Henrik Drescher – Lecture 9

“In his artist statement, Drescher writes: “Since an early age I’ve been an image scavenger, my mind has always been alert to image debris, keeping ideas and images in books, which then spill into my painting and illustration. In my image making I try to register the idea of ‘everything at once,’ a sort of Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog filled with an inventory of all that has ever existed in the course of organic history and human memory…scars, tattoos, cracks, memories, impressions, flashbacks, and forgotten instructions.”

~ hdrescher.com

Self describing his works as “everything at once,” Dreschers work is loud loud and visually abrasive in the best way possible. He incorporates so much texture into his work that viewing it is almost a tangible experience. If it was possible to use a physical sensation to describe an artwork, Drescher’s peices would be itchy.Although an illustrator, he manages to blur the line between fine art and classic illustration, bringing personal metaphor into every work he creates.

His children’s books are for the most part, more comfortable, although his titles are anything but. (See below, McFig and McFly, a Tale of Jealousy, Revenge, and Death). Through using a calm colour palette and a decisively more friendly line, he changes his jarring style into one that is more viscerally settling.

Otherwise, his work is similar to that of a mushroom trip. Don’t worry, I’m not basing this off of a personal experience but rather the work of Bryan Lewis Saunders, a fine artist who has become famous for creating a body of work that can certainly relate to Drescher’s aesthetic. Lewis has created upwards of 8500 self portraits under the influence of different drugs (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know there was more than 8000 drugs). The piece I’m specifically referring to, seen below, has that same itchy and tangible quality. Both Saunders and Drescher’s work has the same effect on me. I’m not sure if it’s the searing stares of Bryan’s self portraits, or the way I can practically feel the beard hair of Saunders 2-cap taking portrait that reminds me of Drescher’s unsettling, almost auditory line work.

The rest of Saunders work can be found here: http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/

Although his pieces vary greatly, they bare a striking resemblance to Dresher’s illustrations, mostly in the way that they both induce that tangible physical response. Some of them are plain terrifying, and they’re certainly an anti-drug PSA if I’ve ever seen one, but they’re worth checking out.

Back to Drescher: his signature noisy style began in notebooks, taking form in rough sketches he created while travelling. Originally born in Copenhagen, Drescher immigrated to the United States when he was 12, and would attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on a full ride scholarship. In the years after his education, he took his career on the road and travelled throughout North and Central America and Europe. His sketchbooks are the root of all of his portfolio work, he claims, filled with ideas, images, and icons from his travels. He still creates extensive sketchbooks today, and claims that the majority of his ideas come from them. Drescher takes inspiration from these for client work and for his personal fine art career.

“Winter,” from Drescher’s ambiguously titled “Geriatric Kamasutra”

Publishing his first book in 1982, he would go on to create more than 50 books in his career. The titles range from children’s books, fine art collections, notebooks, kamasutra’s, and others. Drescher is currently working as a freelance illustrator for major publications in North America. Nowadays, he credits the work of Chinese landscape painters as the main inspiration for is work, a result of 10 years living there. He has been recognized by the United States Library of Congress, showing his work in an entirely solo exhibition.

Overall, Drescher brings a completely fresh perspective to what it means to be an illustrator. His work stands out from his contemporaries in a way that in my mind is rivalled only by 8000+ drugs. His work defies category, but still resonates with the viewer. Although they do admittedly make me physically uncomfortable–if I haven’t mentioned that enough in this post–they bring comfort in other arenas. His pieces harbour and indescribable sense of nostalgia and familiarity. Maybe it’s the fact that his illustrations have so much going on that doesn’t make sense that make everything else in the world of similar diagnosis feel better. Or maybe I’m reading into it way too much, but the more work of his I discover the more I appreciate its business and jumble of textures.

http://www.hdrescher.com/illustration/

Francis Livingston

The word “extraordinary” didn’t mean much to me until I discovered the world of illustration. Unlike photos, or even abstract fine art, illustration was able to take the mundane and make it just that, more. More than ordinary, but in a way that was believable and somehow more than real.

