Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Saul Bass: A Designing Life

Have you seen any of the following movies: "Psycho", "Carmen Jones", "North by Northwest", "Vertigo", "West Side Story" or "Goodfellas?" They all have one thing in common. The designer of the posters and opening film credits was Saul Bass. (1920-1996)

Bass was born in the Bronx, New York and studied art at the Arts Student League in Manhattan. After years of working in printing, he designed a film poster for Otto Preminger's "Carmen Jones." Preminger was so impressed that he asked Bass to also design the film credits.

Later, Preminger asked Bass to design the film credit for "Man with the Golden Arm" (1955). Those designs led to Bass' fame as a title/font designer. He would design for such famous directors as Hitchcock, Kubrik, Wilder, Scorsese and Jim Brooks. Bass became known as "The Godfather of the Font." That's not all of the story...

...In a career that spanned forty years, Bass designed many of the iconic company logos in use today. Do you recognize these?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Magritte: "Son of Man" and More

The blog today is about the surrealist, Rene Magritte (1898-1967). Even if you're not familiar with his body of work, I bet you've seen his famous "Son of Man" shown here on the left. It's been featured in ads as well as movies such as "The Thomas Crown Affair." In spite of the fame of this piece, most of us know almost nothing about him.

Magritte's upbringing was a difficult one. He was a Belgian native whose father was often down on his luck. Finances caused the family to move frequently. Magritte's early trials were made emotionally harder by his mother's many suicide attempts. She finally drowned herself when Magritte was 13 years old. (Legend has it that when she was found her dress was covering her face and that it led to the many faceless or cloth-covered faces in Magritte's paintings.)

When Magritte was 18, he went to the Academy of Art and studied for two years. He found the classic training boring and soon began to experiment with other techniques. Throughout his life, whenever he decided to investigate other styles, he'd always return to Surrealism.

Magritte didn't like to have realistic definitions given to the objects in his paintings. However, since "surreal" is a dreamlike or subconscious state, what do you think he's portraying in his paintings?


"GOLCONDE" (Goldone=a once great city in India now in ruins)




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nureyev's Foot and Other Iconic Images

A few weeks ago, I was looking through a website when I came upon a truly amazing photograph. It was titled, "Nureyev's Foot." I was struck how beautifully it was lighted and cropped. That foot seemed to say everything about the control, power and strength required of such a famous ballet dancer as Rudolf Nureyev. I had to know who had taken the photo.

After some digging through the web, I found the photographer. It turned out to be Richard Avedon and I thought, "but, of course."

Avedon (1923-2004) has been described as the premiere photographer of style and beauty for the second half of the 20th century. Yet, a career that started by taking Merchant Marines' photographs for I.D. cards hardly seems like the basis for such an outstanding career. However, with his passion for photography, he evolved a style that immediately identified a picture as an "Avedon." While Avedon was known for his fashion magazine work, his real love was portraiture.

At age 81 while on assignment for The New Yorker, Avedon suffered a stroke and died. He left a legacy of the most iconic representations of famous figures of the 20th century - including Nureyev's foot. Do you recognize any of these photos?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Profound Pawel

When I first saw the illustrations, I had to find the artist. These illustrations were full of irony and satire. The paintings demonstrated that the artist had a lively and wry intelligence, but who was it?

With a bit of internet sleuthing, I found him. He is Pawel Kuczynski (1976-). He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy of Pozan, Poland, with a major in graphics art. He is internationally recognized artist and has received many awards for his finely detailed illustrations.

Kuczynski has a penchant for a satirical approach to subjects of politics, governments, the environment, as well as social and human behaviors.

Now that you've had a bit of an intro, let these profound images speak for themselves. Let me know what you think. (To fully enjoy detail, please click on image to enlarge.)