New Forms: Chris Ware (b. 1956)

Chris Ware:

Chris Ware is a cartoonist known for his New Yorker magazines covers and is hailed as a master of the comic art form. He has contributed cartoons and many covers to the New Yorker since 1999 and his complex graphic novels tell stores that reflect on the role that memory plays in constructing identity.

Ware’s style of comic art is like no other’s. His work is usually devoid of the hatching or rendering that is found in most comics and his drawings are mostly outlines filled with colour. Linear perspective is often flattened or replaced with orthographic projection and he sidesteps atmospheric perspective in favour of utilizing colour for design and mood. His often muted colours are carefully chosen in relationship to not only to other colours on the panel, but also to the entire page as a work of design. In addition, Ware plays with the conventions of comic art page design and storytelling.

Continue reading “New Forms: Chris Ware (b. 1956)”

New Voices: Francis Livingston (b. ?)

Francis Livingston:

Francis Livingston is an American painter and is considered to be in the top ranks of American illustrators. In the beginning of his career, he painted primarily in a monochromatic style until he studied the work of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. This led him to experimenting with colour and developing a fondness for the California and French Impressionists.

Livingston’s paintings and works are famous and unique. He painted the Santa Cruz boardwalk for 8 years and did numerous portrayals of scenes from New York City and Coney Island. In these, he focussed mainly on the dramatic architecture and colour. However, his paintings of western landscapes and pueblo architecture are what makes him one of the West’s premier living artists: he is able to capture colours and light effects that are unique to west.

Continue reading “New Voices: Francis Livingston (b. ?)”

A Good Mixture of Humanity

Boa Mistura:

Boa Mistura is a street art group consisting of 5 artists from Madrid, Spain who decorate public spaces around the world with imaginative ways. Formed in 2001, Madrid, these artists were 15 years old when they first met while painting the walls of their neighbourhood.

The term “Boa Mistura” comes from the Portuguese meaning of “good mixture”, a reference to the diversity of backgrounds and point of views from each member. The members- Javier Serrano Guerra, Juan Jaume Fernández, Pablo Ferreiro Mederos, Pablo Purón Carrillo, and Rubén Martín de Lucas- are a multidisciplinary team with roots in graffiti art. However, in addition to graffiti, they also do mural painting, graphic design, and illustration.

Continue reading “A Good Mixture of Humanity”

Social Awakenings: George Hardie (b. 1944)

George Hardie:

George Hardie was an English graphic designer, educator, and illustrator. To him, illustration is a problem-solving process: one that involves looking, collecting, and drawing. He also sees illustration and graphic design as just two different points on a single graphic continuum- an idea that has influenced his style of art.

His unique style consists of clean lines and exacting geometry along with a conceptual-oriented mode of thought. He uses highly-skilled draftsmanship and intricate compositions to convey richly imagined visions of their physical or psychological conditions. In essence, he draws visual ideas that force viewers to “wear a new pair of spectacles” and to open up to a new visual experience of even the most familiar terrain. In addition, his neutral vision style allows viewers to focus on an idea or object under examination rather than an artist’s hand.

Continue reading “Social Awakenings: George Hardie (b. 1944)”

Departures and Rumblings: Wes Wilson (b. 1927)

Wes Wilson:

Wes Wilson is considered the father of 1960s rock concert poster and the first psychedelic poster artist. He translated signs and sounds of counterculture society into psychedelic iconography, leading his posters to be wildly experimental.

One of the prominent features of his style was his freehand lettering. While his typography was influenced by the Viennese Secessionist lettering of Alfred Roller, he expanded outlines and inset shapes, largely altered the style to fit his own ambitions. His other major breakthrough was the use of colour. Inspired by light shows of concerts, he mixed colours with wild abandon, resulting in visuals that perfectly captured the revolutionary essence of music that his art promoted. In addition, he also played with the foregrounds and backgrounds, creating design patterns that became increasingly exaggerated with each new creation. This combination of nearly cryptic letters that filled every available space, lines that melted into lines, and colours that clashed is how the psychedelic poster was born.

