Yellow Springs and The Arts
A sampling of people in the arts that came from or through Yellow Springs, Ohio
|This is a work in progress. This is not intended to be a
complete listing, but a reasonable
representation of major contributors to the arts community who were also residents of the
town. Please email
any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at
- Read Viemeister (industrial and graphic
designer, YSO resident) 1923-1993
- Read Viemeister was a prominent industrial designer who called Yellow Springs his home. He raised a
family, ran a business and influenced the growth of the local culture from 1946 and after died in
Read Viemeister left the New York City and moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1946 to get married and
raise a family. He established Vie Design Studios there in a converted chicken coop. He was among
the designers assembled by Preston Tucker in Chicago to design the ill-fated
Tucker car, now a
symbol of that era (He obviously named his son after the car). Vie Design Studios earned regional
and national recognition for its product and graphic design work for such companies and
organizations as NCR, GE, Standard Register, Mead, Huffy, LeBlond industrial lathes, Indian
Motorcycles and many others. They worked on the interior for the first atomic submarine, the
Nautilus, but he was most proud of the 'First Flight' mural he created for Aviation Hall
of Fame. Like much of his work, the logo designed for Dap caulking products 40 years ago is still
Read Viemeister was raised in Long Island, NY, but moved to Yellow Springs because his new bride,
Beverly Viemeister (also from Long Island) was a student at Antioch. He then convinced Budd
Steinhilber his pal from Pratt Institute, to move out there too, they were partners in Vie Design
Studios for 17 years. Along with the Commies and scientist, Yellow Springs was outpost for a small
group of design pioneers – bringing design to the fertile industrial Midwest. Dick Odiorne, a
writer from Boston helped set Vie Design up in business by offering the chicken brooder house next
to his chicken coop on Gravel Pit Road and sharing clients of his industrial advertising agency:
OIA. (30 years later, there were 8 graphic design companies in the small town)
Viemeister's half page resume that he sent to a prospective client - he was 25 years old -
went like this: "Graduate Pratt Institute; Director of Styling, J Gordon Lippincott & Co.;
Design Consultant, Harley Earle; Head, Dept. Industrial Design, Dayton Art Institute; Member,
American Society of Industrial Design, Art Center Dayton; Recipient, in last few years, of over a
score of first awards for design excellence in graphic arts; Refused associations, three times with
Raymond Loewy, as well as Donald Deskey and Dave Chapman. . ." In 1948, he created the Department
of Industrial Design at the Dayton Art Institute, which he served as both department head and
instructor. He was chair of the town Plan Board.
Viemeister was a Renaissance Man with a Renaissance job, his work includes graphics, CI, products,
furniture, packaging, cars, equipment, exhibitions, interiors, architecture, illustration, but he
also made paintings, sculpture and played the piano. Vie Designed many local things, like the town
logo and the college logo, Trail Side Museum and gates and bridges in the Glen, Morris Bean and
Vernay's logos. Viemeister and Steinhelber bought land (Talus Drive and a piece on ???) where
they designed and built their own modern homes. They created many Huffy bikes and lawn movers, and a
Jurgen's lotion bottle. His most long lasting designs include Dap's logo and a
photographer's dark room timer. He was one of the designers of the 1948 Tucker car (the car
with 3 headlights where the one in the middle turns with the steering wheel). As well as leader of
the Lippencott team and he is credited with designing the front and rear bumpers and grills). But
his was probably most proud of the ceramic mural he designed for the Aviation Hall of Fame (now
displayed in the Air Force Museum) In 1972 Read envisioned a pixilated version of the famous picture
of the Wright brother's first flight – the famous picture was scanned and printed out
using a special range of icons Read designed so that each section of the mosaic was constructed from
little symbols – portraits of each brother, the airplane, a bicycle, a wind tunnel, etc one
each for every step in the gray scale. The process of making the mural used the lasted technology
being developed in the Dayton area – laser printers, drum scanners, and computer programs
– but the tiles were made and organized in Italy using ancient technology!
