ALL STRINGS ATTACHED
The Eisner Guitar Collection
Photography by Jay Filter
July 24 – September 2, 2017
Aural innovation and visual beauty combine as award-winning photographer Jay Filter captures the craftsmanship and ubiquitous influence of the guitar. This premiere photographic exhibit of The Eisner Guitar Collection celebrates such rare and one-of-a-kind instruments as the 1933 Slingerland Cathedranola, 1938 Wilkanowski/D’Angelico, 1964 Danelectro Pro 1, 1964 Echo, Vega Stereo 2000, the Jens Ritter Black Dragon, and more.
In addition to Filter’s striking images, instruments from The Eisner Guitar Collection will be on display at the August 11 reception, as well as during the fifth annual Wilson Center Guitar Festival August 17-19, and will include guitars created by world-renowned master builders John D’Angelico, Willi Wilkanowski, Jens Ritter, Gene Baker, and Michael Spalt; historically significant instruments from Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Vox, Vega and Framus; steampunk creations from Tony Cochran and artists from Equador; and a Les Paul low-impedance prototype.
ABOUT BILL EISNER
BILL EISNER began playing guitar in 1964 after his parents rented a Danelectro Pro 1 from Cascio Music and gave it to him for Christmas. A year later, in 5th grade, Bill started a rock band and his parents upgraded him to a Gibson SG. Next came a Gibson 12-string acoustic to accompany the church youth choir, then an Ibanez acoustic 6-string and while in college, Bill traded his SG in for a Les Paul Custom. That’s where the collection stood until 2008 when the stock market lost so much value. It was then that Bill decided to hedge some of his bets and invest in guitars instead of stock. He figured the guitars were almost guaranteed to go up in value, plus he could hang them up as art and enjoy playing them. He started by concentrating on acquiring at least one of every low-impedance electric guitar and amplifier that Les Paul designed when he signed his second endorsement deal with Gibson. Les ended up autographing 9 guitars in Eisners’ collection. Bill has lent many of those historically significant guitars to the Les Paul House of Sound exhibit at Discovery World. The rest of The Eisner Collection is a combination of both art, experimentation and fine craftsmanship. It includes a 1954 pre-production Fender Stratocaster, as well as guitars signed by Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, and Phil X. Since graduating from Northwestern University in 1978, Bill has worked at the ad agency that his father founded in 1959. Bill has been running the agency since 1990, serving clients that have included Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Kohl’s, 7-Eleven, 76-Brand Gasoline, Miller Brewing, David Copperfield, St. Pauli Girl, and Scheels. Bill has been President of the Milwaukee Advertising Club, The Milwaukee Rescue Mission, The Eisner Advertising Museum, The Eisner Creative Foundation, and The Intermarket Advertising Network, and has served on the Boards of The Milwaukee Public Museum, Rawhide Boys Ranch, Viper Motorcycles, and The National Christian Foundation. Bill and Jay Filter worked together for several years back in the 80s at Eisner’s ad agency and have rekindled their friendship through this project.
ABOUT JAY FILTER
A former ad agency creative director and agency owner for more than 30 years, JAY FILTER began to pursue photography in 2012. He was most recently the Bronze Winner at the 2017 Prix de la Photographie Paris Awards (PX3) and his work in architecture, portraits, and travel has won recognition at the International Fine Arts Photography Awards (FAPA) and the International Photography Awards (IPA). In 2014, Jay Filter Photography won the International Book Awards Competition for Best Photography for The History, Art & Imagery of the Pfister Hotel. The book also received honors from the National Indie Excellence Book Awards (NIEA). In his ad agency days he wrote the now official moniker of Summerfest: “The Big Gig!” He attended the Layton School of Art, which was founded in 1920 and is considered to be the predecessor to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and he currently has a modest studio in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward.