This ravishing red headed pin up illustration by the prolific American illustrator and fine artist Roy Besser epitomizes the mid century modern style of pin up art popularized by George Petty & Alberto Vargas. In the image, a perky sun loving bathing beauty in stylish cats eye sunglasses shows off her bad girl side with a coy and inviting smile. Signed lower right a gouache painting on illustration board and a published work for as of yet unidentified print usage. Handsomely framed and double matted behind glass.
Roy Besser began his artistic career at the age of sixteen when he established his own art studio and began to practice his craft by duplicating the art of famous illustrators. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, however, his desire to find his own way in the art world prompted him to move to New York, where he studied at the Art Students’ League and began his career as a professional artist. On his first day in New York, Besser found a job doing touch-up work on existing paintings and helping with illustration work for an ad agency. His next move was to work for an agent who represented many artists and needed someone to touch up the work of his clients from time to time, when the artists themselves were unavailable. Within a year, Besser was working on his own as a freelance artist, gradually getting illustration work with major publications. He was soon creating art for such prestigious publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Ladies’ Home Journal, and many others. As well, this freelance work led to work with more advertising agencies representing accounts such as Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola and Max Factor. While on a trip to California, Besser presented his portfolio to Universal Studios. They received him enthusiastically, offered him a job, and for the next fifteen years, he worked for Universal, Columbia, MGM, 20th Century Fox and Disney creating posters, illustrations and promotional artwork. During this time, he also took the opportunity to study Fine Art at the University of California, the Art Center in Pasadena and the Otis Institute of Fine Art in Los Angeles. A major turning point in his life came in 1958, when the chairman of Pepsi Cola saw Besser’s art and hired him to do the entire campaign for the next year, putting him in a suite in the Bel Air Hotel for six months and in another hotel in New York while he finished the campaign. This work brought him to the attention of the Darcy Agency in New York, which hired him to handle their Mercedes Benz account. During this time, he also resumed his freelance work for Coca Cola and various movie studios, and still he managed to win the gold medal for “Best of Show” and four silver medals at the Annual Art Director’s Show. Most recently, Besser’s interest has turned to the area of fine art. He has begun to paint beautiful women with an emphasis not only on the artistic side, but on fashion as well. He is painting now almost exclusively for Japanese art dealers and gallery owners, through whom he has sold over three hundred works.