Gray wrote a beautiful Elegy to these "unhonored dead" who have no monuments to commemorate their lives. He reminds us:
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laidTheir neglect, says Gray, is the way of the world:
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire.
I think of Gray's elegy when I turn the yellowed pages of old magazines or newspapers and see the valiant work of thousands of now forgotten artists: staff artists for newspapers, draftsmen working in the bullpens of commerical art studios, freelancers eking out a living. Much of their art is best forgotten, but many of these artists were great. They remain anonymous today for reasons unrelated to quality-- born too soon, born too late, drank too much, or perhaps just never caught that lucky break.
Many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Before long, these brittle pages will turn to dust. The beautiful work of these artists will be remembered for only another generation or two by their families before passing on to obscurity. I have no idea how many of these artists are still alive, or what became of them, but I am posting a token handful of commendable drawings so the internet might rescue them from undeserved obscurity.
Gray wrote that in the absence of grand memorials, those who came before us at least deserve "the passing tribute of a sigh." I agree, and this is my sigh for these and other commercial artists who labored so hard in the name of excellence.