Posts Tagged ‘illustration’
I’ve been on a vintage book kick for some time now, which of course has meant the exponential growth of my books wishlist. I’ve managed to add a few of them to my physical collection, and I’m pretty eager to add the others on my list.
My most recent acquisition was the 1951 volume Folk Toys; Les Jouets Populaires by Emanuel Hercik. Hercik undertook the task of cataloguing the development of the folk toy from ancient times through the 1950s in the interest of preserving a record of a basic human tradition and encouraging others to dig deeper themselves. He did so by illustrating them in precise, unpretentious line drawings and paintings.
There is a short intro chapter, which has me itching to explore the historical development of the toy further, but what’s most impressive are the illustrations. While most of us probably lost our interest in toys after the age of 10 or so, this book makes it impossible to indifferently skim through it. Many of the toys are familiar, but there are toys that are unusual and imaginative. I did recognize a few near the end from a collection my mother had that she let us play with when we were little.
The book contains 176 colour plates, so there are way too many for me to photograph and post here, but I’ve included a few favourites. You can see more from the book via tooknap’s vintage toy set
I find most contemporary illustration to be too gimmicky these days to be appealing, so it’s had me doing a little poking around looking at illustrators from the past. (Of course, that isn’t to say that there wasn’t plenty of artifice in past illustration.) Anyway, illustration doesn’t get the respect that fine art does because of the primary intent of illustrative work, but it’s silly when you think about how heavily reliant the contemporary art world is on commodification and yes, gimmickry as well. Superficiality can be found across all mediums of artistic expression. This subject warrants a deeper discussion, but that’s not the point of this post.
Robert Weaver, born in Pittsburgh, PA (home sweet home-ha ha) in 1924, was a dominant illustrator in the 1950s and 60s whose work was regularly published in Life, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, and other major publications. Weaver’s work has a depth that goes far beyond performing simply as colourful accompaniment to text. There is a freedom and expression in his line that moves it beyond being flatly representational that I find impelling.
There’s a quite bit of discussion about Weaver’s work and his contemporaries scattered across the internet. If you feel like doing some reading, check out the write-ups here and here. Interesting stuff.
This cool little find is thanks to the husband who saw it tweeted by Me Melodia a few weeks back. Illustrator Clemens Habicht creates these beautiful handmade kites that, upon closer inspection, reveal an inspired collage technique. They’re available for sale at Lamington Drive Gallery. Again, you can enlarge the pictures simply by clicking on them. (Psst,you get the best effect if you visit Pour Porter! Brannan did a great job with fancy box.