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I Love Transit 2014: Jason Vanderhill, TransLinked and Illustrated Vancouver curator, guests posts

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It’s I Love Transit Week and we’re lucky to have Jason Vanderhill, Translinked and Illustrated Vancouver, write a guest blog post for us sharing some of the top transit related images he has found over the years. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmv. We also had the pleasure of having Jason and cohorts on the blog for our Life on Transit series.

Jason Vanderhill

Jason Vanderhill

I have had an interest in transportation related imagery ever since I can remember.

In 2010, I joined Tumblr, and along with Richard and Karen at Translinked.com, we have now compiled over 850 posts on the subject.

The classic travel poster is easily a favourite subcategory of mine, and along with many national airways and railroads, the London Transport and New York’s MTA have a proven track record in this realm.

Not simply confined to the poster, transit related imagery can also appear in brochures, flyers, maps, newspaper ads, and magazine covers.

Below are a few of my favourite posts from around the world, featuring two from London, one from Copenhagen, two more from NYC, and one from the CPR here at home.

Summer Outings by Private Bus (via LTMuseum’s year of the bus)

Summer Outings by Private Bus (via LTMuseum’s year of the bus)

The Tube Train, by Cyril Edward Power (via auctioncentralnews.com)

The Tube Train by Cyril Edward Power (via auctioncentralnews.com)

Wonderful Copenhagen, 1961. New in Vintage Travel Posters. (via Wonderful Copenhagen | Vintagraph)

Wonderful Copenhagen, 1961. New in Vintage Travel Posters. (via Wonderful Copenhagen | Vintagraph)

Grand Central Terminal by painter Olive Ayhens (via nytransitmuseum)

Grand Central Terminal by painter Olive Ayhens (via nytransitmuseum)

Gorgeous. New Yorker magazine, November 8, 2004 (via BoingBoing)

Gorgeous. New Yorker magazine, November 8, 2004 (via BoingBoing)

Canada by Canadian Pacific. A very colourful 1959 travel brochure promoting tourism by train. (via jakealoo)

Canada by Canadian Pacific. A very colourful 1959 travel brochure promoting tourism by train. (via jakealoo)

Collecting our local transit history is also a favourite pastime of mine. One particular challenge I am faced with is correctly attributing the artwork to its creator. It is always rewarding when I can positively identify the artist responsible based on an artistic clue they left behind (preferably a signature!).

One mystery I have not yet solved relates to a very early BCER illustrator who went by the name “Ken“. I have seen this name appear on a number of items from the late 1920s or early 1930s, but I have yet to determine his full name.

Here for example was one ‘lost trolley ad’ that was recovered from underneath the floorboards of an east Vancouver home. You’ve heard of movie posters receiving the same treatment; now you know to look out for trolley ads as well! In the bottom left hand corner of this ad, I could clearly make out the distinctive three letters “Ken”.

Ride with us and Save by "Ken" (via Flickr)

Ride with us and Save by “Ken” (via Flickr)

"Ride with us and Save" signed by Ken (via Flickr)

“Ride with us and Save” signed by Ken (via Flickr)

This BC Electric map that I recently acquired is a signature success story!

I almost missed the tiny text in the bottom right corner of the lady’s dress in this illustration. I instantly recognized Jack Grundle’s signature from a number of other ads I received from his widow Lia Grundle.

I loved the illustration so much, I scanned and digitally restored/transformed the folded handout into a retro-nostalgic poster for all of you to enjoy!

BC Electric transit map (via Tumblr)

BC Electric transit map (via Tumblr)

Another great set of advertising art that I can thankfully attribute is this set of trolley/bus ads by Peter Ewart.

Peter is famous for creating some of the most distinctive travel posters in the CPR’s portfolio, and these ads reveal he was also producing work for the BCER! Special thanks to Peter’s daughter Linda for sending them my way!

BC Electric trolley/bus ads by Peter Ewart (via Tumblr)

BC Electric trolley/bus ads by Peter Ewart (via Tumblr)

If any Buzzer readers have more local historical transit advertising, feel free to send them our way or send them to the Buzzer at thebuzzer@translink.ca.

Author: Allen Tung


3 Comments

  • By Eugene Wong, September 1, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

    @ Jason

    Thanks for doing all of this hard work. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans for me, but it is important to me that it is still done, so I am very thankful that somebody is doing this.

    Hopefully, Translink will advertise itself more in the future.

  • By R.O'Donnell, October 15, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

    Just a guess, but I don’t think the signature says KEN but perhaps says KERR.

  • By Jason Vanderhill, October 18, 2014 @ 4:10 am

    A couple of other people of mentioned to me the suggestion that Ken actually is Kerr. This particular sign may be a red herring, but in most other instances, I have seen KEN spelled in all uppercase. So while it’s true it may be two individual artists, I think it is equally likely this is an example of Ken’s earlier work.

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