I have in my archive, an old newspaper clipping of an interview with Pepito in which he definitively states that he modeled his clown costume on a
Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strip that he saw in the streets of Barcelona when he was a young art student.
Pepito the Spanish Clown publicity photo, 1920s. Pepito’s clown makeup, particularly the white rings around the eyes, was based on the character of “The Imp.” To create the unusual look and texture of his headshot, Pepito painted over a photograph of himself using oil paint, then photographed the oil painting, then printed the photos in his own darkroom.
VIDEO Pepito’s clown makeup, particularly the white rings around the eyes, was based on the character of “The Imp.” Bear in mind that Little Nemo was not a syndicated cartoon, so the copy of the New York Herald that young Jose Escobar Perez (Pepito) saw might have been hand carried or mailed to his native Spain from New York City, or perhaps he saw the Paris edition of the New York Herald .
Pepito’s 1920s clown attire is reminiscent of the character “Flip” in Winsor McKay’s “Little Nemo” comic strip, which was published in the New York Herald and the New York American from 1905 to 1927.
VIDEO An experimental animation of his “Little Nemo” comic strip characters, by cartoonist and vaudevillian Winsor McCay, 1911.
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