I’ve often found that while searching through the lists of illustrators for these blogs that there is one who stands out among the rest. While perusing this particular collection of names, however, there was nobody that jumped out to me. There was Braldt Bralds who has one of the most interesting names of all time and happens to paint only cats, which was interesting enough, but then I stumbled upon Francis Livingston.

Livingston’s work didn’t immediately catch my eye. The first images that come up after searching his name are city landscapes and beautifully lit buildings. Sure, they’re well done, and somebody else could easily write five hundred words talking about his quality of light and faithful devotion to intricate colour studies. But I wasn’t about to spend my time on just buildings when there were so many more attention grabbing artists out there.

But then I found this picture.

“Light Stream, 2012-2019”

I was in awe, and immediately enthralled with the work of this man that I knew quite literally nothing about. He could be a murderer, for all I knew, but I didn’t care. This was one of my most favourite pieces I’ve ever seen, and it will be for a long time. Something about the quiet grandeur of the scene, the humbleness of the paint strokes and the nonchalant nature of the whale that peacefully swims above the unassuming crowd. This illustration makes me want to be there, to live in the world that Livingston has so deftly crafted.

And yes, obviously his quality of light and immaculate handling of colour and brushstroke quality is incredible. We can’t really talk about his work without recognizing his ability as the rest of the artistic world has. His biography on medicinemangallery.com touches the edges of his reputation, stating:

“Born in Cortez, Colorado, Francis Livingston is in the top ranks of American illustrators, and his work has been widely published. Francis Livingston’s paintings have been exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Livingston was awarded both Gold and Silver Medals from the New York Society of Illustrators, San Francisco Society of Illustrators, and Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.”

~ medicinemangallery.com

Livingston credits his inspiration to the likes of Sargent and Whistler, and studied Diebenkorn alongside the more modern Wayne Thiebaud. Looking at his more traditional illustrative works, this makes perfect sense. We can see that his landscapes strike a jarring resemblance to Whistler (as shown below), but add a twist of the “Bay Area flare” that Livingston was surrounded by during his formative years as an artist.

Winter Landscape by Livingston
“Crepuscule in Flesh Color and Green: Valparaiso” James Abbot McNeill Whistler, 1886.

After a 10 year teaching career in San Francisco at the Academy of Art College, Livingston and his family relocated to Idaho. Much like James Elliot Bama Livingston completely switched genres and client bases. His earlier career had consisted of painting the San Francisco Board Walk for years, but now focuses on the stretching plains of the mid-west (see “Winter Landscape,” above).

However, his newest work consists of ones similar to the original “Light Stream” that caught my eye. Livingston continues to combine natural elements with 20th century architecture and mundane scenes to create striking, jealousy-inducing images. He creates a whole other universe within his paintings, which now tend to fall under the category of fine art instead of illustrations. Livingston brings to life the classic “Night at the Museum” concept in a lively, mature, more believable way. Additionally, he does so with the intent of making it seem situationally realistic. It’s this factor that makes these works of Livingston’s resonate so intensely with me. It appears as if you’ve just hung around Penn Station too long and you’ve just caught a glimpse of some of the largest creatures on earth commuting home from work.

