Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mike Hinge - ONYX (The ONYX Group)

The late sixties avant garde, counter culture art group ONYX, which Mike Hinge was a member along with founding members JW Rainey, Ron Williams, Tommy Simpson and Patrick Redson  amongst others, now at long last have a blog. See it here. This is exciting and I am looking forward to the journey. All the best.

Onyx (letterhead) -  From the collection of Mike Hinge's A4 photocopies date Unknown

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mike Hinge - 81st Birthday Anniversary - Alex Jay

Thanks again to Alex Jay for another priceless contribution. Here we have a postcard to Alex from Mike when he returned to stay in his native New Zealand between 1983-1984 (Mike would have been age 53 when he wrote this postcard). I have copied and pasted Alex's email as he explains the contents and context of Mike's message.


Hi Ivan,

I was cleaning out a box of papers and found this New Zealand postcard from Mike. Here's what he wrote:

Hi! Alex, that Star Wars book [Return of the Jedi] you designed finaley [sic] turned up in a city bookshop.
Found no interesting &'s [ampersands] yet. Its still raining off & on here so must be one of the wetest [sic]
summers ever which makes me curious about N.Y.C. if it had that severe winter as predicted. NZ as a
country goes into a total stop/siesta/holiday period around Xmas, so been slow…I'll bet your as busy as
ever. Have designed one logo, painted a Romantic Illus, for a sml [small] poster (ice cream) & two storyboard
for household cleanser. Hearing the standard pop music on the radio nothing outrageous & the color tube has
so many bad British soaps, or chuckle-alongs it makes me cringe. The "Police" played here so Rock Riot
written up in paper.

Regards Mike

I designed two Star Wars: Return of the Jedi books, the novelization and a sketchbook; I don't know which
book Mike referred to. I have a small collection of wood type ampersands, which Mike saw, and recently I

He found work in NZ but he didn't bring printed samples when he returned to NYC. I'm sure he was desperate
to hear new music; things were too quiet in NZ. He grew restless and returned to NYC.


I wonder if anyone has, remembers or knows of the painted romantic ice cream illustration? 

I have looked at one of Mike's later resumes and during Mike's time back in New Zealand between 1983 - 1984 he worked at Campbell Advertising in Auckland as an Advertising Designer.

Mike Hinge - 81st Birthday Anniversary - Darren Shroeder

Darren Shroeder webmaster and editor of Small Press Printed Matters emailed me some early illustrations of Mike's in the form of two publicity flyers from when Mike was still living in New Zealand before emigrating to the USA. I'm guessing it probably dates from sometime around about 1954. The same year which Mike illustrated "Time Fanzine" with Monica Naughton which they wrote and published together. It might be that Mike was age 23 when he made these illustrations? It would be great if anyone could date these flyers.

The first flyer is for Alien9+ and the second is for Auckland Science Fiction Club.

Bottom Flyer: Auckland Science Fiction Club: Size - 14.5 x  13.7

Mike Hinge - 147

Today is Mike's birthday, he would have been 81 years old. I wish that he was still here with us to see and hear more about his work and life. 

Here is an unpublished cover for Amazing Stories Magazine.

Mike Hinge - Amazing (unpublished cover) . Marker pen on white paper. Approximate size 48 x 61cm. Date Unknown. Unsigned.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mike Hinge - Good Times - Hard Times

The Good Times - Mike Emigrated in 1958 from New Zealand and Arrived in Los Angeles USA to study at The Art Centre School of Design, Mike's artistic career was about to go from one strength to another with an intriguing variety of employment at some major US companies around about their peak of success. Starting with his first employment in the US in 1959 as a designer for the May Company department store, followed by another designer job at a newspaper The Los Angeles Herald Examiner. It seems that there were no shortage of opportunities for Mike in these early days some albeit brief as an example in 1962 a four-month employment at Reprise Records (the record company founded by Frank Sinatra). In 1966 Mike moved to New York and got employment as an art director at Young & Rubicam and afterwards at BBDO (in 1967 gaining a prize at the 13th Annual Type Director's Club Show TDC XIII). Then perhaps the most exciting years to follow as Mike also working in experimental fine art and exhibiting; in 1969 he did the front cover for Witzend issue 6 and in the same year came Mike's big break into SF from Ted White who commissioned  interior and front cover illustrations for Fantastic Stories and Amazing. The work from then on continued to flow steadily with more magazines and book illustrations up until around about 1985/1988 where the opportunities were becoming harder to find. 