He was extraordinarily talented and prolific, like Picasso, it's amazing to see the number of
pieces. Both the quality and the quantity of one person's contribution make his story
interesting. Because his family saves things, his life and work was very well documented (Antioch
College now owns and is organizing his archives). With his sketches, renderings, photos and
His wife, Beverly finally graduated from Antioch in 1965, went on to get her masters in social work,
ran for County Commissioner and served on the Board of Trustees of Antioch University. Their
children are doing interesting things: his son's Trucker and Kris opened Ohio Silver in 1971
where they made jewelry and sold it. Heidi moved to Colorado, Kris moved to Virginia where he has
collected lots of stuff, built a darkroom, wood working shop, ceramic studio and small foundry, he
is a Jack-of-all-trades designing and building things like restaurants. Roslyn moved to NYC and
opened Shoofly a children's shoe store. And Tucker is a famous industrial designer, he helped
found Smart Design, opened the New York studio of frogdesign, as EVP of R&D at Razorfish built
the 3-D product capability world-wide, and is now building the US partnership with the Dutch design
He knew how to make things look good and he helped improve people's lives. One of his key
criteria for the design of the Glenn Helen Building was that no unnecessary trees be cut. So he
carefully plotted all the trees on the site and designed the building that fit around most of them.
The building looks like it was always there. And a lot of his work is still helping people.
-- bio courtesy of Tucker Viemeister. See also
IDSA- 100 Years of Design
- Budd Steinhilber (industrial and graphic
designer, YSO resident)
- Winner of the
Alumni Achievement Award. Budd Steinhilber apprenticed at Loewy office as student at Pratt
Institute. Graduated in 1943 and started work with Dohner & Lippincott in NY immediately. In 1947
became part of team designing the Tucker car. In 1949 he joined Read Viemeister as
partner until 1964 when he relocated to San Francisco and subsequently established a partnership
with Gene Tepper (Tepper & Steinhilber Associates), then in 1975 a partnership with graphic designer
Barry Deutsch (Steinhilber & Deutsch Inc.). He was part of the team
(along with Read Viemeister) that designed
the Tucker automobile. "The Car of Tomorrow," as
featured in Francis Ford Coppala's movie "Tucker: A Man and His Dream."
See Read Viemeister (above)
for more on Vie Design and related info.
-- excerpts courtesy of IDSA- 100 Years of Design
- Tucker Viemeister (industrial and graphic
designer, YSO native)
- Tucker Viemister, born in Ohio graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York. He then worked in his
father's (Read Viemeister, above) industrial and graphic design firm, Vie Design Studios.
He helped found some important design organizations: Smart Design, frogdesign NY, Razorfish and
now Springtime USA. For 17 years he was busy at Smart Design helping to create products, packages,
environments, branding, and graphics that fulfill economic, ergonomic and psychonomic needs; like
the widely-acclaimed Oxo "GoodGrips" universal kitchen tools, and lots of comfortable, practical,
profitable, and fun stuff. In 1997 he organized and opened frogdesign's New York multi-disciplinary
studio. From 1999 to 2001, as Executive Vice President, Research & Development for Razorfish, Tucker
built the physical industrial design capabilities and helped direct Razorfish on a global level.
Over his career he won many design awards, including ID Magazine's Design Review and the Presidential Achievement Award.
are in the permanent collection of the the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. His work is in museum collections, he's written lots of
articles, organized national conferences for the ACD and IDSA, edited Product Design 6, lectures
from Budapest to Tokyo, and has taught at Yale, Parsons, Cal Arts, University of Cincinnati, and
Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Creation Industrielle, Helsinki University of Art and Design, and
Pratt Institute. He helped Lisa Krohn with her seminal "Phonebook"
project at Cranbrook Academy of Art and is working as "Guru" for The L!BRARY Initiative with the New
York City Board of Education, architect Henry Myerberg, and the Robin Hood Foundation. He is serving
on the Board of the Architectural League of New York and is a Fellow of the Industrial Designers
Society of America. This seamless integration on all media demands a new kind of designer, that's
why Metropolis magazine called him the "last industrial designer."
Tucker Viemeister is heading Springtime USA (a partnership with the young
Dutch industrial design company). The studio in New York focuses on opportunities in product, new
media, branding, space, and social strategy - projects that leverage Tucker's special talents and
experience creating lots of comfortable, practical, profitable, and fun stuff.
-- excerpts courtesy of International Design Network
Foundation and Parsons School of Design: Center
for New Design
- Axel Bahnsen (photographer, Antioch alumnus)
- Axel Bahnsen (1907-1978) attended
Antioch College and became a photographer in the 1920s as a student. By his early twenties he
had earned an international reputation as a "pictorialist," the dominant photographic art form of
the 1930s and 1940s. After 1930 the Photographic Society of America ranked him among the world's
top 50 photographers.
