“See life as a 10-year-old. Dress like an 18-year-old. Think like a 25-year-old” – Theo Dimson

Theo Dimson:

Theo Dimson was a graphic designer known for his art deco style movie and theatre posters.

He began his career with a 3 year apprenticeship with Art Associates Limited in Toronto. After freelancing for 7 years, he rejoined AA as a vice-president of creative design. In 1965, he became president and director of a new partnership called Reeson Dimson and Smith Ltd. Later, it was named Dimson and Smith Ltd and it kept this name until Dimson created Theo Dimson Designs Inc. in 1985 where he was president and creative director.

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Daniel Pelavin: Timeless and Enduring

Daniel Pelavin:

Daniel Pelavin is an illustrator, and typeface designer whose work is best recognized for its precisely drafted shapes, unique colour palette, and original typography.

He began his career as an apprentice, working up through the ranks of a local art studio where he was able to train with all kinds of graphic artists. These included decorative, fashion, product, and technical illustrators. In addition, he was also able to train under letterers, typographers, and graphic designers.

He is a master at combining stylistic elements from different historical periods while maintaining unwavering focus on clarity. To do so, he uses a restrained and simplified vocabulary of geometric forms, rich flat colours, and typography that is inspired by the 20th century’s culture/objects. The result is a style that is retro and very deco and works that are timeless and enduring.

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Present Technology and Tradition /// New Horizons: Noma Bar (b. 1973)

Noma Bar:

Noma Bar is a graphic designer, illustrator, and artist who is renowned for his negative space artworks that have adorned the covers of over 100 magazines. His graphic works are celebrated for their impact and simplicity and they translate a sensitive subject into thought-provoking art that exposes social and political situations with a wry sense of juxtaposition.

Bar does this by cleverly using negative space. With a limited palette, he subtlety and precisely manipulates shapes and forms where familiar symbols and pictograms evolve to form new meaning. He uses this technique best when dealing with social and political issues that are illustrated with a hidden twist of humour.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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