The hand-crafted, artisanal ways of fine art have undergone many changes over the past century. The most drastic line of departure has had to do with the defining presence of the era being motion–physical and, more importantly, conscious. Thus an alert contemporary artist like Tim Deverell, in his composition, The Offspring (2014),painstakingly lays down a canebrake of possible specific slowdowns while illuminating an overall complex play of fluid directions and their tonal shadings. This kind of work makes a difference, a very subtle difference.
But other kinds of subtleties in that same invitation allow of a startlingly different vigor of disclosure. Continue reading
Pop artist, Andy Warhol, was always about the pregnant vignette. Near the beginning of his career he availed himself of a windfall showcase in the form of a marketing angle conceived before the Second World War but only hitting its stride in the years immediately following, namely, textiles for various occasions crowned by original designs.
The pattern shown above, from 1955 and based on a proposal for a Christmas card in 1951, benefits from the repetition to capture the fabulous energies of the circus. Also, as with many other entries to this popular career blessing, the marriage of mass, practical objects and design inspiration, captures, in a very special way, the glorious energies of modern life itself. The epigraph–consisting of a Ruth Reeves statement in 1946–of the catalogue for the Toronto show of these largely hidden and forgotten gems (brought forward by Target Gallery, London) is remarkable: “It is my personal opinion that fabric design rightfully belongs in the category of the Fine Arts… as an art it is just as important as good architecture, and certainly is more closely associated with our everyday living than are paintings.” Continue reading
Posted in Current Events, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Modernist Posters&Graphics
Tagged Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Target Gallery London, Textile Museum Toronto, urbanity, vintage fashion, vintage fashion graphics, Zandra Rhodes
Mundial Dance 1913;F. Dumat;14″ x 10 5/8″;A,P, Song Sheet
This little music sheet with the big color component uncovers that vein of lyrical delight whereby the power is increased in being closely shared by others. Dance to the music, indeed! Continue reading
La Chanson au Volant 1934;Charles Roussel;14″ x 10 5/8″;A,P, Song Sheet
Those of you who do dance clubs or otherwise access DJ incitements might have noticed how the aural powers lead the way to tempering tactile and optical presence. Bad old rock and roll always knew it was going somewhere not only different but better, not only fun but complicated. Many graphic artists, even those working before the rock era, had been captivated by the transformational powers of music. Here we don’t want to get into complications but to simply marvel at the cornucopia of instances of music tugging visual design into a homage to what’s afoot!
This lithographic song sheet jumps on the chance to link highway dynamics and song! Continue reading
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Art Nouveau/Belle Époque Posters&Graphics, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists
Tagged contemporary issues, French vintage pochoir, Georges Lepape, Illustrated vintage magazines, iPod poster, Jack Bush, urbanity, vintage entertainment posters, vintage music graphics
For decades now, modern dance has been all about accelerating and enlarging the powers of motion. Many choreographers have readily and tellingly produced countless instances of rocketry and explosiveness in the form of bodies in extreme circumstances. The hunt has been on, almost interminably, for conveying the conviction that life has begun to migrate significantly from the ways of the past and that dance holds a key to a new world stemming from dynamics as trumping substance.
Realizing that the chamber/balletic context of such a bid was coming up short, Brazilian choreographer, Deborah Colker, has set to work upon an idiom not merely resembling athletics and circus entertainments but fully usurping those fields.
The first photo gives us a quartet playing across a wall-climbing apparatus displaying elite muscular athleticism and elite circus graceful precision. Continue reading
Having just spent some quality time in the Rockies, we are more than ever appreciative of the strong impact imparted by lithos driven by high country! There are so many implications deriving from that thrust upward that we have to be alert in not passing it by as a merely well-known (cliché) form of beauty and power.
