About the Artist: Born in Candor, NY, Gaige grew up in Binghamton and graduated from the School of Art at Syracuse University. He then moved to New York City where he worked as a painter, a freelance designer, and a teacher at the Parsons School of Design. His own innovations for a line of women’s compacts, cigarette cases, and coin cases for Volupté was recognized at the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition “Useful Objects of American Design Under Ten Dollars” (1940). Along with his design work during the 1930s, Gaige was employed by the Federal Art Project. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army, serving first as a structural draftsman at Fort Dix, NJ, where he was featured in a humorous article on subject of slang between soldiers and their sweethearts:“This sugar report is coming straight from second heaven. You should cop a gander at the taxpayers straggling in. This new bunch of handcuffed volunteers has everything including short pants, battle wagons, moss backs, cruisers, modern guineas and a Hollywood private to snow ‘em under” (Cross). Gaige later became a writer-artist for Yank newspaper, traveling to the Middle East. The probable cause for this shift in direction was the positive reaction to his cartoons about military life, eventually collected into a book entitled Me and the Army. One critic wrote that “Every right page is filled with rough and ready sketches, full of life and keen observation, of all that goes on during the early days of training. Gaige may not be a great artist, but is a great observer of human activity from the mass nudity of medical inspection to the calm dignity of church service. The book is really a letter from a soldier to the folks at home—any soldier to any parents” (Dungen). After the war Gaige lived first in Pennsylvania and then in Miami. 11 images at OpenValley. 4 more images at FAP.
Sources Consulted: Christopher Cross, “How to Write to Him in His Own Language” (Albuquerque Journal 18 Oct 1942: 15. H.L. Dungen, “Witty Discourse on Army Life,” Oakland Tribune 20 June 1943: 19.