Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


The Art of Art Instruction Inc. Draw Me! Free Talent Test! Vintage Matchbook Cover Art

Do you like to draw?  Do you like to draw "do you like to draw" ads?  I presume millions saw these masterpieces of matchbook art.  I have no idea how many took the time to squeeze their name onto the address section inside, but "Art Instruction Inc." is still in business after 100 years.  With the demise of the matchbook (their former audience is literally dying off...you don't need a match for a vapor cigarette) they must advertise somewhere else. There is a pull-down menu on their website to indicate "How you heard about Art Instruction Schools" but matchbook isn't among the options.  If you did apply because you saw one of these mid-century beatnik-like ads, you would have to choose the "other" selection on the form.

One does not "attend" as the "school" is a correspondence program.  Fake colleges have made a comeback…real college is increasingly out of reach for those who need it most.  Who enrolls?  Well, they generally do not accept students UNDER 14.  What?  Until you are 14 years of age, I guess they want you to practice and apply when you've reached puberty. Another portion of the website says their students start as young as 13 and well into their 80s.


Back in the old days, if one filled out a matchbook, they would likely be surprised by a jalopy-driving salesman at their door to close the deal.  They still have salesman dropping in, circling their allocated territory like Google mapping cars.  The program still employs  representatives who make scheduled appointments to obtain a signature in person. 

Their honor student was Charles Schultz.  He figures on the webpage today as a grateful student and actually taught there for a while…but he hardly grew beyond drawing circles.  I have seen Stephen Colbert draw a reasonable Snoopy, and I don't believe he attended. Other alumni include an editorial cartoonist, a Lucas film illustrator, a fashion illustrator, a wildlife artist or two (winner of the Federal Duck Stamp contest) and a set designer for Cecil B. Demille.  Pretty impressive…until one considers that is their 100 year track record.  Peanuts.

From what I can tell, the program costs $4285.00 (27 monthly payments of $150.00) plus the cost of postage to mail your work back and forth to headquarters.  They seem to have mail drops in every state.  I wondered about their policy on dropping out, and sure enough the program provides it on the website, state by state.  Here is the policy I would have:

State: Michigan
Cancelation Policy:
When Notice of Withdrawal is given: After five calendar days but before beginning training - a registration fee of 20% of the total tuition, not to exceed $200.00. After beginning of training - $200.00 registration fee plus 10% of the balance of the total tuition until 10% of the assignments are completed. After completing 10% of the assignments but prior to completing 25% of the assignments - $200.00 registration fee plus 25% of the balance of the total tuition. After completing 25% of the assignments but prior to completing 50% of the assignments - $200.00 registration fee plus 50% of the balance of the total tuition. After completing 50% of the assignments the full course price will be due.
Days no Responsibility: 5 days
Type: Percent - Cancel up to 50%
Registration Fee: $200.00

Can you draw?  Maybe the question should be Can you READ.  I can't figure it out.  It appears some 95% or so complete the program.

I have been interested in "self-taught" artists for decades.  There is no telling how many artists the school nurtured (or ruined) over the years, but I might have seen some of their work in antique malls.  There used to be category of artist known as "Sunday Artists" but the Art Instruction Inc. is open every day of the week. 


Details of matchbook advertising circa 1950 - 1960.  Original matchbooks collection Jim Linderman 

Patriotic Poontang Pinup Tear off a Piece! War Bond Sign from World War Two makes it HOT

Patriotic Poontang Pinup Tear off a Piece!  War Bond Sign from World War Two makes it HOT!

Well, it is nice to see a World War Two Pinup who isn't Betty Grable...but my guess is that this risque folk art painting disturbed some of the folks on the home front.  It is working though...more than halfway to the goal!  The small text reads "Buy Bonds and make it HOT for the Japanazis.  

I had no idea the phrase "tear off a piece" went back that far.  It goes back to the 19th Century.  "A phrase denoting seduction or sexual achievement from the male point of view" but raising money was at the time was more important than good taste, I guess.

This isn't the first "piece" of risque WW2 ephemera I've seen.  Here is a set of sexy patriotic pins I presume were worn by USO women helping serve the boys.  PIN ME DOWN SAILOR! 
Snapshot circa 1943 Pinup Bond campaign and Patriotic Pins Collection Jim Linderman courtesy Curley's Den of Antiquities  

Real Photo Post Cards of Wegner's Rocks in Sparta WI

A stone birthday cake topped with wedding photographs welcomes you to the creations of Mr. Wegner.  An American flag made from shards of colored glass.  A replica of the ocean liner which brought Paul and Matilda Wegner to America.  All circa 1925 - 1935 creations built in the yard to attract visitors.  Automobiles were becoming common, but what the hell was there to drive to?  Wegner's Garden.  The couple did not allow photographs, choosing rather to sell real photo postcards to visitors.  There are 24 different images known, here are four of them.  It is good to remember real photos were more commerce than art.  A photographer or "publisher" would print as many as he though would sell.

