I was Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1927… you do the math. I have spent my entire life in the world of graphics and commercial art. I began formal studies at the age of fourteen when I convinced my Dad to send me to Summer School at Washington University’s Bixby Hall, St. Louis School of Fine Art. I attended every summer between years at Webster Groves High School. In that time period I took every course the art school had to offer. There was, of course, no degree involved inasmuch as I had not taken any of the concomitant academic courses. I drew and painted in those early years with the same fervor that today’s kids lavish on text messaging. As a result, I won nearly every poster competition presented. In my junior and senior years I made a few extra bucks by doing most of the posters for the dances sponsored by the sundry high school sororities. I was also active in the drama department and was accepted into the National High School Dramatic Honor Society. Albeit I never heard of anyone who was rejected if they had any interest at all in participating in the program.

Young Artist at work

Following graduation I entered the U.S. Coast Guard. WWII was still in progress and it would be nearly six months before the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the interim, everyone believed we were being readied to invade mainland Japan. Where such rumors started is still a mystery, but the very thought was sobering to say the least. When the war ended I was transferred to Washington, DC as a Yeoman striker eventually landing a position as staff artist for the Coast Guard’s Air Sea Rescue magazine. When the magazine was transferred to the Navy Department’s Bureau of Designs and Standards I went with it. There I worked on the BuShips Electron, CIC Magazine, and The Guided Missile. All of which were classified top secret at the time. The high point of my work there was the designing of the symbols which went on the sides of the planes used in “Operation Crossroads” later to be known as the Bikini Atoll Atom Bomb Tests. I was eventually transferred to the Coast Guard Graphic Arts Unit in Brooklyn, NY. It was essentially a silk screen plant which created and printed various posters used on all ships and land stations. Just before my discharge in 1947, I designed and supervised the building of the Coast Guard’s exhibit at the 1946 Air Show at Grand Central Palace in New York City. The show featured the actual helicopter which had performed the first ever air-sea rescue off the coast of Gander, Newfoundland.

Just before leaving the Coast Guard in 1947

When I finally left the service in 1947, I went to work as an art apprentice with Haddon Sundblom, the man who painted all of those Coca-Cola Santa Claus images. I never fooled myself that I got the job fully on my own merits; he had painted all of those Santas for my father who was Exec. Art Director at Coke’s ad agency, D’Arcy located at that time in St. Louis, MO. Nevertheless, I was earning my way in the studio in 3 months much to the amazement of my colleagues, who had privately made bets as to how long “Harry’s boy” would last before he got dumped. Nights I studied design at the Chicago Institute of Design which was essentially the remnant of the Bauhaus from when they left Wiemar, Germany at the beginning of the Nazi regime. I spent the next 8 years or so with that group ultimately becoming corporate treasurer when Sundblom left the company in a fit of pique over some issue. The corporate name was changed from Sundblom, Johnston, and White, Inc. to Johnston, White, and Associates when we all pooled our resources and bought the company. We carried on for another three years or so. Ultimately it had to be realized by everyone involved that the era of illustration had come to an end having lasted from the 1920s all the way to the early 1950s. When I decided to leave the Coast Guard in’47; I was stationed in NYC and went to talk with the gentleman who was at the time Secretary of the New York Society of Illustrators. I had told him of my plan to go to work for Sundblom, and he had cautioned me that the end of illustration as it had been practiced for so long was coming. I decided to join Sundblom anyway but hedged my bet by studying design as opposed to illustration. Design was much more to my liking than illustration as such. It was a decision that I never regretted as I watched the prediction of that early counsel come to full fruition.

I’m beginning to bore myself with my life story here. The story continues on for 60 years—more writing than I am up for—until we reach the present time wherein I am enjoying the rights and privileges of a true curmudgeon.

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6 Responses to “About me”

  1. askmom said

    I enjoyed reading about you. I’ve got another 25 or so years to catch up to you, but I’m already beginning to enjoy the occaional ‘curmudgeonish glimpses’ I’m getting of myself. My great-grandmother who died at 97 used to say ‘If you live long enough you earn the right to say whatever you want.’

  2. hkeyton said

    Your great-grandmother was so right. Particularly in this day of “political correctness”. One sees from a different perspective after seeing so many changes transpire. Moreover, what are they going to do? Kill you? One already sees the light at the end of the tunnel. So…relax and enjoy.

