In my holidays after my first year at art school, I spent six weeks at McWhirters in the Myer advertising department run by Max Fulcher. It might as well have been Madison Avenue because that tight little ship had most of the creative energy in Brisbane under the firm tutelage of Max and his team. I say tutelage because I actively learnt every job involved in the communication business, hands-on there in the next two years (1966 and 1967). I can still rattle off the names of the people working there who made such an impression on me – lots who years later I was pitching against for business in my own right. Max ran and trained the most creative enterprising division of Myer in the day, we were always being pushed by the Queensland chairman Harold Fielding to knock off the Melbourne team run by Wally O’Donohue. Not only did we achieve better advertising, better results for the group in Brisbane – Max delivered costs at a quarter of the price.
The world needs to know about this man from Yeronga’s meteoric rise to international retail success. Here in his own words to me, he explained his early grooming under Sir Kenneth Myer: ‘I introduced myself to Macy’s San Francisco where I met and began a working association with Duane McHolick who later came to Australia and set David Jones on a new promotional path “There is only one David Jones”. Studied with Mashall Fields (Chicago), The Broadway Stores (Los Angeles), Bonwitt Teller, Bloomingdales, Macy’s (New York). Myer supplied personal assistant and office in the New York Herald building. Introduced by Clyde Bedell (advertising guru who Myer sponsored to Australian in conjunction with Melbourne Herald around 1961) to Sek Seklemian (Retail Reporting Bureau – Retail Advertising Week) and wife and stayed in adjacent apartment to them at the Barbizon Plaza 58th Street. Seklemian offered to sponsor me as his personal assistant (young Australians had good all-round training in advertising) if I decided to return to New York but loyalty to Myer prevailed. Holidayed in Nassau (Bahamas), returned to Macy’s (San Francisco) and was appointed Director Myer (Qld) upon return, June 1964.’
My own career couldn’t have started at a better time or a better place. Max’s sister Gem ran Camera Craft for Harry Poulsen at the time and she too was an active stimulus to my evolving fashion sense, Gem passed away recently and Max gave me this pic of her (left) and their friend Pat.
Like me, Max is an early adopter and his story of early digital times in Sydney is amazing – he started doing his own orchid illustrations after overcoming the vagaries of the Quark environment. Max lent me his catalogue of his first 108 personal illustrations, he has completed 111 to date. These are all layered vector elements created in Illustrator but more complex than that – he holds every shape he has ever created in folders at the same resolution so he can import and copy and place into new creations. He has a gallery relationship in Sydney but all our Australian Garden History Society friends should get in touch direct. My many interior design and architect friends should work with Max to enhance their hospitals and hotels with his exquisitely rendered digitally produced prints. Go direct here . . . A larger print of #11 that I like also. 0428198012