In my marketing career, I’d never hired a cross-dressing stripper who could fart on command, but in the Toy business there’s a first time for everything…
-Geoff Bevington in the first sentence of his creative non-fiction memoir, Where Pimps and Thieves Run Free – an all-too-real and graphic Toy Story.
I’ve been drawing cartoons since I was 10 or 11 – starting way back in 1972. Drawing cartoons was an escape – a way to get out of my head and into the work – a way to cope with my parent’s recent divorce – and, surprisingly, a way to meet and attract girls.
My maternal grandfather, John P. Delgadillo, Sr., had been a professional artist in Hollywood for many years, working as a type designer and title artist for Pacific Title and Art. He helped to paint the titles for Gone With the Wind on sheets of glass. He painted the groovy art and catchy sayings on the bodies of Judy Carne and Goldie Hawn, Laugh-In’s Gotcha Girls.
He designed fonts and titles for many, if not most, of Vincent Minnelli’s MGM Musicals, including THE END title card from the movie, Brigadoon, which I still have framed as a memory of his career and talents.
“You can’t be a professional artist,” my dad told me, “you’ll never make any money and who wants to be a starving artist?” My dad, the youngest of 8 from a small, necks-as-red-as-the-Oklahoma-clay town of Anthony in south central Kansas. My dad, the Marine who joined the service because, being the last of the kids in his family was asked to leave the house the day after his 18th birthday – moving into a funeral home for a place to stay and a job picking up stiffs. My dad, the starving young college student at California State College at Los Angeles, suffering from scurvy because he was too broke to eat more than one Bob’s Big Boy hamburger per day while going to school and working at a garage.
My blue-eyed blonde, Kansas-as-the-day-is-long dad, had married into a well-to-do Mexican family from Near-East LA, whose patriarch owned 5 houses, including 4 rental properties and was able to send his sons and daughters to private catholic schools. Grandpa Delgadillo did all of this as a professional artist – one who’d been born into poverty as the bastard son of a Mexican rancher – who had crossed the border, gone to school in San Antonio and made something of himself as an artist.
Despite all of the success and material wealth that my artist Grandpa had achieved, my Dad was determined that I get a college degree in ‘something useful’ to make sure I could get a job and career.
So I chose marketing. And I kept drawing.
I started and have built a career in marketing: direct marketing, advertising and branding, working to ‘sell’ the ideas, products and services of others. And I’ve kept drawing.
One day a friend named Jamie asked, “have you ever designed a product, a toy or a doll?” To which I answered, “no, but I think I can, no problem.”
“I don’t have much money to pay you… maybe I can give you a percentage of the profits from the sale of the doll,” he said, “it’s a doll that farts and I need a drawing and packaging and more ideas because right now its just an idea – but it’s hilarious and its all about farts…”
And so it began… my journey combining the skills of a marketer with the passion and creativity of a cartoonist – and the sensibilities of that 11 year old boy…
To Be Continued…