  3. Hunter said

    It is my personal opinion that everyone deserves the right to rant, and so far as I can tell the Internet as of the last few years has become the forum by which anyone can/will do so. The sad truth is that in the massive sea of opinions the ones worth hearing tend to lie out of sight in the deep abyss of nonsensical dribble that glitter the surface. In short, as I have already digressed beyond my point; I enjoyed reading your latest thoughts, and look forward to reading some more. We should all be so lucky to articulate our thoughts as well as you mastered. I myself tend to break down into a frothing rage, akin to that of a rapid squirrel, while trying to make my point.

  4. Dont get me started ! here is a list of my favorite Rants

    1. How is it that Elliot Spitzer and too many other fine politicians, like the poor guy whose career and life was destroyed in an airport bathroom, and that pig Bill Clinton stayed in office after getting busted getting blow jobs in the oval office, AND blatantly lied until Monica offered to present the blue dress with his load on it ?

    2. Hillary, who could respect such a vile creature, I would have if she had been photographed throwing his clothes out the window and clobbering him with a frying pan !

    3. The Jews land grab and their part in the state of things today.
    Aside from being historically lousy neighbors no one wanted around, and I am not saying Hitler had the right idea, In the 50 years since they were given a homeland they have proved to still not learned the meaning of their own teachings. Their first action was to create a powerful military presence , then use it to take yet more land antagonizing their neighbors to the point of going into public places and imploding themselves and any one nearby, or flying airplane into the World Trade center killing over 3000 people in an effort to have their own causes to be recognized .

    And then label them as terrorists. Rendering one of the most valuable, irreplaceable , beautiful, unique and fascinating Archaeological regions in the world crippled and inaccessible . Tourism should be the regions financial security and many of these sites have been destroyed . My skin crawls when I see adds about Come to Israel

    4. The mantra was “This will never happen again” and well over 4000
    more lives have been lost on a war that nobody really gets . There is no Arab Boogie man . It is just a smoke screen Why cant the Jews find the Messiah within instead of imagining a second coming be gracious neighbors, give back any land that exceeds what they were originally presented and give the world a fucking break ?

    5. Everybody laughed 20 or 30 at the notion of melting ice caps yet here we are Polar Bears are threatened with extinction and scientists warn we are almost at the point of no return. Honey bees are experiencing colony collapse and dying by the millions, amphibians and many other insects have already gone extinct unnoticed , and we here about is bullshit about “Being Green” it is not our kitchen cabinets, carpeting , synthetic fibers, or sheets doing all this damage . It is the unchecked industrialization of third world countries we allow to produce what we used to because its cheaper and our own selfishness and ignorance of how delicate the environmental balance is. The Honey Bees pollinate EVERYTHING, all of our food. The world should be shittin a brick !

    You would think some would do a study isolating all of our Polluting habits and which cause the most damage whats the impact of Jet Airplanes ?, whats the impact of launching a rocket or satellite into outer space ? , How much is due to just automobiles ? which industries contribute the most ? and what can be done to reverse all this ? where is the notion of a Global community?

    6. George Bush How odd that the state his brother Governs led him to office in the most appalling fashion? or that the country faces the price to fill your tank approaches $60 and then all of the sudden George announces “Lets drill off shore” a ban put in place by his father

    7. Where is that other sock I know I put 2 in the washer yet when I go to fold there are no matches

    8. Apple needs to calm down and respect their devoted consumers. They tout products as the latest and best, yet in few months claim its not now this is , examples when the iPhone was released I received one of their quick time, iTunes updates that totally messed up my computer, and I have 2 iSight cameras as it was what they made and the best . I lost one and went to buy a new one, it was discontinued , not because all the new Macs have one built in, but because the new Mac air super thin bitch are too thin to accept a firewire cable, which they said was the best. So I had to purchase their new camera for my older computer that does not have a built in camera and uses a U.S.B cable what ever !

  5. Hey, Kevin, you need to start yer own blog, dude! Looks like you already got started 🙂 Way to go!

  6. Hugh,

    Don’t seem to be able to find you on Plaxo anymore and when I try to email you at hkeyton@yahoo.com, whatever that is, I get your web page. Send me some contact info please unless you’re mad or something.

    Allan

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