Before there was Photoshop, there was the airbrush ... and my dad

My father practiced the art of airbrush. He was a commercial artist from the 1950's until the early 2000's.
Over fifty years of airbrushing - that's my dad's legacy, working at agencies in Philadelphia and eventually for himself with his own studio.
 The proper way to hold an airbrush ...
This is exactly the kind of set-up my dad had when he worked. He also has a cart filled with paint, mixing trays, brushes, airbrush tips, and more by his side.
 The air pump created a constant hum and rhythm.
Gradations were sprayed at various angles and strengths...everything was done by hand.
Working on photos that had to be retouched to increase sharpness, edit out unwanted elements, and alter in other ways incorporated the use of friskets - sort of like housepainter's tape - to protect elements in the actual photograph that needed to remain the same from being marred by the artist's paint.

One hallmark of my dad's expertise was chrome lettering, which many of his clients requested. He retouched for Singer American Meter Division and Ibanez Guitars in this area, among many other clients. 
He designed many logos, including the Harris logo still used today in TV commercials and on their service vans. My dad's career in advertising is what spurred me to become a copywriter.

You can learn more about the art of airbrushing.
These photos are from one of his airbrush books. I grew up watching my dad work with these tools and retouch photos using the techniques described in this book.


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