That being said, I think this quality will give Livingston’s work lasting importance. Perhaps not in the eye of critics, or even in the world of professional illustration. These are the type of images that children see that make them want to become illustrators–much like the drawings that I credit my ambition to–that leave lasting impressions and stay in their mind forever. Dreamlike images (in my experience) tend to be far more impressionable than landscapes or portraits, no matter how great the lighting or colour palette is. I guess what I’m trying to say, in my oh-so-round-about way, is that Livingston’s works deserve value and permanence because of how inspirational and extraordinary they are. They made me feel like I did when I first discovered art and illustration, sitting on the carpeted floor of my childhood bedroom, putting together puzzles of a golden fairy queen, realizing that I wanted to create things like that. Personally, it’s works like these that deserve recognition and lasting praise over landscapes and immaculately done portraits.


https://www.deviantart.com/francis-livingston/gallery/ https://www.medicinemangallery.com/francis-livingston-biography/ https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/whistler-crepuscule-in-flesh-colour-and-green-valparaiso-n05065

Steff Geissbuhler

Geissbuhler is hailed as one of the most important designers in the field of integrated brand and corporate identity. His portfolio owns almost every form of media; from posters and illustrations to architectural graphics. He is the founder of Geissbuhler design, his self titled independent design company.

Born in Zofingen, Switzerland, Geissbuhler entered the world of design through Geigy Pharmaceuticals designing promotional material for them. This encompassed advertising, packaging, and other medias. Prior to this, however, Geissbuhler studied at the Basel School of Art and Design to get his diploma in graphic design, where he studied with Arman Hoffman and Emily Ruder.

After Geigy, he went on to teach at the Philadelphia University of arts and packed up his whole family to move in 1967. He would later go on to become the chairman of the Graphic Design Department. He would move to New York in 1973 and continue his career while raising a family there.

Geissbuhlers body of work is perhaps one of the largest to be seamlessly integrated into every day society. His work is everywhere, and it carries an undeniable presence along with it. His perfected style speaks volumes, whether it’s in the form of the iconic NBC peacock, or in the Alvin Ailey logo that is entirely made up of dancers bodies. Geissbuhlers creations are responsible for a massive chunk of corporate culture, identity, and what it means to be successful within a brand.



Although he didn’t do the stereotypical Paula Scher-esque super-graphics, he did do these amazing pieces of large scale environmental graphic design. Although Geissbuhler’s designs were considerably less abstract and more logo centric, they still stand out as iconic pieces of design that have been integrated into the environment.

Take this installation titled “Freedom Movement” Geissbuhler did for Radio Free Europe in Prague. From one angle it reads “LIBERTY” in English, and “SVOBODA,” also meaning “liberty” in Czech, the same word from the other angle. I can’t help but be reminded of Scher’s painted on super-graphics, especially in the way that if you were to look at this from virtually any other angle it would appear to only be a miss-matched heap of metal with nicely cut edges.

While perusing his website, there was a long long list of experience, past employments, founded companies, and achievements. At the very bottom of seemingly endless blocks of all capitalized text was a single bolded phrase.  

MY FAMILY IS MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT.

I’m not sure why I feel the need to include that, but when you’re reading lines and lines of capitalized Helvetica Light, it’s nice to know that the people behind such influential professional portfolios don’t entirely live by their work.

“I’M HAPPILY MARRIED TO MY WIFE AND PARTNER, ELISSA, AND HAVE FOUR TERRIFIC AND TALENTED SONS, PHILLIP, A PHYSICIST, LIVING NEAR BOSTON; LUKE, A CINEMATOGRAPHER, LIVING IN BROOKLYN, NY; ALEX, AN ACTOR AND MASTER TRAINER, LIVING IN HARTSDALE, NY; AND BEN GRADUATED WITH A DEGREE IN SCULPTURE AND LIVES IN SEATTLE.
MY FAMILY IS MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT.”

~STEFF GEISSBUHLER

Etienne Delessert

Originally born in Switzerland, and now residing in Connecticut, Delessert creates work that could be summed up in one word: unnerving. Upon visiting his website, one of the first sentences written in to his biography states the following.

“For more than thirty years this self-taught artist has been translating his-and the world’s-ideas, passions, fantasies and nightmares into the visual language of books, magazine illustrations, posters, animated films, paintings and sculptures. He reaches both children and adults with his imaginary creatures and landscapes, juxtaposing the familiar with the fantastic to clarify this world and create new and lasting universes”

~ etiennedelessert.com


Ok. Reading this the fist time, I thought to myself, “Yeah. Yeah! That seems like a normal artists statement.” And then I reread it, and reread it again, because something didn’t sit right with me. Later I realized that it was the use of the word “nightmares” in such close proximity to the phrase “reaches both children and adults.” I let this sit for a moment while I clicked my way over to the gallery portion of his self-titled website. And then I understood.

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Although Delessert’s most identifying pieces are geared towards children, there is an undeniable uncomfortable quality to every single one of them. Sometimes it’s as simple as the unnatural colours of his characters eyes, or their strange, elongated features. It’s hard to put it into developed, educated words, but let me try and explain to you how these pieces make me feel.

Image result for delessert the endless party

It’s almost like these scenes all occur in the opening scenes of CSI Miami, or even worse, Law and Order. There’s always the sense that you’re watching something that you’re not supposed to; or that you’re doing something immoral by observing the scenes Delessert creates. That aside, though, these creepy illustrations have appeared in over 80 books, translated in over 14 languages, and have sold millions of copies world wide. So I’m seemingly alone in the whole crime show sentiment, and the public and professional world is enamoured with his work.

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So much so, that his website states: “Twice he was honored by the Premio Grafico of the Bologna World Children’s Book Fair. His illustrations have appeared in leading magazines and newspapers such as The Atlantic Monthly, Le Monde and The New York Times. His animated films include the adventures of the endearing Yok-Yok and creations for Sesame Street.” 

His illustrative work’s reputation surpass the threshold of expectation. Delessert boasts a one man retrospective housed by the Louvre, as well as a separate travelling collection that now lives in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. His autobiography, titled “The Blue Bear”, was published by Slatkine Editions in 2015. Perhaps the most remarkable fact of his career is that Etienne is self taught. Still working as an illustrator, his process changed from an entirely traditional approach to a combination of tactile mediums and digital methods. His primary goal of his career, he states, is “to create stories that make children ask questions.” And whether the viewer is a child or adult, there is no denial that Delessert’s work does exactly that, and will for the rest of his promising career. That being said, his work is creepy as hell. Just saying.

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http://www.etiennedelessert.com/bio.php

Ben Shahn

Ben Shahn is most well known for his fine art, illustrative and literary works. He was born in Lithuania to parents Joshua and Gittel, but his family was exiled when he was four for revolutionary activities of his father. Continuing his families ideals of speaking out against political injustices, Shahn’s work took on this very characteristic and would for the rest of his career.

He would study at the National Academy of Design, where his main interests would lie in lithography, graphic design, and egg tempera painting. During his travels Shan studied European masters but afterwards shifted his efforts toward a realist style that served as a vessel for his social/political commentary. This came to light in the form of a 23 piece series detailing the case of Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian-American anarchists. Two Italian men had been convicted for murder and were sentenced to execution by electric chair after  only a couple hours of deliberation. Afterwards, the case was deemed unconstitutional due to instances of racial-prejudices, refusal of retrial and disregard for political civic liberties.

Shan’s work was heavily influenced by current events as often as it was by the people he surrounded himself with. Walter Evans, Shan’s temporary roommate, worked alongside Dorothea Lange to document the Great depression in rural america under the Farm Services Administration. Evan’s influence can be seen in Shahn’s unflinching confrontation of the human figure, and his acknowledgment of flawed facial features. The same could be said for Mexican painter Diego Rivera. with the depiction of the human form and facial expressions, as well as the politically charged images that appeared in both Shahn and Riveras works. Shahn would assist Rivera with his Rockefeller mural, and would go on to apply Riveras methods to numerous federal mural commissions.

