The 1940's, 50's and 60's eras greatly inspire my work and feature some especially cool paintings! I particularly love the fashion, design and pop art culture of the Mid-Century period. The 50's and 60's to me captures a sense of growing optimism, hopefulness and dreams!
The playful, colourful “Pop Art” style has always caught my eye! One of the most famous art movements of all time, artists were turning to “popular” culture for inspiration like comic books, magazines and movies, and creating new forms of art and design. These were exciting times, but some of these classically cool paintings were highly criticised by the art world. One of the most influential artists of this time, Andy Warhol quoted “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” And so he did along with some of my favourite artists of this time Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney! “Pop Art” became a consumerist culture driving economic growth whilst bringing a fresh bold new look to art! Whether critical or celebratory, “Pop Art” certainly illuminated the materialism that dominates the capitalist society.
Recently my work has been influenced by the “retro” travel poster style. I’ve always loved the aesthetics and simplicity of poster art as inspirational wall art, particularly that of the art deco and streamliner 1920’s-30s and mid-century modern 1940s-60s eras. The poster has a long history dating back to the mid 1800’s and graphically has always been a powerful form to visually communicate a message whilst being a beautiful piece of art. The simple elegant lines, graphical illustration and iconic use of typography of travel posters tell a nostalgic and glamorous story. I’m drawn to the elegance, the balance, the precision and simplicity of design from these past periods. The travel posters from these times created some iconically cool paintings and evoke a sense of adventure, wonder and optimism. A promise of someplace new, beautiful and exotic, promoting an experience, how to get there and what to expect.
During the long history of poster design, lithographic printing allowed for multi-colour design, however many artists limited their colour palette to reduce costs. Repeated usage of colour, both bold primaries and harmonious pastels give the art its simple appearance, whilst defined outline and pattern give a sense of precision and balance visually. Today travel posters from the late 1800s to the late 1970s are highly collectible for their dynamic design and range of artists and artistic styles.
I definitely have a romanticised view of what life may have been like when I look back at this era. I wish I could travel back in time, but somehow imagining it as being better, more attractive or interesting than perhaps it really was inspires my art. I think the retro travel poster very much encapsulates a time when things were simpler, perhaps more elegant, romantic and dreamlike, which is why I’m drawn to the poster art of this time. I’ve taken design elements from this era and created modern art pieces which encompasses a new take on the long history of the travel poster.
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