The Pin-up Files

Joyce Ballantyne pin-up artist


Joyce Ballantyne was a noteworthy member of the "girl's club" among pin-up artists - her women were often more natural than the studiously coy poses of her male counterparts

In 1945 Brown & Bigelow introduced Joyce Ballantyne to their national sales and marketing staff as "the brightest young star on the horizon of illustrative art".

Joyce Ballantyne pin-up artist

Joyce Ballantyne was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, just after World War One. She attended Nebraska University for two years, painting murals in her spare time for department stores and movie theatres before leaving to study commercial art. After studying at the Academy of Art in Chicago for two years, she joined Kling Studios, where she painted Rand McNally road maps and illustrated a dictionary for the Cameo Press. She then moved on to the Stevens/Gross studio, where she stayed for more than ten years.

Influenced, as much of the studio was, by Haddon Sundblom, she became part of a group of artists who were extremely close, both professionally and personally, including Gil Elvgren, Earl Gross, Al Moore, Coby Whitmore, Thornton Utz, and Al Buell. She was also to become one of the three best known female pin-artists of the period along with Pearl Frush and Zoë Mozert.

She had first met Elvgren when he was teaching at the Academy of Art and she was a student. After years of working closely together they often shared assignments if one of them became ill or if a schedule was tight. Like her friend Elvgren, she preferred to work in oil on canvas.

In 1945, Ballantyne began painting, pinups for Brown & Bigelow, having been recommended by Gil Elvgren. Ballantyne designed a "novelty-fold" direct mail pin-up brochure for the company and eventually was given the honour of creating an Artist's Sketch Pad twelve-page calendar.

Ballantyne's most important pinups were the twelve she painted in 1954 for a calendar published by Shaw-Barton. When it was released nationally in 1955, the demand from new advertisers was so great that the company reprinted it many times. Ballantyne then went on to paint one of the most famous advertising images ever. Coppertone suntan lotion asked several illustrators to submit preliminary ideas for a special twenty-four-sheet billboard for their American and international markets. Ballantyne won the commission, and her final painting (based somewhat on an ideal of Art Frahm) became a national icon. Its little pig-tailed girl whose playful dog pulls at her bathing suit charmed the entire nation.

Ballantyne also did much advertising work for other national clients, including Sylvania TV, Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, and Schlitz Beer. She painted pinups for the calendar companies Louis P Dow and Goes and illustrations for such magazines as Esquire and Penthouse.

In 1974, Ballantyne moved with her husband to Ocala, Florida where she lived until her death.

Joyce Ballantyne biography borrowed from The Great American Pin-Up by Charles G Martignette & Louis K Meisel.

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