Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Anne Taintor and the Taintorettes

If you like to browse bookstores, art supply stores, or gift shops, you've probably encountered the work of collage artist Anne Taintor. I've always admired her wit and her knack for finding unusual vintage ads to pair with her captions. Back when I worked at Nordstrom, I bought two of her notepads there, as well as a funny little book called I Can't Be Good All The Time.  I think that her work may even have influenced The Doll Project in some some small way.

I recently went to check out her website since I hadn't looked at it in several years, and was delighted to discover bios of the "Taintorettes," the women who appear in the ads she has used in her collages. Many of them didn't even know their photos were being used in collages until their children or grandchildren happened to see them in a store.  Stories like this are pretty common:

Years later, her daughter, Connie, was shopping at a Sparta gourmet and gift store called Garlic & Oil, when she spotted her mom smiling at her from a shelf. There was Connie, on Anne Taintor napkins! At the cash register, Connie told the shop owner that the woman on the napkins was her mother. The owner replied that a lot of people thought the photos on Anne Taintor’s products remind them of their mothers, and Connie said, “No that really is my mom!”

Since I've recently started working more with collage, as an artist it's funny to think of that happening with one of my pieces.  So far I haven't put any pictures of people in my collages, but I plan to do that soon. 

But what's really fascinating about these tributes to the women who are in Anne Taintor's collages are the stories behind their pictures. Some used modeling as a way to start an exciting new life in the big city while others modeled to pay their way through school.  Two of them, unbeknownst to the artist, were best friends.  A few of the ladies are still alive, and have shared what they think of Taintor's work. Some are artists themselves.

So if you like Anne Taintor's art, take a look at her website to find out more about the women in her pictures.

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