Following the Great Depression, Shahn worked for the Office of War Information. The OWI hired him to create anti-war pieces, but the companies idea of the sentiment differed greatly from Shahns. His pieces lacked the essential nationalistic views that the company advertised, and as a result the OWI would only publish two of his posters. . Afterwards Shahn changed directions and worked with large scale “general” publication companies, including CBS, Time, Fortune, Harpers, and others. Going forward, Shan set high bars for himself. Post OWI, he only accepted commissions that aligned with his moral values.

After the 1940’s, Shahn changed styles from what he called “Social Realism” to “Personal Realism,” which has been described as “a universal expression through the devices of symbolism and allegory, the stylized line, and the colorful palette…he could evoke worlds with a single pen stroke or color overlay.”

In summary, Shahn’s reputation lives on in that he was a powerful political activist who prioritized citizen voice. This is unquestionably displayed in his works surrounding Jewish identity, citizen voice, war protests, and civil political liberties. He inspires countless generations of artists who came after him, his unique style and combination of colour and line gaining a timeless reputation.

Sources:

https://www.wnyc.org/story/ben-shahn/]

https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/shahn-ben/identity

https://www.invaluable.co.uk/auction-lot/ben-shahn-silent-music-275-c-c4d612b72e

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/64565

http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/collezione-d_arte-contemporanea/sale-28-e-29–il-secondo-novecento-negli-stati-uniti/ben-shahn–the-burial-society.html

https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/ben-shahns-new-deal-murals

https://www.artic.edu/artworks/194744/this-is-nazi-brutality

Milton Glaser

“A modern renaissance man — one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work.”

~(miltonglaser.com)

When you think of iconic mid-century design, you think of Milton Glaser. Responsible for some of the most iconic images of North American advertising, Glaser continues to create even today into his late 80’s. He’s the man behind the “I <3 NY” logo, the Bob Dylan poster, and more recently, Trumps famed “Space Force.”

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He began to build a name for himself with the co-founding of Pushpin Studios (1954) in collaboration with Seymour Chwast, and would continue the reputation he built for himself by once again cofounding the New York Magazine in 1968. In 1977 he would design the most commonly used logo of all time, the famous I Love NY. Originally Glaser had been bored of the project, not finding a singluar design that did the idea justice, and came to a point where he decided to do the work pro-bono. Thats right, Glaser did not receive a cent for what is now one of the most easily recognizable images in the world. He ended up scrawling down something in the back of a taxi cab and calling it a day.

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Originally used to boost citizen morale and the general conception of what was a ratty and crime-stricken New York, Milton created the logo. In efforts to push the image into the public eye, the city decided to withhold copyright claims for a number of years. When they finally did, the crackdown on public use was so intense that even Milton got sent a cease-and-assist letter for using his own design.

Glaser boasts a prolific portfolio consisting of  almost 400 works, including “posters for Lincoln Centre, Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, the Holocaust Museum…  Cooper Union, the Philadelphia Zoo, the 1984 Olympic Games, the Van Gogh Estate… the Metropolitan Opera, Bob Dylan, and others.” (hyperallergic.com)

A short overview of his accomplishments includes, but is not limited to:

  • Designing over 50 magazines,
  • Remodeled Washington Post, La Vanguardia, O Globo
  • Created over 400 promotional pieces in his career
  • Graphic and Architectural Design
  • 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2009 National Medal of Arts

In the way of the psychedelic 60’s, Glaser contributed many influential pieces to the world of music. His work for Bob Dylan remains one of his most iconic works, but also proudly owns works for Aretha Franklin, and others. The work is trademarked by his signature limited colour palette, flat, islamic inspired geometry, and countless historical/artistic references that show through each piece. In a modern sense, Glaser showed his expertise in the realm of 60’s design when he created the graphics for the final season of Mad Men, debuting in 2015.

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Although one would typically end a post like this with the classic “In summary…” it’s hard to put the works of Milton Glaser in to a few simple sentences. Only a small part of his career has been covered in this post, and there are years and years worth of revolutionary design that comes with the name “Milton” attached to it. He is often regarded as one of the most influential designers to date, and for good reason. He is equal to the likes of Saul Bass, Paul Rand, Peter Saville, and others, and will always be regarded as a pioneer of modern design, as well as what it means to be a working creator.

