Bettie Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008) was an American model who gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”, her jet black hair, blue eyes, and trademark bangs have influenced artists for generations. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Page lived in California in her early adult years before moving to New York City to pursue work as an actress. There, she began to find work as a pin-up model, and posed for dozens of photographers throughout the 1950s. Page was “Miss January 1955”, one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to the Associated Press in 2008.
Everyone has a favorite celebrity. Millions of people fill their walls with pictures of their favorite star, athlete, or historical person, especially if it is presented as a work of art. If it is a master’s rendition of that special personality, then the work itself commands attention. A classic portrait of someone’s cherished celebrity often fulfills the shopper’s gift need. When they look for that special item, they can find it in the Gary Saderup Galleries, where California artist Gary Saderup offers his masterpieces in charcoal to the public. Gary Saderup wants his audience to “see into the hearts” of his subjects. If you look into the eyes of his works, you can see just that. He has been blessed with a special talent.
At age five, Gary began art lessons and continued his drawing throughout childhood. In high school, he embraced the theatre arts, which led to an early career as an actor and director. Building on his multi-faceted abilities, he majored in illustration and film while attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Gary’s work has been in publication for twenty years. He began by drawing his personal Hollywood heroes and offering them for sale. As the appreciation for his artwork grew, admirers inundated him with requests. They wanted Gary’s particular vision of their own heroes and loved ones. Thousands of people purchase Gary’s artwork each year as everyone finds their favorite faces on display. Art collectors purchase the limited editions, masses of buyers all over the world purchase the lithographs, and special works are commissioned for private individuals.
Charcoal drawing is one of the most difficult of arts to master, and Gary is often mistaken for an air-brush artist. Yet, his flawless style, when examined closely, reveals the delicate application of charcoal to the surface by his hand alone. Just study his collection to see the characterization, the textures of hair, the skin tones and, most importantly, the eyes.
So what makes a face unique? The image of that face which remains in your heart and stains your memory.
If eyes are the windows of the soul, then look deeply as you feel the persona of Marilyn Monroe flirtatiously staring back at you, the generous heart of Michael Landon looking off into the spiritual distance, or the compassionate strength exuded by John Wayne. Martin Luther King seems to reflect his life’s divine purpose. The list of descriptions goes on, and the world receives artist Gary Saderup as a conservator of these souls. Gary Saderup makes a face unique.