#71 Ring & Ring


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Amper Fans meet Apple Fans

Today’s the day everyone’s been waiting for (unless you’re an Android or Windows fan—ha ha Windows fan sounds kinda funny, doesn’t it)…



No, that’s not an iPhone. It’s my cracked, scuffed, worn, tortured, broken Blackberry Curve 6310 that I’ve had for 8 or 9 years.  Think I’m ready for a new phone?

Believe it or not, it still works. (It has to, it’s the only phone I’ve got.) I’ll tell you more about this Badassberry—the phone that won’t quit—in my “chaz sez” column below. It’s been a workhorse, but I am so ready for a brand new iPhone—and finally the iPhone 6 has the one feature I’ve been holding out for, a larger screen. (I’ve also been crossing my fingers it will come in grey or black, and sure enough it does.)

Remember before answering machines (remember answering machines, which were before voicemail?) the phone used to ring & ring & ring & ring & ring, sometimes 10 or 20 times? Really annoying if you had an idea who was calling and you didn’t want to speak to them.

Well, the iPhone 6 has been announced, but we’ll have to wait & wait & wait & wait & wait until it’s acutally available. I’ve waited 9 years for a new phone so I guess I can wait a few months longer.

phone colors adIf you’re wondering what all the colors are in this AmperArt piece, “Ring & Ring,” those are the colors telephones came in while I was a kid in the 1950s and 60s. Up until then they came in any color, as Mr. Ford would say of the Model T, as long as it was black. The new, modern colors were exciting, instantly modernizing and adding a touch of glamour to any living room, bedroom or kitchen. This ad announces all the new phone colors.


princess-phone-pink-rotarySMShortly after the new colors, along came the Princess phone (that was in my mom’s or sister’s bedroom, of course, although I don’t recall if it was pink or turquoise).




black pushbutton phone

But the most revolutionary concept, that which changed the world of telephony, was the push-button phone. That allowed all sorts of wonderful new applications, including automated customer service department selections that usually disconnected the call. (I always just press 0 for a live operator, although that usually disconnects the call as well or recycles back to the main menu). Then cordless phones were the next big thing.

single-brickAfter that, of course, cellular phones were all the rage, and anyone who owned one was an instant celebrity. For decades they were first novelties, then accessories, and today they have replaced the home phone for several households. For many solo entrepreneurs such as myself, the cell phone is our main business phone, along with Skype.

I know, I know…this AmperArt release coincides with the iPhone 6 release and it was planned that way, so why haven’t I even mentioned the Shiny New Toy? Because you’ll be hearing enough about it on the on the news, on the Internet, at Starbucks, and from your geek colleagues. You might even be at an Apple store placing your order right now.

Ah, the simpler days when all the instructions for using your new phone were printed on a single sheet of paper…

dial telephone instructions


listen up!Why do I still have a Blackberry Curve where I can’t read half the screen; the earpiece doesn’t work so I have to use it only on speaker; the trackball fell out once and until I found it weeks later (right under my chair) I had to do everything with the keypad, which meant no scrolling (now it’s taped in place); and I have to pull the battery out to charge it because the usb jack is all screwed up? Oh yeah, and it’s held together with duct tape?

Because it still works—and I’ve been waiting for an iPhone that has all the features I want, including a nice big screen. Oh yeah, and the price. Other bills came first. The new iPhone 6 Plus is exactly what I want, and the old Beastberry probably won’t hold out much longer.

Which means I’m going to get the iPhone 6 Plus for sure (and all its 128g), so I better get back to work right now to afford it.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: What font? This is hand-lettered, just like ads were created back in the 1960’s (unless you could find a decent script in Fototype).
Colors: Sampled from period telephone ads and adjusted according to memory
Ad: classicrotaryphones.com
Princess phone: playingintheworldgame.files.wordpress.com
Black pushbutton phone: unmeshpatil.blogspot.com/
Brick: bodyshapestyle.com
Instructions: teachingliteracy.tumblr.com


#64 Ketchup & Mustard

64 Ketchup & Mustard

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Do you say Ketchup & Mustard or Mustard & Ketchup?

Either way, it’s what most people squirt on their Hamburgers & Hot Dogs (yes, another AmperArt title—or is it Hot Dogs & Hamburgers?) during Labor Day weekend, which to many sadly signals the end of summer. (Actually, summer ends on September 21, so we still have a few weeks of “official summer sun” left.)

I wanted to use the more popular phrase, so I Googled both. K&M brought up more than M&K, but to substantiate the results I tried a few other searches and came up with…

1. A marketing company

There’s a marketing company called Ketchup+Mustard” but not one called the opposite. By the way, the plus sign is actually an uber-abbreviated ampersand—see the demonstration here. The company can be found at ketchup-and-mustard.com.

