Be an artist!

Art School: Be an Artist!
You gotta love all those old vintage ads that depict the world of art as nothing but a parade of nude women surrounding male artists all day. Apparently, back in the day, there was a dearth of artists, painters, and local penniless beatniks; so to catch the eye of any budding self-taught "artist" (male, preferrably), what anyone would have to do is show that art=nudity and you'd soon bag many an unsuspecting young man to shell out 10 bucks of their hard-earned money to receive a cheap art course destined for File 13 after about 3 weeks. Poor soul. What were they thinking? Did they even ponder the thought that maybe living an artist's life probably did not mean scantily-clad lasses hanging out at your high-rise apartment 24/7?

No, I guess not. But it is interesting to see that all these types of ads ran ad nauseum throughout the pages of those "men's interest" magazines like Outdoor Adventures, Stag, Flirt, Fury, and Titter, to name a few. I found these two in such a mag from 1955, owned by this freelancer here at work who was going to sell them on eBay. I couldn't scan them (I didn't want to ruin the spine), so I tried my best to take a photo of the pages.

Some are small, barely taking up 2 inches of space, but here's a full-page ad:

You Can Be a Successful Artist

In close up, you can see the typical artist outfit of the time: well-groomed hair, smock and a tie:

Close-up of model and artist

When I showed this image to a fellow Primate who has the same fascination with old books and magazines like I do (and collects about as many as I have, possibly more), he quipped, "Lookit, you know he means business. He's no fly-by-night, shyster dude."

Here's another one posted by dogwelder. Do I like art? Yes, only if nekkid girls are involved.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go and put on my smock and tie while all my female models disrobe for me in unison. Cheers.


  1. Why did I even consider going off to art school when I could have had the art school come to me?!

  2. Just think, Jared, we could've saved thousands of dollars in student loans and grants, too!

  3. Great post, Ward! FYI, I've been accumulating a bunch of these for an upcoming week about the Famous Artists School. Its kind of fascinating that women's magazines of the time did not have these ads (with a different woman-friendly scenario instead of the nude female model) but then, illustration was a "man's job" back in the day and female illustrators were few and far between. There would have been no point in advertising to women!

    Incidentally, the FAS course was so wildly popular that illustrators who were its principles (Albert Dorne, Al Parker, Robert Fawcett, etc.) all became millionaires as a result of their involvement.

    I suspect "The Washington School" was an attempt by a like-minded group to ca$h in on $ome of that $ucce$$.

    L ;-)

  4. Whenever I saw these ads, I thought to myself, "Wow, artists get to wear swanky suits. I want to be one one! Plus, they hang out with girls with fabulous hair."

  5. Honestly, I think these ads all have one thing in common that "Juicy Justin" noted: the artists are wearing ties and suit coats! As far as I'm concerned, this whole sordid business went in the crapperoo the minute people forgot that a t-shirt is supposed to go UNDER a dress shirt. Bah! Humbug!

  6. Ugh! I work for The Art Instruction Schools, which I think is the only correspondence art school...this ads only remind me of work.