Charles Dana Gibson was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts to a politically active family in 1867. His father was a Civil War Lieutenant and an amateur artist. During a childhood illness, Gibson’s father showed him how to make silhouettes of people and animals. At the age of 12, Gibson entered and won a local art competition. Recognizing his early talent, his parents enrolled him in New York’s Art Students League. After two years of study, he sold his first pen and ink sketch to John Ames Mitchell at Life magazine. It was a cartoon of a dog baying at the moon. Mitchell did not think the work was well executed, but felt the artist had honesty and courage and gave him a chance.
Gibson steadily improved. He sold work to other major magazines and was called on to illustrate books as well. By 1889, he had saved enough to go to Europe to study there. He came back in 1890 to contribute regularly to a number of publications, including a weekly submission to Life. Gibson’s most celebrated figure, the Gibson Girl, had her early appearances in Life around this time. She was a beautiful, confident, athletic, thoroughly modern woman. She was kind but did not suffer fools gladly. She epitomized the turn-of-the-century American ideal of a truly American aristocracy. Not only was she immensely popular, she soon became a marketing bonanza and appeared on a wide variety of items, even wallpaper.
Gibson married Irene Langhorne in 1895. His elegant new bride and her sister, Nancy Astor, served as inspiration for his ever popular Gibson Girls. But even before the end of World War I, the Gibson Girl’s popularity was fading and began to be replaced by John Held’s Flapper, a more modern and fun-loving woman.
Though best know for his cartoons of beautiful women and befuddled men, Gibson also drew cartoons that addressed social and political issues of the day. He and Mitchell were fiery, pro-American war advocates, trying to push the country into World War I as early as 1914.
When John Ames Mitchell died in 1918, Gibson bought the magazine for $1 million. By then, the publishing world had changed, encompassing a cruder and more cynical outlook. Life’s clean fun format caused it to struggle to compete. Even though Gibson managed to hire the most talented authors, artists, and editorial staff, the magazine continued to lose popularity. The New Yorker, publishing its first issue in 1925, copied much of the best of Life’s style and format, and wooed away much of its editorial and art staff. Gibson retired, turning Life over to publisher, Clair Maxwell, and treasurer, Henry Richter. By that time, the magazine had gone from a weekly to a monthly.
Gibson was the president of Society of Illustrators in the 1910s. During World War I, he headed a government agency that produced war posters. On his retirement, he began painting in oil. He died in 1944.
Charles Dana Gibson’s work is part of our digital project on the Images of Life. To see more, go to the Images of Life site. We also have a few books on Gibson such as The Gibson book: a collection of the published works of Charles Dana Gibson and we have a great collection of Life magazines with Gibson’s work.
August 18th, 2011
We promised animation in the Digital Library Collections and we have made some progress! We scanned several collections of animation drawings from the Don Bluth Collection and had Robin Miller in the VRC create .MOV files of the drawings. We may not have animated them with an X-sheet, but they still look great! We wanted students to see movement and effects without all of the distraction of amazing colors and beautiful backgrounds. Of course, Animation students are a picky bunch, so Work Study Student, Alex Blair, has done some tweaking to make the movement a little more in line with what the animator would have wanted.
Take a look at some quick animated drawings from Banjo the Woodpile Cat, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, and The Secret of NIMH. There are examples of both character and effects animation. In order to more fully understand the animation, we also provided PDFs of the collection of drawings. It is possible to see each drawing individually to see how the animator accomplished the action. It is surprising to see what was left to the viewer’s eye to fill in.
We have also added layouts, model sheets, and storyboards, as well as concept art. There are some great storyboards from Titan AE. We will continue to add content as we have time. Plans include some storyboards from The Secret of NIMH. If you have a favorite piece or series of pieces from the Bluth Collection, let us know and we will try to have it scanned and added.
SCAD Libraries is proud to announce the Savannah College of Art and Design Digital Collections! For the last year we have been working on a project to provide images and content for a variety of library materials. We now have content in three modules, with exciting ideas to expand in the future. Our next planned module will utilize our amazing Artists’ Book collection from the ACA Library at SCAD Atlanta.
The first module is the Graduate Theses Collection which contains thesis work completed at all SCAD locations from fall 2010 forward and includes both written and visual components. This project will not only provide the public a sense of the richness of graduate work done at SCAD, but will also present timely models of what a graduate thesis should address for MFA candidates. The collection is organized by thesis title.
The Special Collections Department has provided content for the two other modules in the Digital Collections. The first is the Don Bluth Collection of Animation. This collection came to the Savannah College of Art and Design as a donation from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman in fall of 2005. The collection consists of cels, animation drawings, storyboards, color models, and other materials created by Don Bluth Productions and later incarnations of this company in the creation of animated features and video games between 1979 and 2004.
Though the processing of the collection will continue for many years, materials already processed are available to researchers now. Presented in the Digital Collections are selections from various animated features, concepts, and video games in the collection. The materials are divided by feature titles. Our future plans include adding more animated clips from animation drawings. We hope to include great examples of both character and effects animation in the future.
The second Special Collections module is the Images of Savannah. Savannah is a city rich in history and beautiful architecture. Photographers have been capturing views of the city for the tourist trade and for commercial purposes since the beginning of photography. The Savannah College of Art and Design collects images of the city and environs in various forms such as stereographs, postcards, slides, and other formats. Images from several collections are presented here, providing a cross-section of time.