The Hard Times - It is 1989 and Mike has no money he can't afford to eat let alone pay his rent and as Mike puts it in the letter he wrote (below) he's, "Running around like the proverbial Dutch boy stopping leaks in the dike". The letter tells of Mike's desperate situation and gratefulness to his friend that has just sent him some money. It is a wet and blustery day.

At the very bottom of the letter Mike is referring to two copies of the Mike Hinge Experience.

The S.F Encyclopedia U.K Publication that Mike mentions is The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Pan Books 1977 (page from the Encyclopedia with Face (1972) below)

Shorty Rogers & his Giants on Reprise Records and the record cover 
by Mike Hinge (below)

The front cover has a Mike Hinge Credit bottom left, this is the first Record cover I have found by Mike. If it had not been for Mike mentioning his trip to the second hand record store in this letter I am not sure how long it would have been until this one would have come to light, such an amazing find both letter and record cover.

In one of Mike's resume's he wrote, "Record cover design ideas and comps.. Pick and buy type, use old engravings, lay down coloured zip on photoprints for wraparounds with bleed. (Reprise Records)".

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mike Hinge - Resume 1

Todays post is of Mike Hinge's resume from the late 60's circa 1966/67, earliest entry from 1958. Thank you very much to Sanford Meschkow for keeping this resume safely all these years and to Matt Howarth for scanning and emailing them to me (there are also 5 more resumes from Sandford's files that I will share shortly). 

I have re-typed the resume and have also included the original scans. 



Name:       Mike Hinge

Address:   55 West 14th Street, New York, New York (Apt. 14-M)

Telephone:  243-6939


October 1966 – Present

  Experimental fine art –
       Light Sculptures
       16mm color movie

July 1966 – October 1966

YOUNG & RUBICAM, INC. – 285 Madison AvenueNew York, N.Y.
(Alan Thompson, Department Head)

Art Director (Freelance)

Eastern Airlines, Mexico Magnifico – conceptual designs
and presentations. Exhibit design, posters, displays,
corporate design, mailing pieces.
Gulf Oil California – 24-Sheet poster concepts, envelope stuffers, pamphlets
General Electric Co. – exhibit displays
Keebler – supermarket booth
General Foods – brochure
Plymouth – newspaper ads: full page, color, black & white, double truck. Showroom and institutional exhibit.

August 1965 – March 1966

THE FELDMAN COMPANY – 612 S. Wall StreetLos Angeles, Calif.
Designers and Manufacturers of Lighting Fixtures and Lamps
(Ed Fizdale, Chief Engineer)

Product Designer-Illustrator

  Catalog illustration: 3-point perspective (measuring)
Product design: Lighting fixtures, lamps, chandeliers
Drafting: Shop drawings, blueprint parts assembly

March 1964 – August 1965

FREELANCE–Mike Hinge–739 X. Hudson Ave.Los Angeles, Calif.

Fashion layout, graphic design, P.O.P., type mark-up,
brochures, mailers, strip-in-separations

May 1963 – October 1963

16221 S. Maple – Gardenia, Calif.
(Gene Wild, Art Director)


  Dimensional design: supermarket and store graphics
  Store interiors: color and material selection
  Perspective, mural

November 1962 – February 1963

(Merle Shore, Art Director)

  Record cover design and ideas

March 1961 – May 1961

8701 Wilshire Blvd.Beverly Hills, Calif.
(Cliford Gill, Pres.)

Art Director (Freelance)

  Space advertising brochures

January 1961 – March 1961

NIDES-CINI ADVERTISING AGENCY - 8201 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles Calif.
(Jack Nides, Pres./Zelda Cini, Vice Pres.)

