I started liking the late Cincinnati-based artist Charley Harper when I was a kid, growing up right down the street from a park, in which he designed the logo of a cardinal (Ohio's state bird). The park's little gift shop was full of merchandise with reprints of his signature naturalistic artwork -- mugs, postcard sets, lithograph prints, etc.
I started loving Harper about a decade later, ironically when his work became more widespread in the mainstream, as opposed to just beloved by a local niche. Lavish eye candy artbooks started being published, and soon Harper became more of a household name in the design/illustration (and general art) world. His highly stylized influence even reached mediums like animation (ever seen Samurai Jack)?
Nowadays, with his name more established on the national level, he's more prevalent than ever in his hometown, his signature bird paintings now bask beautifully on the sides of buildings downtown, and those little sets of calenders, postcards and prints that used to be in the local park gift shop have now populated just about every hip boutique gallery, hotel lobby, museum, etc.
What specifically inspired this post? This original piece that I found today at the Cincinnati's Natural History Museum. What also caught my eye is that he signed it in graphite pencil that you could barely make out rather than ink.
Also, kudos to you if you got the play on the Led Zeppelin song that is this post title.
It's certainly the most "unique" location for a "Story Time with Saxby" event thus far ... taking place at a pharmacy (Harrison is located on the west side of Cincinnati, right near the Indiana border). Why just drop off your prescriptions when you can listen to a zany story about a portly squirrel? It should be a lot of fun ... cookies, balloons, and Saxby coloring pages will all of course be present in addition to the book reading and signing!
Harrison Pharmacy & Wellness
620 Ring Rd
Harrison, OH 45030
Concept art for a Beach Boys animated series by Fred Crippen. I have no idea how I had never heard of this. After seeing the picture below posted by Cartoon Brew last night, I did some digging and found the following description from an auction site that was auctioning some of the original artwork (including this drawing) ...
"After the success of the Beatles Yellow Submarine and the TV success of the animated Beatles and Jackson 5ive shows, a full-blown animated treatment was done, to bring the Beach Boys to Saturday Morning cartoons with the Beach Boys Cartoon Show. Original preliminary treatment notes, press photos of the Beach Boys (from the Sunflower time-frame) ten 8" x 10" images show artwork publicity photos, four hand-painted cels from the proposed pilot episode, where the Beach Boys battle an oil-spilling villain who wants to kill their surf, and an outstanding drawing of how the Beach Boys would look in the series, as drawn by Fred Crippen. The drawing is signed. All the artwork has a very Yellow Submarine-ish feel. The treatment states the personality traits of each Beach Boy and describes their favorite haunts. A rare Brother Records folder holds the paperwork. A truly historic find! Conditions range from Good to Fine. From the Fred Crippen Collection." Full link here.
(Photo credit to Cartoon Brew for posting it to their Instragram account)