No doubt you've seen Anne Taintor's goods. Her images of smiling women from '30s, '40s and '50s ads coupled with sassy lines such as, "I feel a sin coming on" and "Guess where I'm tattooed" adorn products as diverse and useful as emery boards, pill boxes, cosmetic bags and, thankfully, flasks (all priced from $4.50 to $25). But did you know that Taintor's a local girl? She's been designing her wares out of Abiquiu since 1985. Her line is available anywhere anything awesome is sold and at annetaintor.com. What says "I get you" to your new-mom friend more than a bag embossed with "Wow! I get to give birth AND change diapers!"? Nothing. Except maybe that flask ...
Where did the idea behind your line come from?
I've been making collages forever. ... Back in 1985, when I first started working with images of women from '40s and '50s advertising, the captions were words I cut out of magazines, just as I cut out the women themselves, and every piece was one-of-a-kind and just sort of random. I finally figured out that I could make multiples of images, and I believe the first piece I reproduced was "intellectuals gone bad" on a picture of a few women having cocktails.
You're introducing more ethnic faces in your products. Why is that happening now?
I’ve had so many requests over the years to please, please, please add a little diversity to my line. Since I work with found imagery, this has not been easy. Print media in the '30s, '40s and '50s were maniacally devoted to promoting just one narrow ideal: the slim, cheerful, perfectly groomed, white dream-girl-slash-housewife. Our first African-American ladies are still pretty cheerful, and they’re still perfectly groomed, but hey, one stereotype at a time! June Cleaver eat your heart out!
What's your favorite item for a gift?
I much prefer small gifts; whether I am the giver or the receiver, I like a gift to be a token of affection rather than a major investment. Beyond that, the perfect gift should say something about the giver and about the recipient. I value humor in my life and in my friends, so pretty much every time I’ll choose something I know will make someone smile. And I love a gift that is very specific: For a hostess gift, coasters are always fun; for a friend who is stressed out about work, maybe a mouse pad and some sticky notes; and for a friend who is excited about an upcoming vacation, a luggage tag is perfect.