Tobacco Period

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Large Matchbook Paintings
Small Matchbook Paintings
Red Zone Views
Cigar  Watercolors
Vrej Baghoomian Gallery
All photography
Sylvie Ball


Welcome to my "Tobacco Period"...the years 1987 through 1990.  This term loosely applies to a body of work inspired by vintage "printed matter" that either promoted a place to use tobacco, such as a "drive in", night club, diner etc. or tobacco products themselves such as Havana cigars:  The two groups of source material were:

1.  a collection of '50's & '60's matchbooks from restaurants & nightclubs in the American southwest.  This collection assembled by "unknown" was brought to New York by a friend of mine who used to live in LA.  The results, The Matchbook Paintings, were shown in 1989 at a nightclub with red walls at 440 West 54th Street called
The Red Zone.  The invitation was "matchbook shaped" and was based on one of the matchbooks featuring "The Shamrock Drive In."  This show was organized by the late Dean Rolston of 56 Bleecker Gallery.

 2.   antique cigar labels that I picked up at NYC street fairs.  The cigar labels were not the small ones used on the cigars themselves, but were 4 1/2" squares emblazoned with short one or two word cigar names and were probably meant to be applied to cigar boxes.  The cigar names, like "Born" and "Clear Title" were bold yet ambiguous and could be read either as nouns or verbs or "double entendres."  This work was shown in 1990 at The Vrej Bagoomian Gallery at 555 Broadway.

Click at left to see groups of work from this period.

The bar at the Red Zone in April 1989.  The club only lasted a year or two.  Photo: 1989 Sylvie Ball