Each June the San Diego County Fair offers thrills and chills with a host of carnival games (and scary rides). Along with those all adrenaline-pumping and artery-clogging activities is the vibrant chalk art! The theme in 2017 was “How The West Was Fun”. To celebrate the American illustrator and painter, Duane Bryers, I took one of his most iconic figures, “Hilda” and chalked a wildly colorful piece for the millions of Fair attendees.
American Illustrator and Painter:
Duane Bryers (1911 – 2013)
When looking back through the pages of Duane Bryers’ portfolio, Bryers mainly illustrated calendars with the theme “The American West,” published by Brown & Bigelow in Saint Paul , Minnesota. He became famous for his creation Hilda; whom he had made about 250 drawings, starting in 1956.
While the typical Fifties pin-up girl was slim and conventionally-posed; Duane Bryers broke the mold with a plus-sized, sometimes sarcastic model, Hilda. Hilda, is a fun-loving redhead displaying a carefree and somewhat clumsy attitude, making her all the more charming. She is one of America’s longest-running pin-up girls, who graced calendars from the mid-Fifties until the Eighties.
Hilda is all
the more special in that Duane Bryers did not base her on a real life model, but instead fashioned her from his own imagination and fantasy.
“She’s a creation out of my head,” the artist told online pin-up gallery ToilGirls in 2002. “I’ve had various models over the years, but some of my best Hilda paintings I’ve ever done were done without a model.”
Tisa Rodriguez Sherman: The Tucson 7, Tucson Museum of Art, 1997.
Margot Peppers, Daily Mail.com, August 6, 2013, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2385046/Hilda-Fifties-plus-size-pin-rediscovered-year-creator-Duane-Bryers-dies.html).