#140 Love & Light

140 Love & Light
#140 Love & Light
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Happy Birthday, Diane

Amper­Art #140 is inspired by a gift from my friend, a real­ly cool amper­sand sculp­ture that lights up. She signs her name with the words “Love & Light” which gave this piece its title. But tru­ly, Diane is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of love & light. The back­ground is also inspired by her, as she is always admir­ing cloud for­ma­tions. I am issu­ing Amper­Art #140 Love & Light on Diane L. Donohue’s 60th Birth­day, August 6, 2019.

Her BIG 6‑OH is a real­ly big deal because Diane was not sup­posed to live past 58. At least that’s what the doc­tors said. More about that later.

60 Smart & Strong

Diane L. Dono­hue is the cre­ator of 60 Smart & Strong, a series of pod­casts & the web­site to inspire women & men who are 60 & bet­ter to live their lives to the fullest…like Diane does.

I met Diane less than a year ago (seems I’ve known her all my life, she’s that kind of soul) at a group of aspir­ing artists & writ­ers where I was offer­ing my ser­vices pro bono which I do a cou­ple times a year. She took me up on my offer to design a logo & a web­site. Here is the orig­i­nal sketch, but before I had the chance to refine it too much, she request­ed that I keep it pret­ty much the same, as she likes things “per­fect­ly imperfect.”

Her web­site, 60s​mar​tand​strong​.com, is still being devel­oped but it is live if you want to take a look. (Please sub­scribe & you will be the first to see her series of snap­py, inspir­ing videos.) If noth­ing else you will enjoy her list of “Diane-​isms” to enlight­en & bright­en your life.

Here are just a few:

No excus­es = No regrets

Healthy Thoughts = Healthy Actions

Grat­i­tude is a mag­ic wand that turns every­thing you have…into every­thing you want.

Your bat­ter­ies are in your feet.

You’re not sweat­ing, dar­ling; you’re detoxing!

If you want more ener­gy, eat more ener­gy foods.

I don’t diet, I just don’t buy it.

When life gets mental…you get physical!

If it should­n’t be, it would­n’t be.

The C word

Accord­ing to the doc­tors, Diane was not going to live past August, 2018 — one year ago. But you wouldn’t know any­thing is wrong if you met this amaz­ing lady.  Always smil­ing, upbeat, laugh­ing, giv­ing, she bright­ens every space around her — kind of like that amper­sand lamp she gave me! Diane walks her talk, eat­ing healthy & con­stant­ly exer­cis­ing, teach­ing a strength & car­dio class no less, sev­er­al days a week. All while being ful­ly aware she’s liv­ing with stage 4 breast can­cer, dis­cov­ered six years ago. I have nev­er known any­one so full of love & light as Diane. She’s amaz­ing, embrac­ing life to the fullest & accept­ing death as some­thing just meant to be.

(I refuse to believe she won’t be around anoth­er 10 or 20 years. This world needs peo­ple like her to keep them lov­ing & laugh­ing & smil­ing — and if Diane were to edit this she would add eat­ing right & exercising!)

Happy BIG 6‑OH Diane! 

Wish­ing you Love & Light for many years to come.

 Please comment here.

chaz sez

Want more?
Rants & raves most­ly about design, some­times about the universe.

An occa­sion­al bit of use­ful advice.

Production notes for #140 Love & Light:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: Rockwell

Ampersand: a special gift from a special friend
Clouds image: deposit​pho​tos​.com

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

An excel­lent com­pa­ny, prod­uct or ser­vice needs brand­ing & graph­ic design that is prop­er, per­fect & professional.
Please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#101 One Hundred & One

One Hundred & One

 #101 One Hundred & One
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Do you see spots?

The idea for Amper­Art #101, One Hun­dred & One, was eas­i­er than giv­ing a dog a bone. After strug­gling with a con­cept for #100, this one was fun & easy.

