Friday, October 30, 2009

Nikolai Tyrsa's life in motion

After Charushin and Lebedev, Animalarium presents another fine Russian children's book illustrator from the twenties. 
Nikolai Tyrsa (1887-1942) was a painter, graphic designer and lithographer whose artworks were characterized by dynamism
 and simple harmonies of color. He was also a brilliant intellectual, art expert, translator and polemicist.
Tyrsa explored many areas of book illustration and design, and created a new striking and decorative book cover style.
Sadly, he died during World War II.

Cover and illustration from Kozlik (The little goat), 1923

Cover and illustrations for Pro slona (About an elephant), 1926

Illustrations from Snezhnaya kniga (The snow book), 1928

Covers for Cort (The devil), Lesnye domishki (?), Otryad (The troop), 1929-30

Tyrsa's love of horses was related to his Cossak origins. He was the only artist able 
to discuss on the same level with Lebedev the minutest details of equine illustration.
Gratitude for the info to the Italian edition of Erast Davidovic Kuznecov's 
Children's book illustration and the Russian avant-garde. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Isidro Ferrer's Objective Zoology

I really like the playful simplicity of Spanish graphic designer and illustrator Isidro Ferrer.
I strongly suggest a visit to see his fantastic work on Pablo Neruda's Libro de las preguntas.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Safari - A literary meeting

Poster for Roubaix book fair by Beatrice Alemagna

I am so fond of Matticchio's literate octopus (or hexapus, as someone rightly noticed) 
that I've gathered a bunch of fellow readers, writers and intellectuals to keep him 
good company on this lovely Sunday afternoon:

three sweet mice by Natasha Fadeeva and Suzuki Tiaki
(thanks to Quinquabelle and Milk Tooth),

two poetic porcupines by Marc Boutavant (from his book For just one day

an artistic cat created by Ondrej Zimka in 1979

an owl with her typewriter by Raymond Savignac
(thanks to ninobooks' great Olivetti flickr collection),

a promising writer, Denis the deer, presenting his first book
(from Gwénola Carrère's ABC des petits annonces, published in Italy by Topipittori),

a bookworm bug by Edward Bawden (thanks to Paja Troops 76 on flickr),

a quiet book-loving dog by Maira Kalman,

a few sheepish readers by André François,

the fierce literary critic fox, and the twin rooster writers by Henry Galeron,

and finally, a couple more intellectual roosters by Herbert Leupin (1955)
and Finnish graphic designer Tapani Aartomaa...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mad Men and Crazy Critters, 2nd episode - Sweetly Swiss

Dalang egg noodles, 1952, Suchard Milka chocolate, 1949

Herbert Leupin (1916-1999), one of the greatest and most prolific Swiss poster artists,
 studied in Basel and in the Paris school of Art Deco poster artist Paul Colin. After his
 return to Switzerland in 1937 he started working as a graphic artist. At first his work 
was hyperrealistic and influenced by Object Poster aesthetics. During the fifties, 
his most productive years, he developed a more humorous and whimsical personal style. 
Leupin's cheerful and brightly colored posters had a stunning visual impact, and 
the new approach became enormously successful in commercial art. This advertising
 genius can be compared to Leonetto Cappiello in his ability to express the essence of 
a product through visual metaphors, although his images also possess a gentle childlike
 appeal lacking in Cappiello's work. Many of the pictures featured in this post come from
 the large collection at the International poster gallery, where they are available for sale.

Pelikan pen, 1952

Eptinger sparkling water and Pepita grapefruit soda, 1949-52

Pepita grapefruit soda, 1951-5

Rössli cigars, 1954

Knie circus and Kolynos toothpaste, 1959-60

Bell grocery store chain, 1968-9

Lion lithograph, 1980s

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Momentous Mutations of Kazumasa Nagai

"The universe and mankind both have a uniform order that I express". Kazugama Nagai

For over forty years Kazumasa Nagai has communicated his poetic message 
of harmony between man and nature through artworks that are refreshingly diverse 
but remain consistently elegant, striking and essential. Nagai (b. 1929), always 
an experimenter, has periodically startled the artworld with the dramatic evolutions 
of his style, from rational abstractions to realistic illustration to computer art to patterns
 to stylized natural forms and more. Japanese graphic master Tadanori Yokoo defined
 these changes as "the Momentous Mutations of Kazumasa Nagai". Nagai's works have been
 featured in many environmental campaigns, received international awards and are found
 in collections including the MoMA and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokio.


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