The Vintage Pin Up Art of Joyce Ballantyne (1918 – 2006)

Joyce Ballantyne was a noteworthy member of the “girl’s club” among pin-up artists – her women were often more natural than the studiously coy poses of her male counterparts.

In 1945, Ballantyne began painting, pin-ups for Brown & Bigelow, having been recommended by Gil Elvgren. The firm introduced her to their national sales and marketing staff as “the brightest young star on the horizon of illustrative art”. Ballantyne designed a “novelty-fold” direct mail pin-up brochure for the company and eventually was given the honour of creating an Artist’s Sketch Pad twelve-page calendar.

Joyce Ballantyne was born in Norfolk, Nebraska,  just after World War One. She attended Nebraska University for two years, painting  murals in her spare time for department stores and movie theatres before leaving  to study commercial art. After studying at the Academy of Art in Chicago for two  years, she joined Kling Studios, where she painted Rand McNally road maps and  illustrated a dictionary for the Cameo Press. She  then moved on to the Stevens/Gross studio, where she stayed    for more than ten years…

Influenced, as much of the studio was, by Haddon  Sundblom, she became part of a group of artists who were extremely close,  both professionally and personally, including Gil Elvgren, Earl Gross, Al    Moore, Coby Whitmore, Thornton Utz, and Al Buell. She was also to become one of the three best known female pin-artists of the period along with Pearl Frush and Zoë Mozert.

She had first met  Elvgren when he was teaching at the Academy of Art and she was a student.  After years of working closely together they often shared assignments if  one of them became ill or if a schedule was tight. Like her friend Elvgren, she preferred to work in oil on canvas.

Ballantyne’s most important pin-ups were the twelve she  painted in 1954 for a calendar published by Shaw-Barton. When it was  released nationally in 1955, the demand from new advertisers was so great  that the company reprinted it many times. Ballantyne then went on to paint  one of the most famous advertising images ever. Coppertone suntan lotion  asked several illustrators to submit preliminary ideas for a special  twenty-four-sheet billboard for their American and international markets.  Ballantyne won the commission, and her final painting (based somewhat on  an ideal of Art Frahm) became a national icon. Its little pig-tailed  girl whose playful dog pulls at her bathing suit charmed the entire  nation.

Ballantyne also did much advertising work for other national clients, including Sylvania TV, Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, and  Schlitz Beer. She painted pin-ups for the calendar companies Louis P Dow  and Goes and illustrations for such magazines as Esquire and Penthouse.

In 1974, Ballantyne moved with her husband to Ocala, Florida where she lived until her death.

Joyce Ballantyne biography borrowed from The Great American Pin-up by Charles G. Martignette & Louis K. Meisel.

Source: The Pin Up Files

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