While Bahnsen's distinguished artistic career is of great interest (367 award winning Bahnsen salon
prints reside in the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library Archives of Wright State University), it is the
commercial work that makes the collection of particular archival value. Photographs of Antioch
faculty, staff, and incoming students, as well as the portraits of the studio's broad local
clientele form an extraordinary historical record. Preservation of the massive collection is an
ongoing project at Antiochiana.
-- excerpts courtesy of Antiochiana
- Dennie Eagleson (photographer, YSO resident, Antioch faculty)
- Dennie Eagleson is an assistant professor of
photography at Antioch College. Eagleson received a bachelor of arts degree from Antioch College and a master of fine arts in
photography from the University of Cincinnati. She has recent showings at The Dayton Art Institute and Antioch College.
- Robert & Gertrude Metcalf (stained glass artist and teacher, former Antioch faculty)
Robert and Gertrude were faculty members of Antioch College from 1946 –1969.
Robert was the Chairman of the Art Department. Robert M. Metcalf was considered to be one of the experts in the field of stained glass in this country.
When Kodachrome was first put on the market he and his wife Gertrude, obtained a grant to photograph the stained glass of Europe taking 11,0000 slides.
They were the only people to do this prior to WWII.
Gertrude Metcalf was a teacher of Arts and Crafts for children in the Education Department and later a lesion between Antioch and the employers of
students for Co-op jobs in New York, which was part of the Work-Study program. During their tenure at Antioch College they maintained
their stained glass studio in Yellow Spring, and created stained glass windows throughout the United States. Together, they authored a book,
"Making Stained Glass", published by McGraw Hill.
For more information see ica.princeton.edu/metcalf
See also Whitney Leblanc (student of Robert's, a stained glass artist) listing in Film/TV/Video
- Tom Bachtell (cartoonist and illustrator, YSHS graduate)
Tom Bachtell is a Chicago-based cartoonist and illustrator. His drawings and caricatures appear each week
in "The Talk of the Town" and other sections of The New Yorker, a publication for which he has been drawing for more than 15 years,
and many other national and international publications including Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Condé Nast Traveler, Mother Jones
and Chicago Tribune. Working primarily in brush and ink, his drawing style pays homage to many of the classic illustrators and
cartoonists of the 1920s and 1930s. He has drawn countless celebrities and politicians -- including more than his share of
George W. Bushes. He is the illustrator for When I Knew, a new book release from HarperCollins. . . . Primarily self-taught
as an artist, Tom Bachtell was originally schooled as a classical pianist at the Cleveland (Ohio) Institute of Music and
received a B.A. in English and Music from Case Western Reserve University in 1980.
He graduated from Yellow Springs High School in 1975.
-- additional info at chrisglenn.com
- Ed Fisher (cartoonist, Antioch alumni)
- Award winning New Yorker Cartoonist Ed Fisher has published five books of cartoons including Ed Fisher's
Doomsday Book (1961) and Maestro, Please (1992). Fisher's original pen and ink drawings for cartoons that
appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, and Esquire will be on display, as will a filmstrip created by Fisher
about The Antioch Honor Code.
- Amos E. Mazzolini (sculptor, Antioch professor)
Amos E. Mazzolini was born in Barga, Italy, in 1893, but, from the age of six,
spent his youth in Germany, receiving his art degree from the Düsseldorf Kunst Academie. He was brought to Yellow Springs in the 1920's
by Arthur E. Morgan, then president of Antioch College, in order to develop the Antioch Foundry as part of the college's new work-study program.
The foundry later split in two, with the commercial part becoming the Morris Bean Foundry, while Mazzolini created his art foundry. The excellence of
this foundry attracted such artists as Carl Milles, and it executed major works for all over the United States. Amos Mazzolini was also a superb sculptor,
working in a traditional mode. He created fountains and other public sculpture, and executed numerous portrait sculptures, both in the round and in relief.
Mazzolini was Antioch's sculpture professor for thirty years up until the time of his death in 1957. His kindness and generosity to students who showed
serious interest in the visual arts was legendary.
|Special thanks to: Nicholas Q Dewey, Rebecca Eschliman,
The Yellow Springs News,
Scott Sanders and Antiochiana
For an overview of Yellow Springs Ohio history from 1803 to 2003, see the
For info on the YSO Bicentennial (July 4, 2003) and YSO background info,
see The Yellow Springs Historical Society.
*Irwin Inman photos from the book, "Yellow
Springs and Beyond" (Wild Goose Press)
Please email any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at
-- Page last updated April 19 2013