Shanghai Loca & other Fashionable Follies

by Alden Cole on December 12, 2013 · 0 comments


poster for Off-Off Broadway production, 1973

The Moon Also Rises in my art a full forty years ago, when I was still making my living as a fashion illustrator. My New York career in the fashion world was rather checkered, hardy the smashing success I had naively envisioned for myself while studying at RISD, or dreaming about my fabulous future career during the two years I spent pushing papers in the Air Force, expectantly awaiting my opportunity to move to the Big Apple. Upon discharge from the USAF in early August 1968, I excitedly headed to Manhattan and 7th Avenue, with visions of fame and fortune dancing in my head. The reality proved to be disappointingly different. I worked first as a designer for a trendy mens wear company – Paul Ressler Ltd. – followed by a series of short-term jobs working for various junior sportswear companies, with names as catchy as Happy Legs. After two years of minor triumphs and seemingly major failures as a fashion designer, I side-stepped into fashion illustration, working free lance for another four years. I could write major chapters on the experiences accrued during those unsettling years.

In September 1973, I started painting, in oils, for the first time in my life, and things began to change. I was on my way to a new career, as a graphic designer.  One of the last pieces tailored to the fashionable mode was this poster, created for Alexis del Lago, an aspiring author, female impersonator and entertainer who happened to live on the first floor of the brownstone at 340 W. 89th Street where I also had an apartment on the 3rd floor, and where  I lived for my first four years in NY. The play was not a great success, but I had a fun time creating the poster and going to the opening. As you can see, the moon was a presence in my work even then, as evidenced by today’s featured art, as well as another even earlier work from 1972 when I was a full-fledged fashion illustrator. Beauty Reigns!! The Moon Also Rises…



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