Continue reading “Departures and Rumblings: Wes Wilson (b. 1927)”

Postwar Prosperities: André Francois (1915-2005)

André Francois:

André Francois was a French graphic artist, cartoonist, and illustrator whose career formed a bridge from the beginnings of modern graphic design to the present. He had contributed many roughly drawn, darkly satiric cartoons and covers for many well-known magazines, including 57 covers for The New Yorker. Since the 1940s, his exquisitely witty and elegantly executed illustrations have earned him an enduring international career- in the US, Europe, and Japan- and he has been a major influence on many of the best-known illustrators and designers of the past 5 decades in these places.

Throughout Francois’ career, he devised commercial advertising and poster graphics, designed ballet and theatre costumes and sets, and wrote and illustrated children’s books, including his own. In addition, he also designed countless book covers for Penguin Books, playing cards for the art director of Simpson Piccadilly and graphic works for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. He also used to have numerous one-man shows, but since 1960, his time has mainly been devoted to painting, engraving, collage, and sculpture.

Continue reading “Postwar Prosperities: André Francois (1915-2005)”

And the Psychedelic Poster was Born

Wes Wilson:

Wes Wilson is generally accepted as the “father of the 1960s rock concert poster” and he considers himself as the first psychedelic poster artist. In addition, he invented the style that is now synonymous with the peace movement and the psychedelic era.

Wilson’s posters were intended for a certain audience- one that was tuned in to the psychedelic experience- and to do so, he translated the sights and sounds of counterculture society into psychedelic iconography. His work quickly moved from psychedelic subculture into the mainstream culture by taking what he understood about promotional art and turning it upside down.

Continue reading “And the Psychedelic Poster was Born”

The Golden Age Part 2: Bill Mauldin (1921-2003)

Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin was an American cartoonist who is one of the best known and best-loved newspaper cartoonists in America. He is remembered for his depiction of life in the trenches during World War 2- which initially gained him fame- and then later became known for his editorial cartoons that dealt with a wide range of social and political issues. During his time in the military where he was assigned in Europe, he produced numerous cartoons that essentially captured the experiences and emotions of an entire generation of soldiers, usually through his characters Willie and Joe, two infantrymen. He chose to draw pictures for and about soldiers because he knew what it was like and wanted to make something out of the humorous situations that came up even when the soldiers thought that life could not get any more miserable. In addition to his cartoons about fighting in the war, he also created cartoons that boldly displayed social and political commentary. For example, some of the cartoons attacked the issues of racism, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and McCartyism.

Continue reading “The Golden Age Part 2: Bill Mauldin (1921-2003)”

The Golden Age Part 1: Hergé (1907-1938)

Hergé:

Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi) was a Belgian cartoonist who was best known as the creator of the comic series, Adventures of Tintin. One of the most influential comic creators in history, he single handily launched the Belgian comics industry with Adventures of Tintin. He was a master at crafting suspenseful page-turners where humour was never far away and had the latest political, cultural, and scientific inventions of the time mirrored in his work.

Through his comics, he developed his own graphic style, “Ligne Claire” (Clear Line). This style had thin, bright, and clean lines and avoided the use of hatches, shadow effects, or excessive details. This gave his work the clarity of readability. Decades later, when he started adding colours, they were applied in his open outlined areas and were flat and plain. Hergé insisted that his drawings’ line quality formed the true structure of his work, which is why he used a light pastel palette to help his lines stand out and allow more complex images to be easily read.

Continue reading “The Golden Age Part 1: Hergé (1907-1938)”

“The only quality I really have an appreciation for is newness.” – Helmut Krone

Helmut Krone (1925-1996):

Helmut Krone was an American advertising art director who was considered a pioneer of modern advertising. Born in Yorkville, Manhattan, he started his design career at 29 at Doyle Dane Bernbach where he would continue to work (except for a short time in the early ’70s) for the next 30 years and practically his entire career.

Before the term “branding” had even come to exist, Krone already understood how graphic design could define an institution’s personality. He was always after a product’s individual personality and this “total way of speaking”. He believed that the ad that reflects the company is the company itself.

Continue reading ““The only quality I really have an appreciation for is newness.” – Helmut Krone”