Sources:

https://www.fastcompany.com/3043692/milton-glaser-reveals-how-he-made-the-legendary-bob-dylan-even-more-legendary

https://www.miltonglaser.com/milton/#3

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_art

https://www.fastcompany.com/3043692/milton-glaser-reveals-how-he-made-the-legendary-bob-dylan-even-more-legendary

https://www.fastcompany.com/90211323/designer-milton-glaser-nailed-the-logo-for-trumps-space-force

https://frieze.com/article/aretha-franklin-honoured-national-portrait-gallery-milton-glaser-work

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-07-27/eight-logos-for-trump-s-space-force-from-milton-glaser-and-more

http://www.pushpininc.com/gallery/original-illustration/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_New_York

http://www.miltonglaser.com/files/milton-16279-93.jpg

https://www.miltonglaser.com/thumbs/665×408/files/far/WHO-3807.jpg

https://www.miltonglaser.com/the-work/565/rubin-museum-of-art-logo-sketches/

https://www.miltonglaser.com/the-work/565/rubin-museum-of-art-logo-sketches/


Edwin Georgi

“His depiction of sultry, sensual femininity, with a bewildering palette of pearlescent hues, created a powerful image in fifties America – and one of impeccable morality. His quality of light was unique – the highlights burning with adjacent areas of pink and lilac. The reflected light he loved so much seemed to come from beneath, and scattered around the face giving an almost unearthly glow.”

~Tutt’Art
Image result for edwin georgi

What do you get when you combine pin ups, Monet, and science fiction lighting? Edwin Giorgi. If that equation doesn’t quite seem to add up, the proof is in the pudding; Giorgi was one of the few artists who were able to seemingly combine genres and pull it off effortlessly. At the same time, he appealed to the mass audience by creating works with exciting colour palettes and pop-culture centric images.

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For the most part he was self taught, and started his career in advertising and fine art. He possessed a degree from Princeton and left with the full fledged intention to become a writer, but his love of fiction and story telling led him down an alternate path of illustration. Starting out as a copywriter in an agency, he was told the cruel but essential phrase “You would be better as an artist.” Rough, yes, but this pushed him in the right direction.

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What made Giorgi stand out so much from his contemporaries was his dramatic depiction of light, colour, and feminine sensuality. Much like Russel Patterson, Giorgi created women who were powerful and sensual, strong in their emotions and structured as a crucial character within the scene. Paired with his expert illustration of light and colour, the figures worked with it to communicate a precise feeling and mood within the illustration. He does so marvellously, as the figures could easily be overtaken by the aggressive brushstrokes and unapologetic use of colour.

His career consisted of illustrations, personal commissions, advertising, and works that accompanied entertainment mediums as well. His work was extremely well received among the public, and his career was long and prosperous.

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https://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/2011/11/edwin-georgi-1896-1964-american-pin-up.html

http://www.americanartarchives.com/georgi.htm

Giovanni Pintori

“Pintori is considered the source of all the initiatives contributing to the Olivetti image: design coordination, graphics, typography, advertising image, sales-outlet design, and furnishing,”

(H. Waibl)

Giovanni Pintori is an Italian born designer and fine artist, most well known for his advertising work with Olivetti typewriters. He was born in Sardinia in 1912 to a dairy farmer. However, after pursuing art during his early education he was able to obtain a scholarship to the ISIA in Monza. Here Pintori studied under influential designers Marcello Nizzoli and Edoardo Persico.