The stereographs date from the 1870s, postcards from the 1900s, and photographs and slides are more recent. The images have been divided into categories, such as Aerial Views, Churches, Downtown Buildings, Hotels, and Schools, for ease of discovery. Our future plans include adding images from some of our photography collections. This will provide researchers important insights into how Savannah has changed over time.
To find the collections, you could follow the links in the blog post, but it is probably easier to remember to go the Libraries’ website to follow the links. Open the library catalog’s web interface. Underneath the SCAD Library logo in the top left corner you will find tabs. Select the second tab, Databases. When you click on it, you will see some linked options. Select Databases by Title, the first option. You will get an alphabetical title list of our databases. The three modules can be found in this list. Once you get into the Digital Collections Database, you can navigate in a couple of ways. You can use browse the titles in each collection. The contents of each collection are displayed in an alphabetical list with a thumbnail. To view an item, just click on it. If you want to see a larger image, just click on the image on the record page. You can also use the search box at the top of the page to search across one collection or all collections. We hope you will have as much fun using this collection as we had creating it!
June 24th, 2008
Benny Andrews gave SCAD a very nice small collection of articles and exhibit brochures, which have been processed into the Benny Andrews Collection, MS 011. The collection included several books, including one about his father: The Dot Man: George Andrews of Madison, Georgia by J. Richard Gruber, published by the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia in 1997. The book has been cataloged and is shelved in Special Collections. It is probably not a well known book, and the older Andrew’s art is worth a closer look, full of life, exuberance, and symbolism, with a touch of humor, also. We requested that the Visual Resource Center scan some of the images from the book and place them in their Image Database for SCAD students, faculty, and staff. You must be logged into MySCAD to access the SCAD Digital Image Database. When you arrive at their Image Search screen, Type in George Andrews under Artist’s Name and type in Benny Andrews under Archive Source. You should receive 10 results.
There is a wonderful article in Art Journal, Volume 53, Number 1, Spring 1994 on page 22, where George Andrews is interviewed by his son, Benny. It can be found in the library’s database, JSTOR. George Andrews, known as “the Dot Man,” was born in 1911 in Plainview, Georgia, of Scottish, Cherokee, and African ancestry. His interest in art began when he was very young. He left school to work in the fields of his father’s plantation, drawing in the evenings when he returned home. He married Viola Perryman and the couple had ten children. Viola was a writer and it seems the family was full of talent. A family art exhibit entitled Art of the Family: Benny Andrews and Nene Humphrey was organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2000, and featured works from several family members including George
George was known for his love of painting images on barns, which led to a short career as a sign painter. After retiring in the 1950’s, he began painting bright dots on rocks around Madison, Georgia, and soon gained the name, “the Dot Man.” He painted every surface he could and soon he became recognized for his trademark bright colors and dot patterns. His son, Benny Andrews, began supplying him with canvas, which he adapted quite well.
Various Objects, 20th Century, Decorated by George Andrews, photograph from page 27 of The Dot Man: George Andrews of Madison, Georgia.
Look on our exhibits page on George Andrews to see a few more of the images. If you need a better quality image, go to the Visual Resources Center SCAD Digital Image Database. Of course, there are lots more images in the book. You can purchase the book on George Andrews from the Morris Museum of Art’s web site. And, of course, you can always come to Special Collection and take a look!
June 6th, 2008
This spring, Gretchen and I worked on a project with the Myrtle Jones Collections. Myrtle Jones was a local artist with a very distinctive Savannah style. Special Collections holds two collections: one of her papers and one of visual materials. Our project involved rewriting the finding aid for the papers to add content and reorganize it a bit. We think this will facilitate the use of this resource for students and researchers. We added a more extensive biography and processed some materials that had been omitted from the original finding aid. While we had hoped to incorporate the visual materials into this collection as well, we decided it was not feasible at this time. Here is a link to the new finding aid, MS 002, the Myrtle Jones Papers.
We also wanted to make some of the images of her artwork and photography found in the collection of visual materials available to the SCAD community. While Myrtle Jones is well known in Savannah for her artwork, she did not consider herself a photographer. The purpose of her photography was to capture images she could later use as references for her paintings. She took extensive photos of her own paintings, people, places, and events in and around Savannah and also during her travels. She had a good eye and applied all of the elements of composition she used in painting to her photographs. Her images of Savannah are of downtown buildings, the riverfront, the historic district, and Forsyth Park. Her work documents a point in time from the 1970s through the 1990s and offers views of many important buildings prior to renovation.
Our project was a cooperative project with the Visual Resources Center. Gretchen and I selected over 200 slides from the Jones’ collection that were largely of Savannah residences and downtown buildings. With the help of Elvira Sanchez-Kisser, Gretchen scanned the slides and provided metadata for each. The slides were then uploaded into the Visual Resource Center’s Image Database. This database is available to all SCAD faculty, students, and staff from the library’s webpage. You must also be logged into MySCAD to access the SCAD Digital Image Database. When you arrive at their Image Search screen, select Architecture / Topography under Category and type in Myrtle Jones under Archive Source. You should receive 87 (or more, when we add more slides) results, many with multiple slides.
There are a number of houses, mostly from the historic district, and also a number of images of squares, the Savannah River front, the Roundhouse and railroad depot, and a number of historic buildings in the downtown area. Jones did not always convey the locations of the images on the slide. It took a great deal of detective work on Gretchen’s part to locate some of these. We hope in the near future to expand the Myrtle Jones entries in the database to include images of her artwork as well. To give you a small taste, we have included some images under exhibits.