The other day, Jim Bernardine sent me a photograph of Jim Donahue, a great man that I met early in my career, and it brought back a lot of memories. I began working at fifteen years old at the Brophy Engraving Company at 409 East Jefferson in Detroit. It was 1943 and World War II was raging. Brophy's artists were all drafted into the army and they hired me through my art teacher, Margaret Stein, at Denby High School. I had designed the high school yearbook and Brophy's did the engravings for it and were aware of my work. The art director at the company was Jim Donahue. Jim was a terrific guy and he helped me a great deal, it was quite a learning experience. After I graduated from High school I quit brophy's and my good friend, Herb Schiebold and I started an art studio and had an office in the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. In 1947, our main client, Chrysler, was involved in a major worker strike and our work from them suddenly stopped and we had to close down our operation. A few weeks later I ran into Jim Donahue and he told me that he had just started his own commercial art studio, Allied Artists. When I told him I was looking for a job, he immediately hired me. I worked as a graphic designer at the beginning and later also did a lot of illustrations. Jim was a superb salesman he brought in tons of great work from Kaiser Fraser and other major clients. The studio was a very busy place. Jim also hired Cliff Roberts and Don Silverstein and we all became good friends through the years.
Here's good old Jim, always in a good mood. I'm not quite sure where Jim was from originally, I think Kansas. He took me on several trips, once to Mexico and we stopped in Oklahoma where he had friends. He even took me to New York where I met his friend, Bradbury Thompson, a famous graphic Designer.
I had some down time at the studio and did a painting of a desert scene with a little red Ford in it. Jim loved it and took it to the art director of Ford Times magazine and they bought it. They also said that they would buy every painting that I did with that little old red Ford in it. This was my first big break in the business and it led to a lot of advertising illustration work. Ford Times was seen by most of the art directors in Detroit and it was great publicity for me. I did work for Ford Times for many years.
I left Allied Artists in 1951 and worked for several other art studios before I began freelancing. Sometime in the late 1960's Jim contacted me again and we started doing a lot of projects together. Jim was now working at the Premier Corporation as the advertising manager for several companies that they owned. Above is an ad that I designed for ARA, I also did the painting used in the ad.
Tenna-Tech is a company in Tennessee that I designed this brochure for. Jim could easily visualise my quick roughs and approved the layout. The company's airplane flew Jim and I down to Tennessee where I took photos for the brochure.
Here is the cover of the brochure, I also designed the logo used of the cover.
More rough layouts of the interior pages.
A finished spread with some of the photos that I took.
I had a great time working with Jim. He even sent me to Japan on an assignment. Premier was starting to raise Black Angus cattle in Japan and I was sent there on the cargo plane that was full of cattle. I had to shoot photos of the unloading operation when we arrived. They even sent my wife along, but on a regular airliner. Needless to say, Jim Donahue was a great mentor as well as a wonderful client. I've had a lot of luck in this business, but Jim was the best of the best.