It was post-graduation that brought Pintori to Olivetti, and after just three years with the company he was promoted to head of the Development and Advertising department. He designed countless ads that were suited to billboards, papers, advertisements in magazines, each one gaining Olivetti an impressive international reputation for the innovative and exciting ads. During the 1950’s alone he would be recognized for his work with solo exhibitions, awards, and honorary diplomas. as listed by storymarks.it;

“In 1950 he won his first of a series of awards: the Palma d’Oro of Italian Federation of Advertising..
In 1952, the MoMA in New York organized the exhibition Olivetti: Design in Industry, in which his work is widely represented.
In 1953 he joined the ACI (Alliance Graphique International).
In 1955, with an exhibition at the Louvre, a room dedicated to his work for Olivetti.
Also in 1955 received the Certificate of Excellence of Graphic Arts of AIG (the Association of American graphic designer) and the following year, the Gold Medal and Diploma in First Line Award Graphics and Fiera Milano.
In 1957 he was awarded the diploma of the XI Triennale Grand Prize in the same year he exhibited in London with the AGI.”

Pintori was best known for his use of color, geometry, and unexpected combinations of designs. His imagination and creativity set him apart from his contemporaries in huge way, as he truly was revolutionizing the idea of corporate identity.

Artero-Library-Olivetti-Pintori-Moma1

Pintori was able to create an exciting, dynamic brand identity for something that was perfectly suited to graphic design; type. More specifically typewriters, but his work was best known for his innovative use of type and integration into the image. Personally, I’ve heard and seen examples of the phrase “Type should work with the design, not just stand on top of it,” and no body of work better exemplifies this for me than Pintori’s. He worked with a bland object and made it exciting, desirable, and modern, and his designs fit all of the same attributes.

http://www.archiviograficaitaliana.com/designers/2/giovannipintori

http://www.storymarks.it/giovanni-pintori-un-genio-italiano/

Rose O’neill

Last summer, I spent a good amount of time rummaging through old things in our house. I was moving out for the first time, and I was fully engaged in the stereotypical teen-moves-out-for-the-first-time montage. I was emptying my parents costume trunk (which had been a go-to for halloween costumes for the majority of my childhood) when I came to the bare floor of the trunk. All the costumes were on the ground, the old wooden box empty, and staring up at me was this… thing.

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It wasn’t until further research that I discovered the importance of the naked child in my costume trunk, or his origins. The baby, more well known as the Kewpie, was created by Rose O’Neill in 1908. O’Neill was American illustrator most known for the creation of the character. She started out in rural Nebraska and from a young age harboured a love for fine art, illustration, and sculpture. Her illustration career started with an art contest when she was 13, entering and winning with a piece titled, “Temptation Leading to an Abyss.” At the age of 15, she was creating illustrations for local Omaha magazines, gaining herself a decent-sized reputation.

Her early works were extremely well done, composed, and were interesting to look at. From the start O’Neill’s characters had personality and presence. As seen below, the young woman emanates power and seduction, while the old woman appears cooky and senile. Even the cat looks pissed off, and the audience is able to learn about the scene and the exchange without seeing the article this illustration would have gone with. Rose’s work was consistent in this way, and it was what gained her so much respect in the illustration world. She could draw, and she could do it well, but instead turned to a much more exciting route with her comics and characters.

One of O’Neill’s earlier illustrations for an Omaha magazine.

In 1983, Rose and her father moved to New York City to help further her career. She joined the team at Puck magazine, where she was the only female on staff. While experiencing this, O’Neill became heavily involved in the “New Woman” movement, which focused on the central idea of women as strong independent figures in society. O’Neill accompanied many other female artists in this movement, including Violet Oakley. “

“[Female artists] played crucial roles in representing the New Woman, both by drawing images of the icon and exemplifying this emerging type through their own lives”

` Art historian Laura Prieto

It was during this time of suffrage and feminist movements that O’Neill started creating original artworks and not just magazine commissions. It’s here that the Kewpie came about, his name derived from the traditional “Cupid” of roman mythology. She incorporated the characters so often that O’Neill once stated; “I thought about the Kewpies so much that I had a dream about them where they were all doing acrobatic pranks on the coverlet of my bed. One sat in my hand.””

