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Joyce Elaine (Brand) Ballantyne

 (1918 - 2006)
Joyce Elaine (Brand) Ballantyne was active/lived in Illinois, Florida.  Joyce Ballantyne is known for pin-up girl illustration, celebrity portrait painting.

Joyce Elaine (Brand) Ballantyne

Biography from the Archives of askART

Ballantyne Joyce Elaine  (Brand)
(1918 Norfolk, Nebraska-2006 Ocala, Florida)

Also known as Joyce Brand

Described early in her career as a bright young star in illustration art, Joyce Ballantyne gained national fame for diverse subjects ranging from pin-up Calendar girl images to wholesome Ovaltine ads. She was showcased for the quality of her work and for pioneering pin-up art, which as an art form had been dominated by male illustrators.

Of her approach to this subject, she said: “The trick is to make a pinup flirtatious. But you don’t go dirty. You want the girl to look a little like your sister.” (Associated Press) But her best-known work and one described as one of the most famous advertising images ever, was her Coppertone Suntan iconic pig-tailed girl whose bathing suit bottom, threatened by sunburn, is being tugged by a playful black puppy. For the image, Joyce used her three-year old daughter, Cheri Brand, and for the completed painting she earned $2,500.

Although illustration art brought her the most attention, Joyce later referred to it as “just another baby ad. Kind of boring.” (Fox News) Of special interest to her was portraiture, something that became a primary interest during her later years. She received commissions from numerous, well-known people including Jonathan Winters, the comedian; and General John Leonard Hines of the United States Army.

Joyce Ballantyne was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, and was raised post World War I in Omaha, a Missouri River bordered city whose fortunes were tied to railroad transportation, agriculture, and other industries including that of Ballantyne's parents, Robert Scott Ballantyne and Ethel Colwell Ballantyne. Joyce had a sister, Ethel, three years older. In 1932 in the midst of the Depression Era, when she was age 14, her father, who owned a movie theatre, incorporated The Ballantyne Company, which led to family prominence, wealth, and continued business name recognition into the 21st century. The Company began as manufacturers of sound and air conditioning equipment for movie theatres, but following World War II hitched itself to the very popular entertainment of drive in movie theaters by providing all the necessary equipment from fryers to food service to hundreds of developers across the country.

For college she was enrolled at the University of Omaha and lived both in an apartment near the University at 4819 Chicago Street and then with her parents at 5144 Parker Street. Showing a work ethic tied to making money from her youth, she sold paper dolls for a dollar a piece and also took jobs as a decorative painter for department stores and, likely using her father’s connections, became a mural painter for local movie theatres. She won a scholarship from Disney’s School of Animation in California; however, it was rescinded when it was learned she was a female.

In 1941, Joyce at age 23 married Joseph Ellis Brown, whom she later divorced. She moved to Chicago where she studied commercial art for two years at the American Academy of Art. She joined Kling Studios, which had been founded in 1934 and was one of the most prestigious illustration art firms in America. She also painted road maps for Rand McNally, and spent ten years working for the Stevens/Gross Studio, founded by Earl Gross, and which originally was named Stevens, Gross, Sundblom & Staltz. 

Joyce was much influenced and then touted by Chicago illustrator Haddon Sundblom and the circle around him including Giv Elgren, noted pin-up illustrator. Elgren recommended Ballantyne to Brown and Bigelow Calendar Company, and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, they marketed her work, which included a novelty-fold direct mail pin-up brochure and a twelve-page “Artist Sketch Pad” calendar.

Success continued including the Coppertone ad, sleeping baby image for Pamper diapers, a series of pin-ups for Shaw-Barton Company and Sports Afield magazine illustration for twenty years. Other clients were Ovaltine, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, Schlitz Beer, Esquire, and Penthouse magazines.

And she did not forget her Nebraska ties. In 1941, when friends of hers in Kearney bought the Empress Theatre and changed the name to Fort Theatre, they asked her to paint murals for the building. Agreeing spent time there on site and painted Indian Encampment and Wagon Train.

For illustration commission artwork, Ballantyne preferred oil on relatively large size canvas, 30 X 24 inches, and she often posed as her own model as well as occasionally using her daughter whose father was Jack Brand, a television executive, whom Ballantyne married in 1951 in Chicago when she was age 33.

In 1974, the couple moved to Ocala, Florida where she took up fine art portrait painting and lived until 2006, when she died at age 88. She had moved to Florida to be near her retired parents, and it is likely that she and her father, who died in 1976 shared moments of mutual pride. She was a famous artist, and he was the Ballantyne of the Ballantyne Company whose technologies were ‘everywhere’ including the simulation projector in the IMAX theatre at Epcot Center in Orlando.

Sources:, Wikipedia, 10 Jun. 2014

"Brown and Bigelow", Wikipedia, 10 Jun. 2014
Erpelding, Russ, Personal Interview, 6 Feb. 2014, ARTreach Curator, Museum of Nebraska Art

"FOX NEWS, Artist Who Created Famed Coppertone Girl Dies at 88”, Associated Press, Web, 7 Feb. 2014

Funding Universe, Web, Jun. 1 2014

Heise, Kenan, "Earl Gross, Artist Whose Work Graced Tribune," Chicago Tribune, 26 Mar. 1993, Web

"Joyce Ballantyne", Wikipedia, Web, 10 Jun 2014

"Obituary Joyce Ballantyne," Ballantyne of Omaha, Inc. History, Web, 10 Feb. 2014

"Obituary: Joyce Ballantyne Brand, 88, Commercial Artist Created Iconic Coppertone Image,” Los Angeles Times Archives, May 19, 2006, Web

"Wendell King", wendell-king-and-his-amazing-art, Web, Sep. 2015

Researched, written, and copyrighted by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier, 2015
Museum of Nebraska Art Project:
Their Place, Their Time: Women Artists in Nebraska, 1820s-1940

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About  Joyce Elaine (Brand) Ballantyne

Born:  1918 - Norfolk, Nebraska
Died:   2006 - Ocala, Florida
Known for:  pin-up girl illustration, celebrity portrait painting