One of the most popular pin-up artists Alberto Vargas had a contract with Esquire Magazine to produce monthly pin-up art during the early forties. Millions of those magazines were sent free to World War II troops. Unlike the other popular Esquire pin-up artist at the time, Gil Elvgren, the Vargas Girls skirted a line of open eroticism making Vargas a target of censors late in the war. Even when they were contraband GI’s loved the Vargas Girls and Vargas never turned down a serviceman’s request to copy one of his girls as a “mascot.” In 1978 the 83 year old Vargas was persuaded to come out of retirement to paint the cover of Candy-O by his niece who was a fan of the Cars.
“I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” – Jessica Rabbit
There’s something special about pin-up art. They’re idealized images that are erotic without being graphic. A pin-up is a throwback to a simpler time when a bit of art could be a motivator and not just another X rated click. Arguably pin-ups objectify women but it’s just as true that it’s an art form embraced by modern women who feel empowered by Bad Girl Art. Rockabilly chic, Suicide Girls, Dita Von Teese; The pin-up is out there and alive in performances, photography, fashion music and tattoos.