2. A cafe

Another discovery where “mustard” gets second billing adds a little spice (er, condiment) to this story is where the first word isn’t “ketchup” but rather “catsup.” It’s Corey’s Catsup & Mustard Burger Bar, Manchester, Connecticut (website). What’s that spelling all about? My friend and fellow artist Marty Katon says it’s “catsup” in Michigan, too. (For incredible wildlife and still life oil paintings—including ripe tomatoes—and a wonderful story about the artist, visit katonart.com).

marty katon stilllife

Still life by Marty Katon, www.katonart.com.

I recall seeing “catsup” here and there as we grew up in Southern California, but still pronounced it “ketchup.” According to Wikipedia, “catsup” is a failed attempt to Anglicize “ketchup,” but remains the prominent term in some southern US states. It has also been spelled “catchup.” You can see the spelling “catsup” on an old Heinz bottle here; look at the upper right image.

There’s a fun article about ketchup vs. catsup, along with a mid-century ad featuring Hunt’s Catsup, on this blogfoodiggity.com Then search “ketchup” on the site and you’ll find several other fun articles. Or just look through the whole website and have a good chuckle.

3. A bottle of both

ketch-must-mixThe hands-down decision for naming this piece of art Ketchup & Mustard, not Mustard & Ketchup, is attributed to a product that combines both in one bottle. It’s called  Ketchup & Mustard, invented by a college student. Read about Raymond Joyner’s product here.

Then I found another invention that mixes ketchup & mustard together, made by Kramerica Industries. Wait a minute—that’s Kramer of Seinfeld! It’s a just-for-fun poster which you can see at seinfood.com.

It’s settled: “Ketchup & Mustard” is more common, so that’s what I’ve titled this piece.

Of course, if you only like one or the other—or if you prefer Jack’s Secret Sauce on your hamburger—this research is totally irrelevant.

What does 57 stand for?

heinz-ketchup-old-bottleThe iconic “57 Varieties” slogan (it’s in the little pickle on the label) was born in 1896 after Henry Heinz saw a billboard in New York advertising “21 Styles of Shoes.” He was inspired by the use of numbers and even though there were more than 60 varieties at the time, he chose the number 57.

For more history about Heinz, including when ketchup was called catsup—look at the bottle in the upper right—here’s an interesting timeline.

Mustard, mustard & more mustard

So far, we’ve talked only about ketchup. There are of course several variations of ketchup flavors (and colors, including green, pink & teal to appeal to the kids–all discontinued in 2006), but the variety of ketchup doesn’t begin to compare to all the different types & flavors & consistencies (& prices) of  mustard

There is no other place to discover how many mustard varieties exist than at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. Begin by visiting this list of 5000 mustards on the website. Ironically, the only brand I didn’t see was that staple of the hot dog, French’s classic yellow. Several French mustards, but no French’s.

Why did founder Barry Levenson open a mustard museum? As he explains, you can blame it all on the Boston Red Sox. In the wee hours of October 28, 1986, after his favorite baseball team had just lost the World Series, Barry was wandering an all-night supermarket looking for the meaning of life. As he passed the mustards, he heard a voice: If you collect us, they will come. He did and they have.

This site and museum is for the true mustard connoisseur (I’m just an amateur but I really do love my stone-ground mustards and fresh ground pepper). The link above takes you just to the huge mustard list; this takes you to the home page: mustardmuseum.com

The museum even sponsors a National Mustard Day on the first Saturday in August. It has raised thousands of dollars for local charity. There’s a mustard newsletter you can subscribe to, also.

I want to visit the National Mustard Museum to see all the mustards and mustard jars…and to hear Barry play the accordion!

In case you’re wondering, as I was, whether there’s a ketchup museum, there is, sort of: heinzhistorycenter.org

hotdogflashdriveIs this cute or what? It’s a thumb drive, and you might be able to find one online.

listen up!

To me, ketchup should be in a glass bottle that requires a bout of pounding and patience. That’s part of the ritual.

Same goes for mustard: needs to be a glass jar, if for nostalgia alone. Besides, I think the mustard was thicker. I miss that squatty French’s mustard jar with the acorn shape. If you have one, hold onto it. They don’t exist at all on the Web, except for one I found that was empty: emptyfrenchmustjar

Standing the new plastic bottles upside down with the labels right side up just looks odd. But I have to admit it’s convenient when I’m in a hurry. I’m sure my sister loves the easy squirt bottles—she likes ketchup on everything, including a fine steak! Just today she taught me if you tap on the little pickle on the label the ketchup flows right out. That’s good to know, but where to you find a tall, glass ketchup bottle today, Sis?

