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Posts tagged "signatures"

Jan 25, 2013
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Al Hirschfeld’s signature: spot the NINA

We were talking about signatures yesterday, and my wife reminded me of Al Hirschfeld. Wikipedia:

Hirschfeld is known for hiding the name of his daughter, Nina, in most of the drawings he produced after her birth in 1945. The name would appear in a sleeve, in a hairdo, or somewhere in the background. As Margo Feiden described it, Hirschfeld engaged in the “harmless insanity,” as he called it, of hiding her name [Nina] at least once in each of his drawings. The number of NINAs concealed is shown by an Arabic numeral to the right of his signature. Generally, if no number is to be found, either NINA appears once or the drawing was executed before she was born. Hirschfeld originally intended the Nina gag to be a one-time gimmick but locating Nina’s name in the drawings became extremely popular. From time to time Hirschfeld lamented that the gimmick had overshadowed his art and tried to discontinue the practice, but such attempts always generated harsh criticism. Nina herself was reportedly somewhat ambivalent about all the attention. In the previously mentioned interview with The Comics Journal Hirschfeld confirmed the urban legend that the U.S. Army had used his cartoons to train bomber pilots with the soldiers trying to spot the NINAs much as they would spot their targets. Hirschfeld told the magazine he found the idea repulsive, saying that he felt his cartoons were being used to help kill people. In his 1966 anthology The World of Hirschfeld he included a drawing of Nina which he titled “Nina’s Revenge.” That drawing contained no Ninas. There were, however, two Als and two Dollys (“The names of her wayward parents”).

See if you can spot the NINAs above.

(Hint: look to the hair and the gentleman’s lapel.)

Jan 24, 2013
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Sign your work

My friend @wendymac posted this on Twitter:

I don’t want to include my signature in my drawings, but lack of attribution is out of control. Someone please invent a new watermark.

Most artists online share her frustration: you want your work to be easily copied and blogged and tumbled, you want to get credit for your work, but you don’t want to dick up your art.

Artfully embedding some kind of identification within the image itself is the only real option. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artful watermark.) Luckily, artists have been artfully embedding an identification mark in their images for quite some time: it’s called a signature.

I particularly like Saul Steinberg’s:

Etc. Even photographers can do it — look how beautiful Allen Ginsberg’s handwriting looks underneath this photo:

You might even want to go one further and figure out how to embed your web address or your Twitter handle. I talk about that more here.

(BTW, you don’t have to sign the actual work — just Photoshop it in.)

None of this will keep people from altering the image or cropping off the signatures to actively steal your images, but in my experience, most misattribution online is the result of laziness, not malice.

You’re artists, man — make it subtle, but effective!

Jan 10, 2013
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Jack Lew’s loopy signature

Obama is expected to pick current White House chief of staff Jacob J. Lew for Treasury secretary, which means his crazy signature could end up on the dollar bill.

The NYTimes takes a look:

Amazingly, while this looks like an arbitrary series of loop-the-loops, he’s actually mostly consistent about having seven full loops each time. Maybe they stand for the seven letters of “Jack Lew” (as he is known); maybe seven is his lucky number. Clearly we need to consult another graphologist.

It’d be so great if he didn’t change it.

Dec 07, 2012
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A visual history of Richard Nixon getting lazier


Lazier, or crazier? (Or both?) cf. Nixon’s doodles.

A visual history of Richard Nixon getting lazier

Lazier, or crazier? (Or both?) cf. Nixon’s doodles.

(Source: peterfromtexas, via megustamemes)

Nov 01, 2011
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Kurt Schwitters, ‘Mz 11 Strong Picture,’ 1919

Confession: sometimes I look at a piece of art and think, Well, I could take or leave the work, but I *love* the signature!

Kurt Schwitters, ‘Mz 11 Strong Picture,’ 1919

Confession: sometimes I look at a piece of art and think, Well, I could take or leave the work, but I *love* the signature!

Jul 08, 2011
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Flannery O’Connor’s cartoon signature

Some background:

She turned her initials, MFOC, into a logo that became her signature.  She made the signature to look like a chicken, with the M as a beak, the F as tail feathers, the O as a head, and the C as a curve for the body.

MFOC = Mary Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor’s cartoon signature

Some background:

She turned her initials, MFOC, into a logo that became her signature. She made the signature to look like a chicken, with the M as a beak, the F as tail feathers, the O as a head, and the C as a curve for the body.

MFOC = Mary Flannery O’Connor

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