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The little cherubic characters were debuted in Ladies Home Journal, and as they gained popularity, would appear in Women’s Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. The comics style would become just as iconic as the beloved characters, and would become a signal of the mid-century comic. O’Neills characters were featured constantly getting into trouble and causing mischief in their little lovable way. Most importantly, they frequented advertisements and campaigns favouring women’s rights. The Kewpie’s may have seemed out of place on a Suffrage poster (as seen below) but were actually highly effective. The mischievous character who always ended up doing good was a well thought out placement. It was almost as if O’Neill was saying “Of course it’s going to be troublesome to get there, but everything will work out in the end.”

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Eventually the well loved characters would be produced in porcelain as one of the first mass-produced toys in America, and became a household, well loved toy. So well loved in fact, that it ended up in the hands of my dad. It still sits in the basement, but now on a shelf standing upright and not laying in the bottom of a costume chest.

On a personal note, I find O’Niell’s work very admirable. She really emphasizes the importance of consistency in ones style, harking back to the saying “If you’re everything, you’re nothing. ” Especiallly seeing her early work, with her expert draughtsmanship and technique, I always have respect for an artist who chooses heavily stylized work over impressive academic skill. Overall, I think the most incredible thing about Rose O’Neill was that she created a world and lived inside of it. She describes her Kewpies as “a sort of little round fairy whose one idea is to teach people to be merry and kind at the same time,” and conducted her life in that exact same way. Her work could be summed up by the same principles. Both her early and mature work was merry, kind, and jovial to say the least, which is what made the Kewpie so adored by the public in the end.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/prolific-illustrator-behind-kewpies-used-her-cartoons-womens-rights-180968497/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_O%27Neill

https://timeline.com/kewpie-doll-rose-oneill-480de6506035

Sanford “Sandy” Kossin

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“The art by this well-known illustrator will forever be preserved and it will remain an inspiration to other striving illustrators and artists of today and the future.”

~ MacArtherMemorial.org
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Sanford Kossin stands among a unique group of illustrators, ones that stand apart from the rest of history both in subject matter, style, and importance. Of course, I speak of the great post-war illustrators responsible for chronicling America in the late half of the 20th century. Among his contemporaries, Kossin provided his audience (as well as the present-day) with a unique interpretation of post-war culture, political commentary, and literature visuals all while doing doing so in an exciting colour palette. His collection of works is home to a wide range of clients, from “paper back book covers, science-fiction magazines, children’s books and magazines, and fiction art for Boy’s Life, Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, and others.” (macarthurmemorial.org)

Known as Sandy Kossin among his contemporaries, Kossin has been hailed as one of the greatest illustrators of the 20th century. Kossin started his artistic career with an education in the California Jepson Art Institute, and afterwards worked primarily in New York as an illustrator. However, Kossin’s prior service in World War Two would go on to influence every illustration created in his career, and would prove to be some of the most influential artistic commentary as the United States plummeted in and out of the Cold War and other international conflicts.

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Apart from subject matter, Kossin is most well known for his highly conceptual fictional content, as well as his striking dark line work and high contrast colour. He credits this unique approach to his work with lino-cuts at a young age. As seen above, Kossin developed a style that was bold, rough, and striking, all while maintaining his incredible skills of draughtsmanship and faithfulness to realism.

On a final note, during his peaking Kossin was, and still remains, an extremely important illustrator that helped break down the barrier between fictional illustrations and real-world events. He is equally recognized for his political commentary and for his science-fiction related drawings. Kossins unique style and ability enabled him to make a tangible difference in the every-day home, not just in the lives of avid-readers or art collectors.

https://www.macarthurmemorial.org/147/Sanford-Kossin

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?96297

https://www.societyillustrators.org/sandy-kossin