Art and/or Advertisement

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”

― Banksy

El Pajaro y la Nina by Ray Smith, 2016 Mexico/New York, Material Reclaimed Tires/Poured Concrete
Poydras Street, New Orleans

In the City of New Orleans there is a fantastic arrangement of sculpture along Poydras Street. Walking down and back from my son’s apartment to the Running of the Bulls I took photos of a few of them that I’ll share with you.

I don’t know what I like the best… the sculpture by Ray Smith… or the giant poster for Zatarains.

Brood On Over the Solemn Dumping Ground

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
—-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Love Field Dallas, Texas

Love Field
Dallas, Texas


In a desperate and assuredly ultimately futile effort to get something useful accomplished I have been cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing my office room. To that effect, I bought something from an estate sale – it was marked a dollar, but I bought it on half-off Saturday… so I paid fifty cents.

It’s a bilious cube of cheap turquoise green plastic, with four clear lucite drawers. I have a vision of organizing small parts in these drawers and setting the unit within reach of my work table… when I need some tiny something or other, there it is – rather than spending a tired wasted evening looking in vain, digging through tangled piles of crap, and uncovering, too late, items that I had pursued weeks ago and now find useless while my grail quest goes forever ungratified.

A useless and hopeless vision, I know, but such is life.

One unexpected bonus, though – easily worth the four bits I paid. Inside the thing I discovered an original sales label touting the virtues of the purchase.

It’s a Handi-Chest – made in the U.S.A. By Campro Products, of Canton Ohio. There are four helpful illustrations indicating possible uses:

  • On the dresser for jewelry, notions
  • Mighty handy for sewing supplies and accessories
  • For the office a real “organizer”
  • In the workshop “a place for everything and everything in its place”

So maybe my delusions of adequacy aren’t unique – the thing was designed and constructed (from my best guess, about the time I was born) to meet the same fantasy that still flits around all these long decades later.

I love old postwar advertisements. It was a simpler time – a time of smiling men and women, a time without snark, a time made up of line drawings. It was Mad Men time – the advertising executives thought up this stuff right after their three martini lunches (that might help explain the surreality lurking below the surface) and sent it all off to the Midwest to be extruded, printed, boxed up, and set out on the shelves.


Those were the days.