Art Director

  Presentation design, type mark-up, separations

July 1960 – December 1960

HERALD EXPRESS (EXAMINER) – 1111 S. Broadway – Los Angeles, Calif.
Promotion Department


  Space advertising ideas

Septemer 1959 – May 1960

MAY COMPANY – 801 S. Broadway/Hill StreetLos Angeles, Calif.
Advertising Department
(Jean Rains/Peter Daddio, Art Directors)

  Layout – institutional

ART CENTER SCHOOL OF DESIGN – 5353 W. Third St. Los Angeles, Calif.


Roger Hines (Art Director, Young & Rubicam, Inc.)
One Deerfield Road
Wilton, Connecticut

Len Moffatt (Writer, Container Corporation of America)
5804 E. Gage Avenue Apt. 5
Bell Gardens, California

Gene Wild
Rober Tierney Associates (Exhibition Design)
3600 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 1930
Los Angeles, California


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mike Hinge - Remembered by Ron Williams

I have recently received an email from Ron Williams, architect, artist and author of Building and Flying Indoor Model Airplanes. Ron was a friend of Mike Hinge, they were together in the Onyx group and they also both worked for Donald Deskey Associates. I was thrilled to read Ron's valuable memories and I am very pleased to share his message here which I think is a wonderful insight into Mike's persona, life and work. I hope that you find it as fascinating as I have. A very big thank you to you Ron.  