One of my fond­est child­hood mem­o­ries is sit­ting in the Alex The­ater (Glen­dale, Cal­i­for­nia) with my fam­i­ly, enjoy­ing this humor­ous, enter­tain­ing, upbeat movie by Dis­ney, One Hun­dred and One Dal­ma­tions. We sure laughed at the antics of ever-​hungry Rol­ly, the chub­by dal­ma­tion pup­py. Even as a young­ster, I could tell there was some­thing unique & con­tem­po­rary about the styling of the ani­ma­tion. It was sketchy in a con­tem­po­rary fash­ion due to the first-​ever use of scan­ning the pen­cil sketch­es direct­ly onto ani­ma­tion cels with the Xerox process. The col­or was still brushed in by hand between the lines, but the tedious trac­ing of the ani­ma­tors’ pen­cil lines with pen & ink was removed from the process. 

This process could eas­i­ly have been used as an exam­ple for the pre­vi­ous Amper­Art #100, Mile­stones & Goals. But the movie itself is the mile­stone, so I saved the art­work for #101 One Hun­dred & One.

Please comment here.

 Incongruent styles.

One Hundred and One Dalmations Movie PosterI was intrigued by the inno­v­a­tive Xerox process & the sketchy style it ren­dered for this movie. Not only did the rev­o­lu­tion­ary process cre­ate effi­cien­cy, it ren­dered a whole new style of art­work. Research­ing the let­ter­ing for the movie title, I was not so impressed with the col­ors for the poster. While the movie’s styling of char­ac­ters & back­grounds was snap­py & con­tem­po­rary, the poster was not. It was all pri­ma­ry col­ors & a less-​than-​cohesive assem­blage of visu­al ele­ments. But I did go ahead & trace the let­ter­ing (orig­i­nal­ly hand-​drawn) & designed an amper­sand to match, for the Amper­Art #101 One Hun­dred & One edi­tion. The edges of the spots & shad­ows are just slight­ly blurred, to retain the most­ly hard-​edge style (due to tech­ni­cal lim­i­ta­tions) of the period.

If you wish to study the styling of the dal­ma­tions & oth­er char­ac­ters, this thumb­nail will enlarge to a size­able image.

Image shown for ref­er­ence & edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es only. ©Dis­ney 


Many crit­ics boo-​hooed the rough-​hewn look of Dis­ney’s One Hun­dred and One Dal­ma­tions. They said the lush­ness of hand-​inked line had van­ished. Well, yes, it did. But it was replaced by a snap­py new look, akin to jazz vs clas­si­cal. They each have their place, & they each have their fans & fol­low­ers. I real­ly like the look of this film, & the new Xerox process made ani­mat­ing all those spots pos­si­ble. It was the per­fect sto­ry con­cept to make use of the inno­v­a­tive imag­ing tool.

Who is to say ani­ma­tion must be hand-​inked & hand-​painted? Some of the finest ani­ma­tion today has nev­er been near a brush, pen or even acetate cel & it blows away the crude ani­ma­tion of even the finest ear­ly Dis­ney clas­sics. I will admit, though, that I will always pre­fer to watch the orig­i­nal 1938 Snow White & the Sev­en Dwarfs to the most incred­i­ble CGI remake.

 Please comment here.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.

Production notes for #101 One Hundred & One:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
Lettering: Traced from original movie poster
Ampersand: Designed to match style of original movie poster lettering
Movie poster: ©Disney (shown for reference & educational purposes)
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#99 Laurel & Hardy

Click this image to download hi-​rez pdf:

Laurel & Hardy AmperArt

#99 Laurel & Hardy
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Joe RinaudoAmper­Art #99, Lau­rel & Hardy, was inspired by my best friend of fifty years, Joe Rin­au­do, whom I met in sev­enth grade. We were both into “old stuff” — I col­lect­ed & refur­bished old office machines (mimeo­graphs & type­writ­ers) & Joe col­lect­ed 16mm films of ear­ly cin­e­mat­ic com­e­dy — Char­lie Chap­lin, Buster Keaton, the Key­stone Cops, Fat­ty Arbuck­le , & of course Lau­rel & Hardy. I sure had fun going to his house & watch­ing those old films. As a teenag­er he already had a large col­lec­tion of 16mm films, both silent & sound. Lat­er, Joe began invest­ing in 35mm silent films & acquired a Power’s 1909 Cam­er­a­graph Mod­el 6 Motion Pic­ture Machine which he restored to pris­tine con­di­tion. He also became an expert at restor­ing the old films & acquired vast knowl­edge about the ear­ly cin­e­ma industry.

