The Art and Flair of Mary Blair.
October 21, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Trippy stuff.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2007

Huh. On seeing this I thought I had a book by her but it turns out to be one Ruth Ruhmann. I also recall a Reaktor synth by Kev Hopper that has similar artwork. Guess it was a popular style back in the day - maybe this Mary Blair originated it?
posted by fleetmouse at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2007

Great post. The train is fabulous! and you just can't beat informational film clips from the 50s/60s. I can even forgive Blair for designing "Small World" since she's not responsible for the song.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2007

Cool post!
posted by chillmost at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2007

Wonderful post dgbellak. Kindergarten books came back in a rush of memory of tartan blankie naps on the floor and cubbies. Never knew her name all this time. Her work is iconic.
posted by nickyskye at 9:44 AM on October 21, 2007

Indisputable greatness.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:12 AM on October 21, 2007

Mary Blair is fantastic. Next time you're on "Small World," keep an eye out for doll designed in homage to Blair, including her trademark accessories.
posted by Curry at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2007

fleetmouse, it's interesting to see other instances of that drawing style. It probably is an ape of Mary Blair's, but drawing's probably not her best contribution. She was a colorist above all. All being...practically everyone.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2007

I love Mary Blair! But what bums me out is that her family/estate was apparently selling limited edition prints of her work through as recently as six months ago -- but that website no longer exists and has been taken over by a linkfarm! Damn. Anyone know where to get prints of her work, besides getting lucky on eBay?

Speaking of eBay, I just bought a slightly banged up copy of her 1950's Golden Book "Baby's House" from there (you can see scans of the artwork here) and am planning on cutting some of the prints out of the book and framing them for the wall of my coming-soon offspring's room. Also on eBay right now is a great "Peter Pan" glicee print she did.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2007


here's a bit on chouinard fwiw :P
posted by kliuless at 12:13 PM on October 21, 2007

Her work is really amazing, and it's interesting to see how many illustrators and animation designers working now have been influenced by her design and color sense. And that Small World ride-- Holy Mother of Christ!!! The first time I rode that thing I went in expecting the most saccharin, smarmy 15 minutes of my life and it turned out to be the most mind blowing color and motion explosion this side of an acid trip. It's like being trapped in Mary Blair's head, a la Being John Malchovich, for the duration. (It's also like a whacked out museum of out of date national stereotypes, which makes it even stranger.)
posted by maryh at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Some posts are really worth going through thoroughly. Have had such fun going through this one a few times, really checking out all the links.

On that great Flickr set, there's a wonderful geometry to her work that combines order and chaos at the same time. Really interesting to look at in ways that are unusual for children's book illustrations.

The Walt Disney one, where he's giving a tour of the studio with Mary Blair at work, seems so condescending to her somehow. Anyone know the scoop on what he was like to work for?
After watching that vid on YouTube I couldn't help clicking on the other Mary Blair videos there. Love that little train one with that peppy retro music.
posted by nickyskye at 4:51 PM on October 21, 2007

Anyone know the scoop on what he was like to work for?

Most of the time, whenever a researcher tries to find any dirt to answer this question with, the results are somewhat apocryphal. Walt wasn't kind to women animators through the 30's and didn't offer any creative work to them. Fortunately, that changed in the 40's, probably due to WWII. Walt wasn't the most open-minded, embracing individual, and his dark side (the extent of which we may never know) probably included some chauvinism.
posted by dgbellak at 5:23 PM on October 21, 2007

Thanks for the excellent response dgbellak.

Reading the Wikipedia entry, Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, I disagree with the writer's statement, "cynical modern public's taste for the darker side of cultural icons". I think it's important to know the more complete truth about people, whoever they are and especially if they have a lot of power or are a cultural icon. Not based on cynicism but because one can navigate reality better based on a more thorough understanding.
posted by nickyskye at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2007

The Art and Flair of Mary Blair.

Is this the same thing as The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd?
posted by neuron at 7:22 PM on October 21, 2007

Great idea for a post. I am a big Mary Blair fan.
posted by crinklebat at 9:21 PM on October 22, 2007

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