Tip: I’m not a ketchup hound—not the way I like mustard and pepper—but I do appreciate a quality ketchup. Recently I tried “Simply Heinz” premium ketchup, which is just that—simple ingredients with no preservatives. It does taste better.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Gill Sans
Ampersand: Copperplate Gothic, modified to resemble the typography on Heinz labels
Colors: Red & yellow sampled from actual ketchup & mustard specimens; green border sampled from a Heinz label border
Still life: Marty Katon, www.katonart.com
Ketchup & mustard in one bottle: lazyray.moonfruit.com
Ketchup bottle: Heinz.com
Thumb drive: hotdogprofits.com
Empty mustard bottle: unknown


#66 Plain & Simple

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Everything about this release is plain & simple. Just like it says.

Not even the usual long-winded article. A thoughtful gesture for those of you who skip reading the story but feel guilty afterwards.

There’s no “chaz sez” column, either.  And you know how much I love standing on my soapbox. (I would expound on the virtues of professional, world-class design—in plain & simple terms, of course.)



#65 Black & Blue


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My favorite colors are black & “charlie blue.”

Black is actually my very favorite color & yes, it is a color. (See “chaz sez” below.) “Charlie blue,” as my friends know it, is anything between Crayola Blue Green to cerulean to turquoise to cyan (one of the four printing ink colors). AmperArt #65, Black & Blue, features CBG as I call it, cyan, and one other blue which I’ll get to later. All my favorite blues are somewhere in-between CBG and cyan.

I am not fond of sky blue, navybaby blue nor royal blue. They are cold. (Yes, I know, my very favorite color—black—is definitely freezing. But we’re talking blue here.)

There is a very deep blue that does tingle my color bone. That’s cobalt blue. My first memory of that color is my father’s blue cuff links. Also the knob on his steering wheel to help turn the tires before power steering (that accessory became illegal because when the steering wheel snapped back the knob could remove a finger or two). & the cool red tail lights with the blue dot in the middle, which created a magical color effect.  They’re popular again today but I remember the originals on my dad’s 1950-something automobile. Probably no other recollection of cobalt blue is stronger for me than the bottle of Vicks VapoRub. That stuff felt ice-cold as the color of the bottle it was packaged in. I’m also partial to cobalt blue because it is the favorite color of my mother and my brother Rob. So that is the other blue in this AmperArt piece.


Just looking at this Vicks jar opens my sinuses! Other products in cobalt blue bottles were Noxzema, Phillips Milk of Magnesia (sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?), Bromo Seltzer, Nivea and Blue Coral.

In fairness to navy, royal blue, sky blue & all those that are not my favorites, combine them with various other colors & they create outstanding color schemes. Of course, the same could be said for poop brown.

I am releasing #65 Black & Blue during the playful days of summer, because that’s when I recall we’d get the most bruised up falling off our bikes, skateboards, or just playing in the backyard. I did, anyway. I was a real klutz. Still can’t ride a skateboard.

listen up! Black is a color! Not the absence of color, nor the combination of all colors. It is color. So is white. So why do people say it’s all the colors or no color? Because they don’t know the definition of color. “Color” means the description of the hue, value & tone. Pure yellow is a color that has a hue somewhere between orange & green on the color wheel, a very light value (high-key, or very bright compared to very dark such as navy blue), & minimal tone (grayishness; mauve & sage green have medium tone).

The color black is defined by no hue (red, yellow, blue, etc.), the darkest value, & zero tone. White is defined by no hue, the lightest value, & zero tone. So you see, black & white have no hue & no tone, but they are both colors.

If you want to have some fun with all the other colors, check out the Crayola website, especially the history & the Crayola Experience where kids (including big kids) get to play & create among all things Crayola, & see how they are made. If you can’t make it to the factory in Easton, Pennsylvania, watch this video: How Crayolas Are Made.

I love Crayolas. (I won’t use any other brand; the colors aren’t as pure, they’re waxy & they just aren’t Crayola.) I remember when the box of 64 premiered, with the awesome Built-In Sharpener. I probably have the few stubs that are left of my original set somewhere, but today I have The Ultimate Crayola Collection—152 different colors!—on my desk. I use them frequently, & always to sign important legal documents. For that task, of course, it’s Crayola Blue Green.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Lettering: Hand-lettered by Chaz DeSimone
Colors: Cyan, cobalt blue, Crayola Blue Green & black
Vicks ad: flickr.com/photos/28153783@N08/ “SaltyCotton” has nearly 2000 photos of vintage ads in pristine condition. An ad designer’s or collector’s eye candy overload!
Vicks jar: Joe Corr on pinterest.com/pin/274930752225672732/ and etsy.com/shop/owlsongvintage Beautiful collectibles and antiques.