Vis­it SilentCin​e​maSo​ci​ety​.org, Joe’s new web­site for old entertainment.

Today, besides run­ning Rin­au­do’s Repro­duc­tions, his Vic­to­ri­an lamp busi­ness which repro­duces & cus­tom designs superb light­ing fix­tures of the Vic­to­ri­an, Crafts­man & Art Deco peri­ods (you’ll find many of his lamps through­out the Dis­ney parks — yes, those mas­sive chan­de­liers in the Empo­ri­um are his), Joe Rin­au­do con­tin­ues to col­lect, restore, & host itin­er­ant shows of the silent era, as that is his ulti­mate pas­sion. He fre­quent­ly lec­tures & hand-​cranks his beau­ti­ful antique pro­jec­tor at the Acad­e­my of Motion Pic­ture Arts & Sci­ences — to pro­duc­ers, direc­tors & stars, many of whom have lit­tle knowl­edge of how their indus­try start­ed. They are always in awe when Joe presents his shows (in full turn-​of-​the-​century cos­tume, no less). He also hosts small­er itin­er­ant shows, sim­i­lar to when pro­jec­tion­ists would trav­el from town to town where there were no for­mal the­aters & project at a hall, church, or even inside a tent —hence the term “tent show.” Twice a year Joe teams up with able assis­tant Gary Gib­son & organ­ist extra­or­di­naire Dean Mora at the Mighty Wurl­itzer to present a spec­tac­u­lar show com­plete with col­or­ful glass lantern slides at inter­mis­sion (or when the film breaks). This event is held at the Nether­cutt in Syl­mar, Cal­i­for­nia, usu­al­ly in Octo­ber & February.

Most recent­ly Joe has formed an orga­ni­za­tion called Silent Cin­e­ma Soci­ety “for the preser­va­tion & pre­sen­tion of the art & tech­nol­o­gy of silent cin­e­ma.” (It was orig­i­nal­ly named SCAT — Silent Cin­e­ma Art & Tech­nol­o­gy — but we’re still try­ing to obtain that domain.) I had the plea­sure of cre­at­ing Joe’s web­site, SilentCin​e​maSo​ci​ety​.org, where you’ll find most inter­est­ing & enter­tain­ing infor­ma­tion about the art as well as the tech­nol­o­gy of the silent cin­e­ma era. Be sure & sub­scribe to his newslet­ter, “The News­reel,” to learn of upcom­ing silent film shows & news in gen­er­al. (It’s always excit­ing when a 100-​year-​old lost reel is found in a store­room or attic, usu­al­ly pris­tine but so frail that it must be han­dled gen­tly & with the great­est cau­tion, as old nitrate film is spon­ta­neous­ly combustible.)

See Laurel & Hardy in Burbank June 4, 2016

Joe’s upcom­ing Clas­sic Silent Come­dies itin­er­ant show will be held in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia, Sat­ur­day June 4, 2016, at 7pm. Joe will hand-​crank his 1909 Pow­er’s pro­jec­tor as Scott Lasky embell­ish­es each scene with live piano accom­pa­ni­ment. Gary Gib­son will project glass lantern slides of the era. The show is near­ly 2 hours with light refresh­ments for sale. Admis­sion is $10. Full details here.

Joe Rin­au­do is espe­cial­ly excit­ed about this show, fol­low­ing the sur­pris­ing turnout for the show in March. The audi­ence was a live­ly, young crowd inter­est­ed in this old tech­nol­o­gy & art form, the results of pro­mot­ing the event on Face­book. More on that sto­ry here& a bizarre scene of a danc­ing pig.

Adding sound to silent…


Joe Rinaudo playing his American Fotoplayer. Plug your ears!

Although ear­ly films were silent, as in no dia­log or record­ed music, there was plen­ty of sound in most the­aters. Large the­aters employed an orches­tra. Small­er the­aters & those with low­er bud­gets relied on a pho­to­play­er. The pho­to­play­er (“pho­to” from pho­to­play & “play­er” from play­er piano) was built specif­i­cal­ly to pro­vide music & sound effects for silent movies. These machines appeared around 1912 & were used in medi­um sized the­aters. Pho­to­play­ers were inex­pen­sive to oper­ate because you didn’t have to be a musi­cian to play them — they were also playable by way of play­er piano rolls. But the per­son at the bench did change rolls & add the sound effects, as you can see in this demonstration.

