SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

MODERNIST GRAPHIC DESIGN (IN ITS MOST RECENT INCARNATION)

Antwerpen Anvers

Exposition Internationale Coloniale (Antwerp) 1930;Anonymous; 16″ x 23″

The notion of the “modern” in creative output became compelling near the end of the nineteenth century. At that time industrialization and its drastic reconfiguration of urban socioeconomic life had reached proportions carrying inescapable consequences to the inhabitants of cities. This change in the air launched a long and variegated march of envisioning life as marked by audacious departures from guileless ways. Consequently, Europeans and North Americans were inundated by a rapid succession of new trends in architecture, and also industrial design and fine art. This was the zone of intense movements of taste like Art Nouveau, Constructivism, Cubism, Dada, De Stijl, Futurism, Bauhaus and Surrealism, to name major players. It was also a time of tempering the cutting edges of those thrusts in terms of attention to a sleek and salubrious possibility of deploying such inventive and innovative choices of the look and feel of daily life. What was often called Moderne (and in retrospect seen as Art Deco) opened hitherto unthinkable harmonics of chic and adventure to those who could afford their deluxe materials. After World War II, this premium upon clean lines and breezy moods became democratized. It is this more modest sense of the modern that we want to explore today. Continue reading

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Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MAKING WAVES IN VINTAGE GRAPHIC  ART

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This bustling locomotive, in addition to being a rare and somewhat oddly satisfying vintage poster, is a cue to looking closely at the varied and intriguing means of putting across motion (that delicious phenomenon) in eye-and-heart-catching visual advertisements. It may come as a surprise, but it is not the subject of the piece that primarily gets things moving, but is instead its surroundings. Here, the stream issuing from the plunge evokes motion in the opposite direction. Also, quite amazingly in my opinion, there is something about that shining crafted machine, as adjacent to the still and stately pines, which suggests a dynamic power in effect. Then there is the angle of the flash, cutting past us at a palpable bite. Continue reading

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TORONTO’S NUIT BLANCHE and ART AS A PARTY!!

 

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This past Saturday night in Toronto was the occasion for the annual display of installations (hopefully wild), called Nuit  Blanche (White Night,12 hours non stop til 7 a.m.). We start with a dolled-up sales center to suggest how far this commotion penetrates into the general public. The club aura speaks to the very young prevalent demographic. Art here has to have shock features. (That’s not so bad.) Continue reading

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ALEX COLVILLE AND THE QUESTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE

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In face of the vast and fascinating output of paintings emanating from painter, Alex Colville (1920-2013), no one could miss its premium upon embracing a “mysterious,” unfamiliar side of familiar life. His strategy, in raising this matter, would seem to comprise having the readily recognizable images fastidiously dig themselves into moments of the ordinary and then letting it dawn upon the viewer that something extraordinary is afoot.

Many of these paintings are glowingly attractive, subliminally conveying to the viewer that, despite challenges befalling all of us, the energy on view carries a most gratifying gift to us. This provocative and exciting intuitive insinuation is well worth touching upon, by way of an avenue to further considerations.

Shown here to get things underway, is work in a farm village implying a whole universe of some other kind of work!

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THEY MAKE YOU LOOK!

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The other day, while on a bike ride to the outer limits of Toronto’s East, we saw a family of wild turkeys in a wildlife preserve. Immediately our attention was absorbed by that delicate and resilient energy. Such magnetism finds its way to many instances of marketing. We’ll consider some of these from the perspective of our collection of graphic art. Continue reading

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Posted in Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YUMMY! VINTAGE GRAPHIC ART IN RESTAURANT DECOR!

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One of the most exciting kinds of projects at the outset of our vintage poster business was providing apt settings for restaurants. The phenomenon of enjoying a night of delicious food and wine in an inspired setting—inspired in the senses of social buzz and industrial and graphic design buzz—represents a golden opportunity for an introduction of art work that has been invested with as much love and wit as the food. Continue reading

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Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Art Nouveau/Belle Époque Posters&Graphics, Current Events, Poster&Graphic Art | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TIFF SELLS THE MOVIES—MARKETING DESIGN STRATEGIES

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Film festivals are remarkable in many ways. The approach I want to explore a bit is the marketing apparatus one can dip into in order to post some semblance of “success” with a varied population.

The chess game shown above was part of a first weekend midway along a span including the TIFF headquarters and the concert hall where  A list celebrities would be on hand to  show and promote their latest venture. Like chess, winning in the festival wars takes a certain kind of smarts. While we’re examining this matter as pertaining  to Toronto, let’s begin with the year’s tagline, “This Is Your Festival.” Continue reading

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ARCADE FIRE—DON’T DREAM OF MISSING THEM!

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Many rock and roll bands pride themselves on a punchy rhythm section. Those Montreal-based, world-renowned rockers, Arcade Fire, true to their Surrealist captivation, take percussive fire to startling dimensions! Their numerous pistons, deftly digitalized, do not simply get your toes tapping but transport the listener’s whole body into a dynamic  thrust such that the subsequent incidents (vocal and instrumental) play out as enacting a saga of proceeding, no longer part of the normal, mainstream, rational world. (The comprehension may be incisive for some and quite dull for others.) Continue reading

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ENCHANTED FORESTS IN VINTAGE POSTERS

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A visit, last weekend, to one of the many forested areas not far from Toronto, has directed our attention to the unique qualities of vintage graphic art taking its bearings from the sensuous magic of such subtly robust places. Continue reading

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COMING OF AGE—ON THE SILVER SCREEN AND IN ORIGINAL VINTAGE POSTERS

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Buy U.S. War Stamps Bonds 1942; Al Parker; 20” x 14 ¼”; A-,L

The film, BOYHOOD, is a coming-of-age creation, with a difference. It particularly reminds us that in the golden era of graphic design (and right up to the present) this irresistible and touching subject has been impressively explored.

Our first illustration, a brilliant vintage American modernist poster, gives us a young  philatelist being gently ushered into the good and the bad of the big world outside. Memories-in-the-making—happy or sad? Definitely rich; and what a brilliant promotion! Continue reading

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Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Art Nouveau/Belle Époque Posters&Graphics, Avant-Garde Posters&Graphics, Current Events, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Performance Art, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists, Surrealist Posters&Graphics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment