Smiley Smile

This was for one of the postcards, an image on one side, dates for upcoming shows on the other.

According to the Smithsonian, the smiley face as we know it was created by Harvey  Ross Ball in 1963 for State Mutual Life Assurance Company for $45 (which then was equivalent to around $333 these days).  He made the design in about ten minutes and more than fifty million buttons of the design were made.  The design is similar to ones made before it (Nicolas Loufrani of the Smiley Company, and their subsidiary SmileyWorld Ltd, in London, points to cave paintings made in 2500 BC that are the first depictions of the smiley face) but this is thought by many to be the iconic version.
The smiley face has also been associated with aspects of psychedelic culture, including the Diggers, a radical community activist group based in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco (of which Peter Coyote was a founding member? Interesting), electronic dance music culture, including if not especially Acid House, and later appearing as an iconic element in Dave Gibbons & Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen.’
The less said about Wal-Mart the better, though it may be of interest that they had dealings with the smiley face, and have settled with Smiley Company in front of the Chicago federal court in 2010.  Terms of that settlement remaining confidential.
Beware the smiley face.


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