Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Look at the "Pin Up"

Artist: Marty Parker, Pencil on Bristol Board. "Ziegfeld Girl"

Depictions of women in various forms of undress date back to almost the beginning of recorded history with Greek Mythology and Roman influence. Although forced underground by the catholic church (surprise) what has evolved into the "pin up" still emerged to be some of the most powerful imagery of the 20th/21st century. Such images have been celebrated on walls, lockers, cells and even in war zones in both photographic and artistic forms.

"A pin-up girl is a woman whose physical attractiveness would entice one to place a picture of her on a wall. The term was first attested to in English in 1941; however the practice is documented back at least to the 1890s. The “pin up” images could be cut out of magazines or newspapers, or be from postcard or chromo-lithographs, and so on. Such photos often appear on calendars, which are meant to be pinned up anyway. Later, posters of “pin-up girls” were mass-produced." (Source:

The iconic "pin up" photograph of Betty Grable, 1943 (during WWII) was one of the most popular and mass produced.

Rita Hayworth

By the 1920's pin-up became popular in magazines and calendars. The screen sirens of the time have forever been immortalized in poster and calendar form.

In 1953 a then unknown publisher Hugh Hefner brought the calendar pin up photograph of Marilyn Monroe to the forefront for his first issue of Playboy.

This photo shoot took place in 1949 in Chicago. This was not the photo run in Playboy's first issue but it was from the same shoot.

Some pin up art has been present in the form of the photograph, some by an artist hands and contemporary pinup art is a mesh between photography, hand drawing/painting and airbrushing techniques to create photo realistic fantasy.

One of the most famous contemporary pin up artist is Oliva De Beardinis (who deserves a blog feature all of her own).


Artist Marty Parker has made pinup art part of his artistic repertoire and puts pencil to paper in a retro celebration of the female form with his signature "Circle Series". What I personally love about his pin up art is the juxtaposition between the colored circles and the black and white image. It is very striking and unique perspective.
Marty grew up in Northern California and said he has been doing art for as long as he can remember. I had a chance to ask Marty a few questions about his artwork and inspirations.

LISA: What/Who have influenced you?

MARTY: I was heavily influenced by Norman Rockwell, The Beatles, a couple of fantastic and innovative high school art teachers, one great college one, and my folks.

I found a quote that best sums up my philosophy as an artist and a person. This says it perfectly, in my humble opinion:

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."
From "Fahrenheit 451"
by Ray Bradbury

Marty Parker

LISA: Why the "Pin Up"?

MARTY: I love the variety - Pin Up can be Campy, Sexy, Playful, Erotic - so many choices and I always seem to find something different I want to do. And I love women!

LISA: What inspires you?

MARTY: Fellow artists, writers, musicians...but really, anybody with passion and vision. And beautiful women.

LISA: How do you select the images you create and/or re-create?

MARTY: Often I’m trying to find a very specific image, especially for my Circle Series. If I want to do a Farrah, for example, I’m looking for a “definitive” image. But half the time when I’m searching for that “definitive” image I come across one I’ve never seen or considered before and grab that one. I also like to stay open to ANY image that catches my eye. Often the random ones you stumble upon (like the Cocktail Lounge Girl) are the most fun!

LISA: Where do you see your art evolving? Any special projects on the horizon?

MARTY: Right now all I know is I want to keep evolving as an artist, and that the art will take ME to wherever it wants to go. No special projects on the horizon but like all my work, that could change at any minute.

LISA: Where can my readers buy your art work? or contact you?

MARTY: Still working on a website but for now folks can contact me on my facebook page ( And if anyone is interested in buying original or prints of my drawings we can always arrange something. some of my art is available on T-shirt as posters Via:

PRICE: Giclee Prints are $100. Originals vary depending on the drawing,but usually from $200 - $400

SIZE & MEDIUM: All of Martys originals and prints come in size: 11" x 14", Originals are Pencil on Birstol Board.

My FAV's are his John Lennon portraits!!

The Beatles, Music and Sports icons are also part of Marty's portfolio.


  1. Great post, great read, beautiful images, EXCELLENT info as always girl :-)

  2. Indeed, this IS a great post. Youve inspired me to post up some invitations Ive saved from my years being a guest at the mansion. Most of the invites were Olivia though..

    Lovely post.

  3. I'm glad the post has inspired you!! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment XO Lots more to come ~ Stay Tuned XO