The Late Joseph L. E. Mendes


 History is full of great achievers who chose to keep a low-profile. The late Joseph Mendes, or “Josie” as he was better known, is one such achiever...

Josie was the elder son of Edward & Mary Mendes (nee Athaide) of Meurin Street, Kandivli. He was the grandson of Louis Athaide, a well-known artist/architect in his days, who contributed to that beautiful edifice – the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount.

Josie spent his early years in Kandivli, then moved to Ranwar, Bandra, and completed his matriculation from St. Andrew’s School, Bandra. His artistic talents were evident from an early age and after school, he joined the Sir. J. J. School of Art, from where he completed the Government Diploma in Commercial Art in 1950 with honours.

Josie joined Grant Advertising Inc., Mumbai, where he rapidly rose through the ranks from Junior Artist to Assistant Art Director. In 1954, Josie left for London to pursue his passion for a rare art technique called “Scraperboard”. He spent 2 years at Central Arts, a leading advertising agency, during which time he mastered scraperboard, and then returned to India to marry his childhood sweetheart and neighbour, Byrtle Miranda. He spent the next 3 years in India with Grant Advertising Inc., which welcomed him back as Art Director.

Josie returned to England in March 1959, and unleashed his full prowess in Scraperboard as a freelance artist. He was soon recognised internationally and was considered to be among the top five scraperboard artists worldwide. His work was much sought after by the top advertising agencies of that day, and he was earning approximately 4 times the average wage of a Londoner.

Patriotism and family attachments prompted him to return to India in April 1968, where he continued to freelance, working for the top advertising agencies at the time, including Lintas, Grants, Ogilvi Bensons & Mather, Everest, Hindustan Thompson Associates, Avenues and Chaitra to name but a few. He retired from active involvement in the advertising industry in the mid-90’s, at a time when the use of IT in advertising and advances in printing technology and newsprint, were rendering Scraperboard redundant.

It must be mentioned here that while Josie was a Scraperboard artist par excellence, he was also an accomplished visualizer, finishing artist and photo retouching artist. Josie designed crests and logos for several institutions including, Bandra Gymkhana, Carmel Convent, St Andrew’s College, the Andrean Fairs, and the East Indian Association to mention a few. Apart from his professional accomplishments, Josie was a handy-man in his spare time and he also made significant contributions to organisation and administration of the local community. Choral singing was his hobby.

To see some of Josie’s Scraperboard masterpieces, please visit Scraperboard Masterpieces.