Ballantyne, "Blonde Champage" (left); "Just an Inkling", 1954 (right)
When people talk about female pinup artists, Zoe Mozert and Joyce Ballantyne (1918-2006) are almost always mentioned in the same breath. But they worked more than a decade apart, and both were talented commercial artists in their own right, holding their own in a field dominated by men.
Ballantyne started painting pinups for Brown & Bigelow in 1945, on the recommendation of her former teacher at the Chicago Academy of Art, Gil Elvgren. According to her, she really only spent a quarter of her time doing pinups; the rest was spent painting less... titillating... subjects. One of her non-pinup assignments was with Coppertone, in the late 50s. You might know her work as the "Coppertone baby", a suntanned, pigtailed girl being chased by a puppy; Ballantyne's daughter Cheri was the model.
This being the age of the internet, I tracked down Joyce Ballantyne's address in 1997 and wrote her a letter. Graciously, she wrote me back and agreed to sign a few of her pinups for me. Those pinups are above, although I'm disappointed I didn't have my favorite Ballantyne image for her to sign (I'll post that later this week).
Joyce Ballantyne Brand passed away in May, 2006. Her letter and autographs are, without a doubt, the most cherished pieces in my collection.
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