Hi Ivan -
I Googled Mike Hinge last weekend and discovered your blog. It's terrific. I'm the Ron Williams referred to in the material about Mike and his involvement with the "ONYX" group. I can tell a bit about Mike and my friendship with him during the late 70s and early 80s. It was pretty intense as I'm sure anyone's encounter of Mike would be.
If I remember correctly, we met while we both worked for Donald Deskey Associates, the design firm. My background was in architecture and his, you know. ONYX was the getting together of Woody (J. Woodson) Rainey, Tommy Simpson, Mike and myself. There were many descriptions of what ONYX meant but largely it was an attempt to bring different sensibilities together and to resist the temptation to declare a manifesto. We published broadsheet/posters that we distributed to friends and colleagues and plastered on the walls of Manhattan's back streets. The name came from the definition of onyx as a many layered stone.
Woody Rainey has taught and practiced architecture in Manhattan since the late sixties. Tommy Simpson has made his way as an artist since I can remember, showing and selling his work all over the North East. Mike exhibited with us showing his art work and published a poster, the Parsec City. Tommy came into contact with us but I can’t remember if he did any specific work that he considered an ONYX project.
Woody did a mandala like calendar for an eight day week and other sheets displaying abstract architectural ideas. My work illustrated architectural projects involving fantasy designs exploring extreme spaces.
When I first met Mike he was living in a 1950s apartment building on West 16th Street just off 5th Avenue. He had a large studio apartment crammed with his work and ongoing projects. He was just beginning to explore electronic light sculptures and designing his type faces. The apartment was piled at least waist high with boxes and portfolios and with narrow passages between the collection to get to the facilities, the kitchen and Mike’s work area.
At the time one of Mike’s main preoccupations was with the state of his collected works and collections stored in Los Angeles. He had trunks and boxes stored in a warehouse there and was defaulting on his rent, in danger of losing it all. I’m not sure what happened to it but the experience would be repeated again and again. I would lose contact with him now and then and in the interim his life would seem to go through many changes though he kept up his work.
He moved to a loft on West 26th Street in Manhattan’s Flower district. The loft was high ceilinged and perhaps 30 by 80 feet. In a matter of months he had filled it with the voluminous material he managed to collect. He was a nightly dumpster diver and found a dumpster near a liquor store that threw out their empty liquor boxes nightly. He tried many different “brands” of boxes before he decided that J&B scotch whiskey boxes best served his needs. He labeled and stacked them, filled with material he figured would be useful or that he couldn’t resist collecting.
He collected giant glass jars that had held pickles and even larger brown plastic olive jars from delicatessens and restaurants. These too were carefully labeled to describe their contents - the variety of those contents was mind boggling.
Often, when wandering around Manhattan with him I would discover that I was “talking to no one” as Mike would disappear when he would see a promising piece of paper on the sidewalk or in the gutter and scoot away to retrieve it. He had receipts, ticket stubs, cigar bands, cigarette packages, every kind of small paper souvenir of someone’s encounter with the city. The J&B boxes were filled with beer cans, brands I’d wonder how he’d found in New York, from all over the world. His glass jars were filled with match books. Unless he had an appointment with someone and a schedule to meet it could take forever for him to get from one place to another. He could not resist stopping into random bars and restaurants to ask for a card and a book of matches. I never saw him drink but he sure had a lot of beers (an unopened full can was prized above all).
The last time I saw his loft, he had the same environment he had on 16th street but times 4 or 5. The stacks of green J&B boxes reached nearly to the ceiling and the aisles between the collections made the place seem more a library or very special warehouse than a home or studio.
We would wander into an out of each other’s lives periodically. I would bump into him and hear that he had lost his last place and that he was living in the studio of someone he was working for. Then he’d have a new place.
I drove Mike down to Reading, Pa once to visit a bunch of his comic/SF pals. He introduced me to Steranko; his followers had discovered the low rent residential area that beat out anything for hundreds of miles. Mike was always on the verge of poverty, living a life of feast or famine during the years we hung out. I think Pennsylvania became a back up for him as a cheap place to live after he saw how the Steranko crew had adapted.
During the late 70s or early 80s I introduced him to a bunch of artist friends that lived in the Tribeca area. They were pioneer lofties moving into and working in the area’s many loft spaces as SoHo became too gentrified. At a party at one of the lofts on a Halloween, if I remember correctly, he showed up with the night’s most outstanding woman and proceeded to give the entire assembly a lesson in dancing. The question of the night: “Who was that guy?”
Mike was quite secretive in many ways. I was surprised to learn of his age on this blog because that was a taboo subject when my friends and I knew him. New Zealand was as much as he would say about his past and nothing about the place at that. When he agonized over the loss of his collections in L. A. he would reveal as little as possible. Knowing how reluctant he was about his history, we would not press him but would tease him occasionally about his unknown age.
Mike rolled his own cigarettes. When someone mentioned that there were those that could roll two at a time he immediately gave an outstanding demonstration of the art.
His taste in music was universal except for one thing about which he was vehement: he could not stand voice. To him to sing was all but sinful and he would not hesitate to express his displeasure with the singer’s art. Opera was the last straw.
My friendship with Mike went dormant during the mid 80s as we both found new pursuits with which to engage. I had written and illustrated a book that was inspired by a short trip we took in 1976 when we visited an international model airplane meet at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Like many of the encounters and friendships one makes in Manhattan, we went our separate ways. The friends we had in common had all moved out of the city. I discovered that he’d died a few months after his passing and could not find much about him on the web. I often wondered what happened to the things he collected – they were attractive to him not as individual objects but as they represented areas of work, design and as a cumulative expression of life. If I had the money at the times his collections were threatened, and the sense to know how important they might be, I would have done more to help him keep them going. Too soon old, too late smart.
Your dedication to his memory is marvelous and he really deserves it. He was a truly unique human being and my life has been made all the richer for having known him.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Mike Hinge - and ONYX

What is Onyx? I remember when I first read about Onyx it was in a book "The New Visions A Collection Of Modern Science Fiction Art" published by Doubleday 1982. There was a short biography for Mike which I later found the full version here. In the biography it said  "Onyx display, Wittenborn bookstore" brief but intriguing. I concluded at the time that it was perhaps to do with Mike's set of 8 posters that I had started to collect and had seen advertised in Algol Magazine Summer 1975, one of the posters being called, Onyx Cube seen here in the original Algol advert . 

