Yellow Springs and The Arts

A sampling of people in the arts that came from or through Yellow Springs, Ohio

The Yellow Springs ART & DESIGN: [back to main index] The Yellow Springs

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

Photo courtesy of
*Irwin Inman
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 1993.

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 used today.

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 reproductions.

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 company, Springtime.

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
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Budd Steinhilber (industrial and graphic designer, YSO resident)

Budd Steinhilber
Winner of the Pratt Institute 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
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Tucker Viemeister (industrial and graphic designer, YSO native)

Tucker Viemeister

Photo © 2000
Katherine Moriwaki at
Parsons School of Design:
Center for New Design
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. His products 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
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Axel Bahnsen (photographer, Antioch alumnus)

Axel Bahnsen

Photo courtesy of
Antiochiana
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

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Dennie Eagleson (photographer, YSO resident, Antioch faculty)

Dennie Eagleson

Photo courtesy of
*Irwin Inman
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.


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Robert & Gertrude Metcalf (stained glass artist and teacher, former Antioch faculty)

Robert & Gertrude Metcalf photo

Photo courtesy of
Robert Metcalf
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

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Tom Bachtell (cartoonist and illustrator, YSHS graduate)

Tom Bachtell cartoon
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

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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.

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Amos E. Mazzolini (sculptor, Antioch professor)

Amos E. Mazzolini
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.


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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 Yellow Springs News.

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