Friday, 12 September 2014

Ger Rijff - Art & Elvis

I have been a fan of Ger Rijff's art since the early 1980s. Known worldwide for his knowledge and extensive collection and archive of mainly 1950s and early 1960s Elvis photographs, he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of Elvis Aaron Presley. Additionally, he is a renowned artist and cartoonist, favouring a vintage theme and style within his work. For those that are new to this splendid chap, then please check out one of his on line hangouts;  HERE
GER RIJFF
Background piece based on an informal email correspondence…
Wild hair and a vintage radio

Ger Rijff was born in Amsterdam in 1951. He got infected by the Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll virus through his brother, who was seven years older than he was, and he was the one who brought home the first 45 vinyl records that Ger devoured. It was also around the same time that he started buying Dutch and American comic books at a local second hand bookshop. Being inspired by the illustrations and cartoon drawings in these comics, Ger tried drawing his comic book heroes at home, after school hours. Friends and family told him he was good at it and that he had talent. While still at school he did a two year course in decoration painting, and learnt how to do lettering on all kinds of posters.

 In 1970, he landed a job as an illustrator for a monthly teen magazine. In 1974 Ger went freelance, until 1980 when he landed a job at a publishing company Drukwerk of Amsterdam (this is where he designed and made up these excellent rock ‘n’ roll postcards, and loads of other illustrations).


 In 1984, Ger started work on his first professional book, about Elvis Presley in the 1950s; ‘Long Lonely Highway’. After the success of this publication, other titles soon followed, and having a huge 1950s Elvis photo archive he was often asked by American book and film companies for Elvis related material and pictures for their projects.
FIRST PROFESSIONAL BOOK

Ger got to see Elvis in concert in 1976, and also his two final concerts in 1977. He said of seeing Elvis at that stage of his life;
 “He was bigger than life, and the shows I saw are now beautiful memories”.

 In 2003, Ger fell ill, and that by and large ended his career in art and design. Nowadays, to keep himself busy, he has a Facebook page focusing on early Elvis and Americana. He has a wonderful son, and cat, and lives a reclusive life.

Above; one of the few drawings that survived the 1970's

TCB


BACKSTAGE AT THE HAYRIDE


LITTLE RICHARD

The beginning above and the finished below




The freelance sinful years
 A 1970's pop take on Rock 'n' Roll


THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE DRAWINGS

BIG JOE TURNER

 Unfinished sketch 1980's 
Front cover design of a fan magazine focusing on Ger Rijff's rock n roll cartoons.  Another self published magazine by a friend in the early 1980's only 10 copies made.


 LIKE THIS POST? THEN CHECK OUT ROCK & ROLL POSTCARDS

7 comments:

  1. great blog on Ger Rijff's iconic artwork, thanks!

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    1. You're very welcome. I enjoyed doing this one. Proud...

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    2. Gerrit here with a thank you for this blog
      Tall Hair (Ger) was one of my inspirations in the Elvis world ,after seeing his cartoon work growing up it was my goal to pick up my pencil , his contributions in the Elvis world are priceless...thanks for this item

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    3. Thanks for the comment Gerrit, I was inspired by Tall Hair's art too even to the extend that I had a suit tailored in the same style as the cool looking dude holding the radio on the beach. One cool postcard.

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  2. I will put it succinctly : Ger is the coolest cat on planet Earth.

    Thanks for this WONDERFUL article. It made my day.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Josep. I am pleased so many people like it. But it is a shame that not many people choose to comment. Thanks again.

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  3. Thank you very much for this amazing article. Well done!

    Two words will always be synonymous with the 50's Elvis: Ger Rijff.
    Rijff has set the standard with his groundbreaking and earthshaking publications. The devotion and enthousiasm that inspires his evergrowing body of work is something that will never be surpassed.
    Ger has my utmost respect and I salute him for being my inspiration.

    Thanks again for this article!

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