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Advertising Artistry

Advertising is undoubtedly an aesthetic and cultural object, yet advertisers are rarely recognised as artists. In this issue, we explore the relationship between advertising and the arts from the practitioners perspective.

We reprint a delightful chapter from Shirley Polykoff s autobiography Does She...Or Doesn’t She?, in which she details the making of one of her most famous campaigns. The eponymous Miss Clairol tagline, which originates from a hilarious exchange with her mother-in-law, could be said to have single-handedly created the market for hair dying products. Polykoff reflects on how her personal life came to bear on her professional successes, during a time when female advertising executives where few and far between.

In Is it Possible To Be a Commercial Artist? Dilemmas Faced by Advertising Industry Employees with Artistic Backgrounds in Poland, Kamil Luczaj interviews Polish creatives on the everyday tensions they face between artistry and commerce. He hereby continues to document an already rich history of artist advertisers, but shines a light on the Polish context. It is clear that the artist identity is difficult to uphold in commercial contexts, and a reconciliation seems unlikely.

Michael L. Ross delves deeply into these precarious tensions and dual identities in his book Designing Fictions: Literature Confronts Advertising (McGill-Queens University Press, 2015), which Astrid Van den Bossche reviews for this issue. Ross documents a history of literary renditions of advertising, in which each tale varies in its celebration or condemnation of the realities of the promotional world.

Linda M. Scott

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