The Jobs of Yesteryear Series combines history and surrealism to tell the stories of obsolete jobs. A contemporary glimpse into the past, these mixed media paintings serve as a reminder of times and stories long forgotten.

Each painting is created using only three colors of acrylic paint giving it a historical monochromatic tone and creating the feeling of a tattered black and white photograph. The long-limbed characters and their tools are crafted using hundreds of hand-torn bits of kraft paper, which I collage on top of watercolor paper and paint with an acrylic wash. This unique process brings the character to life and makes the forgotten jobs the focal point of each painting. In addition, the technology or innovation that ultimately led to the job becoming obsolete is subtly included in each painting.An illustrated guide to my process can be found here.

The Jobs of Yesteryear are thought-provoking, conversation pieces that will bring of an air of history and whimsy to any room.

The Gas Jockey  |  16x20 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft on stained birch panel

In the early days of the automobile, full-service gas stations were commonplace and gas jockeys were the jovial workers that served as their lifeblood.  From pumping the gas, checking the oil, and cleaning the windows, gas station attendants would take care of all of the motorists’ needs with a skip in their step.  A series of oil embargos in the 1970’s made prices soar and pinched the majority of full-service stations out of business, even though they remain legally required in New Jersey and Oregon.

The Shocker  |  16x20 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Beneath a big prairie sky, The Shocker would gather the harvested stalks of grain into bundles and stack them so that they could dry in the hot autumn sun.  Harvesting has been an ever-evolving process throughout history and The Shocker gives a glimpse into one aspect of that task. Shocking was replaced, in part, by the invention of the horse-powered hay press.

The Typesetter  |  16x20 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft on stained birch panel

With his trusty composing stick in his left hand, The Typesetter would carefully set each individual letter of whatever he was tasked with printing for the day. This was a laborious way to print multiple copies of text, but the best way at the time. In 1884, Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the linotype machine, which could easily and quickly set whole lines of type using a 90-character keyboard. His invention revolutionized the art of printing.

The Snowshoe Mailman  |  18x24 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch wood

Snowshoe Thompson was an infamous mailman who ferried mail and goods across the Sierra Nevada Mountains on his trusty ten foot long oak skis (they called them snowshoes back then). This crazy Norwegian would top speeds of 60mph and the ninety mile journey only took him 3 days. He was the fastest human on the planet at that time and a true Samaritan, who never received much compensation for his harrowing journeys.