Over the next few months I would come across another references to Onyx and then one day Alex Jay sent me a scan of a magazine  "Design Quarterly 78/79: A Special Double Issue on 'Conceptual Architecture'", seen here and  it was then that I began to understand, Onyx was an artist collaboration. In that magazine it cited four members Ron Williams, Mike Hinge, Charles Albatross and Tom Simpson. With this lead, I searched on the internet and found an article in French entitled Mutations v.0.8 providing a tantalising description of Onyx. Below is a Google translation of that description: 

"ONYX group was born in New York in the late sixties. It was founded by architects that we know by the pseudonym they used at the time: Charles Albatross, Mr. & Mrs.. Harvey And The Grapefruit Orange, Patrick Redson, Okra Plantz, Tom Fulrey, Lili Piuschin, Mike Hinge, A'Lloyd. ONYX expressed their theories on architecture outside professional boundaries and conventional, through audiovisual performances and what we call a mail art. The posters of ONYX are perhaps the best examples of their operation shock, desecration of the concept of art and architecture at the time of their realization. Mail architecture was one of the instruments used to invent new ways of "doing" of architecture. Each poster was designed in every detail with great care, from graphic design to choice of colors (mostly two-color), passing through the text, often deliberately ironic and encrypted. The posters were produced in a limited number still. An advertisement stated that they were sold by mail ..."- see source

In October last year, Alex Jay sent me another set of exciting scans from a publication called Arthropods, published by Praeger 1972. This was a double bonus as it mentioned EAT (another art collaboration Mike had been involved with) and Onyx... However there were no Mike Hinge pictures, that didn't matter as the images were fantastic, mind blowing and I knew that this was a group that deserved much more attention. Here from the magazine are the images and text. Enjoy.

Daily Earth Chronicle by Ron Williams

The Rule by Woodson Rainey

The Rule by Woodson Rainey

The World Map by Woodson Rainey

The World Map by Woodson Rainey


It is all beginning to make sense now. Discovering Onyx group has shed a new light onto Mike Hinge's work. 
See more Onyx at the "Frac Centre" website.

Next week, stayed tuned, there will be a written article by Ron Williams of Onyx. With his first hand account of his involvement with the Onyx and memories of Mike Hinge.  

Mike Hinge - Parsec City

Onyx Poster originally produced as a limited silk screen print (blue and white), 1968 - 1970. 
73.5 x 58.5 cm. 

Mike Hinge - Published in The Mike Hinge Experience, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Mike Hinge 143 - 146

Mike Hinge - Elephant Trunk 1 of 4 (#4023). Marker pen on white paper. Approximate size 25x31cm. Date unknown. Unsigned.

Mike Hinge - Elephant Trunk 2 of 4 (#4023). Marker pen on white paper. Approximate size 25x31cm. Date unknown. Unsigned.

Mike Hinge - Elephant Trunk 3 of 4 (#4023). Marker pen on cream velum. Approximate size 25x31cm. Date unknown. Unsigned.

Mike Hinge - Elephant Trunk 4 of 4 (#4023). Marker pen on cream velum. Approximate size 25x31cm. Date unknown. Unsigned.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mike Hinge 142

Mike Hinge -Monkey Tails (#4023). Marker pen on white paper. Approximate size 25x31cm. Date unknown. Unsigned.

I tried to find something for valentines day today, however after checking it seems I have already posted all the suitable heart pictures I have. Anyway here are six cheeky monkeys that look as if they were drawn to be part of a game to hook the monkey tails together, i don't know, perhaps part of an advertising campaign. Next week I will post some more drawings that look to be part of this set as well. 

The top left monkey has a tick above his head, perhaps that was Mike's or the client's favourite. I like Monkey at the the bottom right .

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Mike Hinge - Photograph at Lunacon possibly early 1970's

Mike Hinge - Photograph taken by Andrew Porter at Lunacon possibly early 1970's. Thanks very much for the excellent photo. Mike looks as if he's up to some mischief with that expression. Nice smart suit and snazzy wallpaper too! 

