite a bit of automotive art and and also painted backgrounds. Dave Lindsay was their top automotive artist and we worked as a team on many projects.

KelseyHayes 1

Kelsey Hayes 2

I did a series of ads for Kelsey Hayes, I think the art director was Curley Campbell.

Dodge Xmas Crd

This is a Dodge Christmas card that I did in 1953.

A announcement mailing about Dave and I joining MDM Studios in 1955

In 1955 Dave and I were approached by MDM Studios and were offered partnerships. We decided to leave McNamara's and joined MDM. We were extremely busy there and after a year of working day and night at the drawing board I was totally burned out and decided to leave the art studio business forever. That's when I approached Jim Hastings at Campbell Ewald about a job as art director. Jim knew of my automotive related experience as a catalog designer and illustrator. Through a lucky fluke I was hired as the head art director on Chevrolet sales promotion. The former Art director had done something which got him fired and I happened to be there at the right place at the right time. I have been very fortunate to have had many lucky breaks in this business.


M. said...

Your blog is so interesting! My great grandfather was Gray. So I decided to search around for stories about GGL. But personal blog memoirs are so much more interesting.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi M,
Thanks for your comments. I was at GGL for about a year. Bob Lange was the only one there, I never met your grandfather or Mr. Garfield, they probably had retired, the year was 1951 if I remember correctly.
Was your grandfather an illustrator ?
Do you know anything about Garfield ? I know nothing about either of them.