Pinup Art and Its History


Pinup Art and Its History-2

Pinup Art and Its HistoryLike many things, the history of pinup art has simple beginnings. There was a demand for something and someone realized a way to meet that demand. Specifically, women for looking for new ways to express themselves to others, sometimes through the things they were wearing or the poses they were making or the images they were broadcasting. Putting images on posters was kind of the only way to share them back in the time before television, and repeatedly printing singular images was (and still is) faster than painting them, so the pinup industry was born.

That’s not to say pinup art can’t be painted too. One of the greatest pinup artists of all time, a man named Gil Elvgren, actually painted more than 500 different images of eye-catching pinup dolls all by himself. Pinup art and its history make for some interesting reading, as we hope to show you. After the Great Depression came to a close thanks to WWI and before the looming threat of WWII was even in people’s minds, artists were experimenting with different formats for their imagery. There were calendars, but also trading (or swapping) cards, magazines and of course, pinups.

What began as a way to show off the fashions of the time became a way of life for the most popular pinup models of the time. Many of these worked with Elvgren, helping him to create a sort of identity for pinup models. Even today, modern pinup models look back to the early days of the artform to spot classic, popular poses that they can make their own. Some of these have an interesting history of their own as well. For instance, Betty Grable’s famous peekaboo pose where she is looking back over her shoulder at viewers is from 1943 and models are still working that angle today.

Pin up girls became a part of the American identity during WWII, when US pilots began painting the beauties on the sides of their bombers and other aircraft. The 1950s would see the next huge pinup talent in Bettie Page, who is often titled the “Queen of Pinup” by those who find themselves taken in by her provocative style and daring (for the time, at least) poses. Page actually did a spread for Playboy magazine in 1955, during the height of her popularity and fame. Her regular history of posing for pin up and fetish images along with coverage in major magazines made Page an international star.

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Our Favorite Pinup Girl Artists


Our Favorite Pinup Girl Artists-2

Our Favorite Pinup Girl Artists-1

If you’re looking for a short list of popular pinup girl artists, then you’ll definitely find it here. No list of favorite pin up girls would be complete without a mention of Betty Grable, one of the first truly popular pinup models in the history of pinup art. Grable was a huge name back in the 30s and 40s, where she also spent a dozen years among the top 10 box office starts while enjoying a lucrative career as a pinup girl. She was a real original, which brings us to our next favorite pinup girl artist, which is another name you’ve probably heard before.

The “Queen of Pinup”, Betty Page, was one of if not the most popular pinup model from the 1950s. She’s also proof that sexy women sell posters. She was a gorgeous woman for her time, comparable to some of the sexpots that can be found strutting around on posters and in magazines today. And she wasn’t exactly chaste either – Page got a lot of work in the fetish field, posing for blatantly erotic photos before magazines like Playboy were even around. She even posed for Playboy too, back in 1955, at the height of her fame and popularity.

Dita Von Teese is branded by some as the #1 modern pinup model, and she’s certainly a looker. Her trademark pale skin is sure to leave a mark on the memory of those who are seeing her for the first time, and she’s easy to recognize after spotting her just once. Dita is a woman who exhibits the qualities that make a great pinup model – she’s sexy in a classy way that isn’t vulgar, and she’s got that strong look that makes her stand out from other women. The odds are good Teese would show up on a horde of other top pinup girl lists if you looked.

Marilyn Monroe was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty who was active in the pinup modeling scene in the late 50s. She’s undoubtedly one of the most recognizable symbols of sexy in the United States, but people all over the world can recognize her at a glance, making her a sort of international star. If you would judge your favorite pinup girls based on who gets the most views, then this is another model that would show up on the majority of top model lists. Though she was married three times, Monroe didn’t have any children of her own.

Our last favorite pinup girl spot has to go to Christina Aguilera. Believe it or not, she’s posed for quite a few posted as well. This is also a case where one of our favorites took heavy inspiration from another one of our favorites – specifically, Aguilera is a big fan of Marilyn Monroe. She’s classy and cute, with a certain innocent air in many of her images despite the risqué clothing choices she’s made for concerts and performances in the past. Plus, she’s stacked. That’s usually a good thing when we’re talking about eye candy.

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Pinup Art and Lighting


Pinup Art and LightingUnless we’re talking about the pretty ladies painted onto the sides of bomber planes during WWII, most pinup art from the time was designed almost exclusively with low or moody lighting in mind. Classic pinup pictures were the sort of stuff you would stash on your dresser rather than under your bed, and that means keeping the space lit to an optimal degree when displaying pinups. Some of the more modern stuff is nothing less than smut, but there are still plenty of pinup pictures out there that prove low lighting is the best lighting when looking at pretty women.

Though dimmer switches have kind of phased out of popularity much like the pinup art of the 30s and 40s, it’s still possible to get very subdued lighting today. It’s actually easier than ever thanks to LED light bars that provide low wattage, low voltage lighting that costs relatively little to run. Granted, LED lights cost more per bulb and bar than incandescent and fluorescent lights, but they make up for that higher investment cost with an insanely long life, low energy requirements and portability. You don’t need any light socket for this type of lighting, so you can install it anywhere with electrical access.

It’s not as if you would need many bars either. A small strip directly above your poster and facing down, or below your poster and facing up, will set your pinup art in the perfect level of illumination. For larger images, you can use larger lighting setups like these, or you could always use several smaller strips together, side by side, to create a “long” one in their place. The versatility of LED bars means they can fit into any niche and light it up for you, as long as you can figure out some way to use them.

This is actually kind of strange when you think about it. When those pinup pictures are taken, that happens in a (usually) closed environment with the lighting turned way up high, not leaving room for shadows or blemishes or anything of the sort. The images are best made under bright lights, but best viewed under low lights. This is especially true if they are printed on a glossy textured paper, because the surface will reflect the light in just the right way. Anyone who has even a handful of posters knows exactly what effect is being described here.

Even if you don’t have a huge collection of posters, you can still get a lot of use out of LEDs, plus they’re good for saving money on energy usage. You can read more about them at Light Bar Report if you’re interested, but there are plenty of resources about these modern lights, and you’d be better off reading several if you’re thinking of buying any. There is a reason they are showing up more often in homes, schools and offices around the world today. It just comes down to cutting costs, and that’s something these lights can help you to do.

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