Friday, October 14, 2011

Inside an insanely creative mind

"It would be difficult to imagine contemporary American and European graphic design and illustration without the presence of Seymour Chwast" reads the citation awarding the 1985 American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal to this influential artist.
 "By the middle of the 1950s, as the Norman Rockwell epoch drew to a close, Chwast was already known for his unique style of illustration. His playful, expressive approach to type and layout was the point of a new design wave based on revivalism—a radical alternative to the Swiss formalism of the time. For over 30 years he has continued to ride above the twists and turns of fashion; today his art is even more energized and varied than when it originally altered a generation's perceptions.
Chwast's work is widely recognized on posters, in books for children and adults, magazines and advertisements. His strength is not in rendering, like so many of the “sentimentalists” before him, but in concept and design. A beguiling sense of humor underpins his illustration, and a keen understanding of traditional design governs his method. Chwast and his Push Pin colleagues helped reintroduce the long divorced principles of illustration and design. Moreover, he helped formulate a new graphic lexicon based on knowledge, appreciation and reapplication of past styles and forms—one that has had long term effects on graphic design."
As shown in Seymour: The Obsessive Images of Seymour Chwast, Chast's brilliant work stands on its own, but the notes he provides on context and inspiration in the appendix are an extra lagniappe.
Icon for a children's museum


  1. extra points for sneaking in 'lagniappe' --well-done!

  2. The influence of chwast and his pushpin partner Milton glazer cannot be overstated. Young designers like mysel would pour over their posters, promotions, fonts ... Loving their wildly rebelious ideas and crazy imaginations.

  3. yes, the book is truly a wonderland. so clever, and never in a rut.