Mike Hinge - Witzend Cover 1969

Mike Hinge - front and back cover for Witzend magazine 1969. 

Below we have a rare treat of seeing the original cover artwork, sent in by a private collector, which they are happy to share, thank you very much. The artwork is the photostats that were pasted onto a board which is called the mechanical. The printer photographs themechanical as a film negative. The negative is then used to burn the printing plates.

01: Yellow plate mechanical (photostat of circuit diagram pasted on illustration board; the photostats shrank a bit)

 02: Red plate mechanical (photostat of cranks, shafts and gears pasted on illustration board)

03 and 04: Tissue overlay with instructions to the printer ("Drop two figures out of this plate" means the red robots are not printed over the yellow sphere; or one could say, the robots are in the foreground and the sphere is in the background.)

05: Robots artwork (ink drawing on Strathmore bristol board)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mike Hinge - Happy Chinese New Year

It's Chinese New Year! Thanks very much to Alex Jay for sharing his 1989 postcard from Mike
Here is a postcard from Mike to Alex Jay wishing him a happy new year. Nice clear handwriting and an intriguing message which I shall let Alex explain what Mike is referring to in a moment. A short message but clearly shows Mike's appreciation for his friends phone call and the goodies that he had sent... but who is Mary (M&M's)?

Alex says "This Chinese New year or Lunar New Year arrives January 23. As you know, it's the year of the dragon. Back in 1989 Mike sent this postcard with the year of the snake. This Chinese zodiac animal follows the dragon, so 2013 will be its year.

In his message, Mike referred to "ABCD"; this was a music catalog of unauthorized concert
recordings on CDs. Mike was listing some of his favorite groups and musicians he found in the
catalog. And the recordings were expensive.

And then he referred to the astrology information on the face of the card, "Well look[s] like yours made
it for this year." The snake is my zodiac animal, but I do not believe in astrology, Chinese or Western."

Travel back in time to 1989 and I would have been in my late teens and I was a massive fan of The Sisters of Mercy and Xmal Deutschland they were and still are amongst my top favourite bands! As well I also liked  and still like Joy Division, New Order, Cabaret Voltaire, Wire, Durutti Column, Ultravox, OMD, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and also aware of Japan, Roxy Music, Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield . However at that time and until now I hadn't really heard much of Tangarine Dream or Penguin Cafe and not at all of Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze or Seventh Wave. 

I wish Mike could have designed some of the groups record sleeves or posters but as far as I am aware he didn't but perhaps there is something that is waiting to be discovered. I don't think I have or know of any of Mike's work from 1989.

Going further back in time Mike did work for a record company - Reprise Records, Los Angeles, for a short time (between Nov 1962 - Feb 1963)  with Art Director Merle Shore and according to Mike's CV he designed record covers, which ones these might be would be a nice discovery as well.

Front of Postcard from Mike to Alex.

Mike Hinge 141

Happy Chinese New Year - The Year of the Dragon.

Mike Hinge - Dragon Sketch . Pencil on white paper. Approximate size 55x30cm. Date Unknown. Unsigned.

Monkey Wrench - From the collection of Mike Hinge's A4 photocopies date possibly late 60's

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Mike Hinge 140

Mike Hinge -  Fire Hydrant (CITY SLICKER) (2 of 2) . Pen and Ink on "Crescent Cardboard Company" Illustration Board, Cold Press Surface. No. 300, Medium Weight. Approximate size 38x50.5cm. Date 1962. Signed. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Mike Hinge 139

Mike Hinge -  Fire Hydrant (1 of 2) . Pen and Ink on "Crescent Cardboard Company" Illustration Board, Cold Press Surface. No. 300, Medium Weight. Approximate size 38x50.5cm. Date April 1962. Signed.

Mike's signature (a reflection is from the original protecting plastic wrap that's still in place).

Close up2

Close up3