Joe Rin­au­do is play­ing his Amer­i­can Foto­play­er in the video above, which was fea­tured on Huell Howser’s Cal­i­for­nia Gold.

The pho­to­play­er used a fas­ci­nat­ing com­bi­na­tion of piano, organ pipes, drums, & var­i­ous sound effects designed to nar­rate the action of any silent film. Ped­als, levers, switch­es, but­tons, & pull cords were all used to turn on the xylo­phone, beat a drum, ring a bell, cre­ate the sound of thun­der, or chirp like a bird.

When sound films came into being in the late 1920’s, the pho­to­play­er became passé. Of the thou­sands of Amer­i­can Foto­play­ers made dur­ing their hey­day, sad­ly less than 50 sur­vive, & of those only 12 are known to be in play­ing con­di­tion. One of those 12 is in Joe’s liv­ing room. & his neigh­bors ask him to leave the door open when he’s play­ing the instru­ment, as they love the hap­py sound.

Joe dis­cuss­es the Amer­i­can Foto­play­er in depth, with video & pho­tographs, here.


Laurel & Hardy: greatest comedy duo of all time

Quot­ed from The 25 Best Com­e­dy Duos by Mar­tin Chilton at The Telegraph:

Writer Kurt Von­negut once said that his favourite come­di­ans were Lau­rel & Hardy. “I used to laugh my head off at Lau­rel & Hardy,” said the author of Slaughterhouse-​Five. “There is ter­ri­ble tragedy there some­how. These men are too sweet to sur­vive in this world & are in ter­ri­ble dan­ger all the time. They could so eas­i­ly be killed.” What sur­vives of the come­di­ans – Amer­i­can Hardy died in 1957 & English-​born Lau­rel died in 1965 – is 107 films released between 1921 & 1951. Their catch­phrase was: “Well, here’s anoth­er nice mess you’ve got­ten me into!” & their mix­ture of slap­stick, word­play & utter­ly charm­ing com­e­dy makes them the great­est com­e­dy duo of all time. The Music Box, which depicts the pair’s hap­less attempts to move a piano up a large flight of steps, won the first Acad­e­my Award for Live Action Short Film (Com­e­dy) in 1932. “Those two fel­lows we played,” Oliv­er Hardy told an inter­view­er, “they were nice, very nice peo­ple. They nev­er got any­where because they were so very dumb, only they did­n’t know they were dumb.”

Above all, Lau­rel & Hardy are won­der­ful­ly, uplift­ing­ly, silly:

Ollie: “Call me a cab.”
Stan: “You’re a cab.”

(Anoth­er Fine Mess, 1930)



Lau­rel & Hardy’s influ­ence is alive & well in The Simp­sons. Home­r’s repeat­ed use of the word “D’oh” was inspired by Jim­my Fin­layson, the mus­ta­chioed Scot­tish actor who appeared in 33 Lau­rel & Hardy films.


Another fine nice mess (d’oh)

The famous catch phrase of Lau­rel & Hardy, from Anoth­er Fine Mess, is often mis­quot­ed as “Well, here’s anoth­er fine mess you’ve got­ten us into.” The actu­al phrase in the film is “Well, here’s anoth­er nice mess you’ve got­ten me into.” 


Laurel & Hardy

This scene is from “The Stolen Jools,” a short made in 1931 “with more prominent stars than have ever before appeared in any one feature” as stated at the beginning of the film. The stars appeared as cameos to help raise funds for the National Variety Artists tuberculosis sanitarium. You can watch the entire film here on YouTube. It’s great to see all the old stars in one film & there are some funny lines & gags.

Who is your favorite comedy team with an ampersand?

Lau­rel & Hardy? Abbott & Costel­lo? Burns & Allen? Lucy & Desi? Mar­tin & Lewis? French & Saun­ders? Tom & Jer­ry? Wal­lace & Gromit? Any others?

Com­ment here (or below if you see a big blue box).


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.