For instance, as to the images above, I think you might agree that it is the coordination of many features which provides the full value so often covered by “mountain awesomeness.” Vintage graphic design inhabits and creates in view of that ensemble. Continue reading
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Current Events, Illustrators, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists
Tagged C. Norwich, Canadian National Railways, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian Rockies vintage posters, Canadian vintage travel graphics, Maurice Logan, Peter Ewart
George Bon Salle’s superb study published this year, Embracing an Icon, the Posters of Bernard Villemot , giving us the complete graphic design works of Bernard Villemot, deserves a second consideration–on top of the account given on April 28. For that reason, and for Villemot, being such a key player in launching our business, it seems most appropriate to celebrate our 200th graphic design blog by means of oohing and aahing about fantastic instances of graphic art which we had never been aware of until George produced his book.
Coming out of a recent revelation in the form of the Calgary Stampede–where larger-than-life riders attract most of the attention–the image above, where the ghostly horse upstages the clerk-like rider, speaks volumes to us. Deploying a rather constrained palette, Villemot alerts us to the primal, unadorned steed being something to stand up and cheer for!
In the course of a year there come into view many elite efforts, ranging from graphic art to architecture. We pay due homage to the heart and wit going into this range of mountainous delights; but as urbanites continually in the midst of special accomplishment verging on the uncanny we readily suppose that the crème de la crème is our business and not for those who live in the hinterland.
That is not a particularly bad thing to carry around, but it tends to, if not overlook completely other fields of special endeavor, give them short shrift—a carelessness which arbiters of cool and chic do not even begin to realize how severely the peril therewith places one. It is one thing to thrill in being in on a sea-change of sensibility and creative power. It is something else to factor in that most of the population will never take this feast to heart.
Imagine, then, our enchantment with an incident–within one of the most egregious jags of preening in the spotlight of the in-the-know, namely, the annual Toronto Luminato Arts Festival–coming out of left field which sets its sights squarely upon that dilemma of disaffection. Continue reading
D. H. Evans Fashion Wise 1950s;Arpad Elfer;30″ x 40″;A-, Silkscreen
We live in a fairly solid context (animal; vegetable; mineral); but we live in something else, not so easily enumerated. To do justice to this latter range of experience graphic designers have hit upon enhancement of the “real” subject by injecting it with repetitive forms or motifs. These riffs, as the Surrealist design above (with its swarm of candle flames) demonstrates, set in relief the “more real” which we all inhabit but seldom acknowledge. Those orange quasi-gems bring to us the dimension of eerie and sustaining zip we all live for. The polka dot sprays on the girls’ housecoats constitute a domestic norm–“fashion wise,” to be sure–but requiring the wisdom of the really strange to seal the deal. Continue reading
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists, Surrealist Posters&Graphics
Tagged albert fuss, Arpad Elfer, Charles Martin, Edouard Halouze, Marcel Hemjic, vintage American posters, Vintage British posters, vintage French posters, vintage German posters, vintage Swiss posters
Sevilla 1925;Juan Miguel;61″ x 41″; B+,L
Vintage Spanish lithographic design was not so much about pioneering into the lithographic, technical inventions of the late 19th century nor was it about the audacious historical reflections of that era, which were very much to the fore in the poster art of France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, Holland and Italy. But its genius lay in displaying the sense of rather dark drama intrinsic to Spanish experience, as enhanced by the work of superb lithographic printers.
A major subject of Spanish graphic art was the promotion of annual spring celebrations—loosely coinciding with the Easter season and celebrating both religious and secular mainstays of Spanish life. In the stunning instance of such work above, the secular excitements of music, dance, feasting, horsemanship and bullfighting tend to eclipse the religious aspects. But the Giralda Cathedral of Seville looms large regarding all such events in that city. The magnificence of modelling, attire and setting conveys a special energy not to be found in the graphic work of other countries. Continue reading
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists
Tagged Cobos, Francisco Hohenleiter, Gerard, Juan Miguel, original vintage Spanish Fiesta posters, Torregrosa y Campil, vintage Spanish graphics, vintage Spanish illustated magazines, vintage Spanish posters, vintage Spanish travel posters