Posted by: cherylyoung | January 11, 2016

Will Davies at the gallery at Upstairs on Beacon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB514DIOsRM

WILL 3

http://globalnews.ca/video/2614079/the-man-behind-images-which-shaped-how-canadians-saw-half-a-century

Giving one of the Canadian Mad Men his due

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WILL

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will 1Father and son team up in tribute to great illustrator

THE ART OF WILL DAVIES

Courtesy of Leif Peng

Cover for the book, The Art of Will Davies.

STAMPS

Courtesy of Leif Peng

Will Davies designed and illustrated nine different stamps for Canada Post. These two, “Wing Parade” and “Colour Party”, depict cadets at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

AUTOMOBILES

Courtesy of Leif Peng

During the 1960s, Will Davies created innumerable automotive illustrations for newspaper and magazine ads as well as for Pontiac and Oldsmobile sales brochures.

SPORTS

weill33

Courtesy of Leif Peng

Will Davies was much sought after for his magnificent montage illustrations of sporting events and figures. He depicted hockey greats in a Canada Cup series, illustrated the the Montreal Olympics for the July ’76 edition of Reader’s Digest, painted Jocelyn Lovell winning gold on the track at the 1971 Pan-American Games in “The Bicycle Book,” and was commissioned regularly by corporate sponsors of major sporting events as in this example for 7-Up.

ROMANCE

Courtesy of Leif Peng

Will Davies painted more than 500 covers for Harlequin – often painting two or three per month among his other assignments.

WILL DAVIES

Courtesy of Leif Peng

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An early photo of Will Davies at his drawing board at TDF studios in Toronto, where he worked for 30 years beginning in 1949.

 

leif and simon peng

Barry Gray,The Hamilton Spectator

Leif Peng and his son Simon, two Hamilton artists/illustrators who are working on a book about the career of one of Canada’s greatest commercial artists, Will Davies. The two have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the $27,000 project and have already raised $19,500.

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Hamilton Spectator

By Graham Rockingham

If you lived in Canada in the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s, you know the work of Will Davies. You may not know the name, but you know the art. It was difficult to pick up a newspaper or a magazine without seeing something by one of Canada’s greatest commercial artists.

His kind of art went out of favour for a time as advertising trended toward realism. The retro appeal of “Mad Men,” however, is making people take a second look at that period’s commercial art.

Leif Peng never had to be convinced. The Hamilton graphic artist fell in love with Davies’ work the moment he set eyes on it working on one of his first professional jobs with a Toronto advertising firm some 30 years ago.

Then, for five years in the late ’90s, Peng was privileged to work in the same Toronto studio as Davies, who is now 91 and living in retirement in Toronto. The two became friends. The living room wall of Peng’s west Hamilton home is adorned with Davies’ originals.

Now Peng and his son, Simon, a 20-year-old student at the Ontario College of Art and Design, are working on a 150-page book called “The Art of Will Davies.” Earlier this month, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $27,000 to publish the book which they hope to have completed this fall. Within the first 10 days of the 30-day campaign, which ends July 1, they had raised almost $20,000 toward their goal.

“Everyone knew who Will Davies was,” says Peng, now a full-time graphic design instructor at Mohawk College. “You would speak of him reverentially. If you were a young professional you aspired to be Will Davies. He was the most prominent advertising illustrator in Canada.”

Davies’ artwork graced the ads of all the major auto manufacturers and clothing lines, literally thousands of illustrations spanning a 50-year career. You’ll find it on postage stamps and sports posters and the covers of more than 500 Harlequin Romance novels.

There were also nudes, the last of which were displayed at an exhibition in a Toronto gallery in 2002. It was Davies’ last hurrah before retirement.

At the peak of his career, Davies cut a dashing figure, square-jawed and nattily attired, leading the jet set life of the Mad Men.

“There was a time where he had a garage full of Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Jags,” Peng says. “He was that successful. I think he and his friends and acquaintances had an amazing time, very much like you see on the TV show. The thing about Will is he’s not only a spectacular artist, he is the consummate gentleman, a classy guy.”

Peng, 51, has also had a successful career. His work includes the tuxedoed turtle of Turtles chocolates, the Nestle’s Quick bunny and Pud, the Dubble Bubble boy. There have been a few cereal boxes, too, Cap’n Crunch and Rice Krispies, as well the Hostess Munchies and some Pokemon activity books.

In recent years, however, Peng has turned to writing the history of mid-20th century Canadian commercial art, through his blog “Today’s Inspiration,” which now boasts about 10,000 followers.

“Compared to the fine art world where we know so much, the commercial art people are almost anonymous,” Peng says.

Norma Jeans Closet

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