// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Todd Oldham Essay: Artist Charlie Harper

I love Charlie Harper's work. The Illustrator Charlie Harper, not this artisté. So much has been said about him since his recent passing. So much so, that I'll not add to the conversation other than to say WOW, and to share this video interview from a session of Todd Oldham's Handmade Modern.

I recently picked up two copies of Betty Crocker's 1958 Dinner for Two Cookbooks, which I found sleeping peacefully in a sea of otherwise worthless children's books. They're illustrated exclusively, profusely, and throughout, I grabbed both for around $4.00. My guess is these will pick up fans and will rise in value. Already his 1961 Giant Golden Book of Biology has caught collector fever and has sold for $750 plus, and I've seen it listed this week for $2,000 (whew!). Charlie is a legend worth every bit of praise thrown his way. Also worth noting, Todd Oldham has somehow secured licensing rights to all his illustrations via the Harper estate and has come out with a hardcover book on Harper's work that as best I can tell at 150+ has sold out already. I also found a great interview on the CBS website talking about Harper.

I'll post on my Harper stuff to this blog or to a Flickr set someday soon.
My thrift store finds have been off the charts lately. More on that later. To learn more about Charlie's work, check out the Harper Flickr group here.

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Anonymous dave said...

Thanks for posting this video!

12:51 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...


Glad you enjoyed it. I suspect we'll see more young designers emulating his style now that he's coming to surface. Paying attention to the past is the key to almost everything, but in design, we have been lead by some great masters. Harper's a great example. Thanks for stopping by.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the video, too. It's so cool to see the artist behind the work and he seems like he was such a nice (humble) man.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Danelle said...

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the title to this post! I don't even know how to describe how much I love Charles Harper - he's my favorite illustrator.

That is amazing that you found 2 copies of the Betty Crocker cookbook! I've been on the lookout for it without having to get it on eBay.

My best thrifty find ever is a copy of the 1961 Giant Golden Book of Biology that I stumbled upon at an estate sale last year for 35 cents!! I almost missed it as I went back to look at something else after putting my purchases in my car and happened to stop and flip through a box of books and there it was. I didn't even have an idea what it was worth at the time (it was selling on ebay between $300-400 then), I just knew I wanted it and I've never thought twice about selling it.

Whew, that was a long ramble but you are right that Charlie is a legend and deserves every bit of praise.

Oh, and I can't wait to see what new thrift store finds you've come up with!

10:05 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

I'm with you Danelle. Harper is a special talent and I relate to his work in so many ways. I found it neat to hear from Harper himself in the Oldham piece. Congrats on the Golden Biology book. I have added about 20 minutes to my thrift stops now that I'm crowched down on my hands and knees sorting through books. I never have looked at kids books until recently. I love you etsy store. Looks like one of your wallets uses fabric with Harperesque fabric. Very cool. I will fav you and also subscribe to your blog. Thanks for saying hi.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad I stumble upon your site. My father in law gave me 4 Charley Harper works and while I find his stuff interesting it is not really my taste. I have found a couple of them on line but not sure of 2 of them and was wondering if you could offer up some advice as to how to go about finding out more about them and possible selling them to someone who will truly enjoy them.

9:44 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Anonymous - Congrats to you. You are fortunate to have these works. Many people really enjoy these but like so many other art works, to each his own, so I can understand if you are considering sharing these with someone who will appreciate them.

If you email me directly and share a way I can contact you, I will be happy to help. (studiosmith@yahoo.com). Mention you are the one who asked via BarryBlog.

This comment section on my blog is not an adequate context for doing so.

Happy to help.

12:16 PM  

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