Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Shock of The Old (III)
You Will Live Under the Sea

Right in the middle of the twentieth century (after World War II but before East17) graphic design and illustration was in a very happy place. Experimentation and creativity were the order of the day. There's a seemingly endless list of illustrators (usually American) who in the 50's and 60's, were producing work that remains to this day, eye poppingly brilliant. Step forward Ward Brackett.

Ward Brackett began his illustration career in the 1930's and by the 50's he was producing editorial paintings for the likes of 'Good Housekeeping' - usually to accompany the sort short stories that magazines don't carry any more.

Ward Brackett for Good Housekeeping 1948

By the 60's Brackett, was exploring a very different way of working (whilst maintaing the highly wrought, painterly approach) that has been described as 'sophisticated crudeness'. This style is a mixed media playground where collage and gestural mark making come together in a playful and exciting visual world.

Some examples of Ward Brackett's multi media, 'sophisticatedly crude' work.

Brackett, created several childrens' books in this way and it's one of those that we're going to show off.
Bought recently from a library in Indiana (via Amazon) You Will Live Under the Sea, is a 1966 children's book about mans future beneath the waves, illustrated by Ward Brackett in his alternate, collaged, sophisticatedly crude style.

On closer inspection the collage and textural nature of the illustration process is evident.

Remember, all of this work was created decades before photoshop. I expect to see you all jostling for the photocopier over the coming weeks.

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