Billy Devorss Biography

Alone among the pin-up artists in being entirely self-taught, Billy De Vorss sold his first three published pin-ups to the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company in St. Paul about 1933. Until that time, he had been working as a teller in a bank in St. Joseph, Missouri. There he had met the stunning woman, Glenna, who became his wife and first official model. Encouraged to develop his talent by Gene Sayles, the manager of Brown and Bigelow's Kansas City branch office, De Vorss soon received his first commission from the company.

De Vorss used an incredible variety of pastel colours for his work, and he applied them directly onto the board, blending them dry with his fingers. His occasional oil paintings bear the rich, painterly brushstrokes of the Sundblom School. Like Rolf Armstrong, De Vorss always worked from live models for the final painting. He did, however, employ photographs for preliminary stages. His vibrant pin-ups, inspired by New York's theatres and nightclubs, display a fine sense of composition, a flowing, graceful line, and a daring blend of colours.