Real Photo Postcards of the Wegner Grotto..  circa 1930 - 1935 Collection Jim Linderman

A Folk Art Stone Head in Georgia or South Carolina

Two heads in between Columbus GA and Fairfax SC.  Original snapshot circa 1935?  
Colection Jim Linderman

Original Hand Drawn Rebus Parlor Cards Game 19th Century HARD

Original hand drawn REBUS cards dated 1895.  From a large set.  VERY hard to solve, but I will give you the first one...Bonaparte.  Collection Jim Linderman 

Polaroid Dummys! Vintage snapshots of Ventriloquist Heads

Original Polaroid Dummys!  Vintage snapshots of Ventriloquist Heads circa 1975 
Collection Jim Linderman. 

Antique Folk Art Primitive Black Hawk Weathervane

Antique Folk Art Primitive Weathervane apparently based on the Black Hawk model. 19th century, Original paint with hand painted embellishment of flowers.  28 inches long.  
Collection Jim Linderman

Frank Carmichael and his Stable Ft. Worth Pimp and Prostitute Mug Shot Set Human Trafficking Texas Style

Frank Carmichael and his prostitutes, one of whom is his wife Johnye Faye Carmichael.  She was arrested at least twice, two years apart.  Also shown is Matilda Tingle.  Human Trafficking Texas Style.   Original Mug Shots 1955 - 1957 Collection Jim Linderman. 

Vintage Fashion Drawings by Gerry Van Hovel

Geraldine Van Hovel was born in 1933 and made these drawings as a young teenager in Ohio.  Several members of her family were adept artists.  She eventually became a kindergarten teacher in Salem, Ohio and married notable artist and cartoonist Edmund (Ed) Sullivan jr. who drew cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines.  

Circa 1945 - 1947 Fashion Drawings (and snapshot of the artist at work) Collection Jim Linderman

19th Century Folk Art Remembrance Drawing Urn of Flowers Antique Folk Art Momento

As the note reads: Drawn by a little boy for (?) when she went to school.  
19th Century Folk Art Drawing. Collection Jim Linderman

African-American Yard Art Photographs taken by Jim Linderman

Southern African-American Yard Art by Robert Howell, J. P Scott and Royal Robertson.  Photographs by Jim Linderman circa 1990 - 1993. 

Pair of Matching Antique Folk Art Painted Trade Signs Maine circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman

Pair of Matching Antique Folk Art Painted Trade Signs  Maine circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman. The only time I have seen a FLOOR SANDER in a folk art painting or an advertisement for same.   Both for a Maine painter and contractor.

Bill Guernsey's Pinup Painted Duffel Bag Pacific Theater of World War Two

More than a handful of cartoonists, animators and artists of the 20th century got their start painting on duffel bags during World War Two.  They often traded their skills for cigarettes and other essentials.  We will likely never know who painted the pinup on Wild Bill's bag, but he did a fair job.  Bill Guernsey kept track of his travels on the bag, and his visits to unfamiliar islands read like an index to the Pacific.  From Guadalcanal to Guam.  

Interestingly, the duffel bag continued being a part of popular culture after the war.  Surviving soldiers who stayed in the Pacific after serving their country took up surfing, and the bags were soon as much associated with the sport as the war. 

Hand painted and decorated World War Two Duffel Bag, circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Female Scarecrow Folk Art collection Jim Linderman

Two creepy men meet the new scarecrow at night.

Snapshot of an antique female scarecrow, circa 1930?  Collection Jim Linderman

The Giant Folk Art Duck Sculpture

Real Photo Postcard depicts the ORIGINAL black duck statue in Black Duck, MN.  The one standing now is a replacement, but this fellow was first.  He was replaced with a "better" one in 1942.  RPPC circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

South Road Art and Antiques Susan Wechsler Color and Whimsy

The colorful objects shown all come from the inventory of Susan Wechsler, a seller of objects from beautiful to funky.  You'll see this color and excitement from South Road Art and Antiques all the time...Susan attributes her sensibility to growing up in the seaside carnival environment of Ashbury Park, NJ.   Susan selected a few wonderful pieces to share for this post.

Susan Wechsler is the former director of Photosearch Inc., a photo editing firm that specialized in art, history, and popular culture.  Artist, art critic, author and specialist in contemporary American ceramics, she also taught at Parsons The New School for Design, and in the Cooper Hewitt Masters Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design.  Her professional life helped hone her eye for art and objects with graphic appeal and direct, honest beauty.  As you can see, she favors whimsical, sometimes nostalgic but always authentic heartfelt creations of folks gone by as well as recent works by prominent self-taught artists.
In addition to her elegant barn/gallery in the Hudson Valley, Susan sells in shops and does shows in the Northeast.  The SOUTH ROAD ART and ANTIQUES WEBSITE is a place I visit regularly.