Friday Book Review
Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes
I have to confess that I was unfamiliar with Steve Rude (aka The Dude) before I picked up this book, and it left me wondering why I hadn’t discovered his work sooner. In terms of the artistic influences we share you couldn’t get much closer with Norman Rockwell, Andrew Loomis and Alex Toth. His extremely impressive work is stylistically on a par with the ever popular Alex Ross (a friend and collaborator of Rudes and another favourite of mine) so I’m puzzled as to why this talented artist isn’t better known. The answers may lie in the artist’s fight with depression or his self-confessed stubborn work ethic, an example of which he gives in a refusal to work for Marvel due to their ‘shabby’ treatment of Jack Kirby. All of that aside, this book is full of truly outstanding illustration that deserves a wider audience. Inside you’ll find a masterful collection of comic book based art finished in a painterly style that harks back to the ‘Golden Age’ of American illustration, followed by top-notch brush, pen and ink work and an ongoing animation project to bring his creation ‘Nexus’ to the screen. Rude gives a frank and personal commentary throughout, introduced by John Fleskes in the form of an excellent interview that serves as the perfect initiation to the world of The Dude. Essential.
Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter
During the depression era of the 1930’s when approximately one-third of the American people were out of work, a government led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt set up a series of programs under the header of The New Deal. One such program was The Works Progress Administration (WPA) that over its eight year life span employed millions of workers tasked with developing and array of socially focused projects ranging from developing road networks, park areas, music concerts, art exhibitions and the subject of this book, poster campaigns. With offices in the major cities such as New York, San Francisco and LA, nearly 500 artists and designers were employed by the project with an output totaling over 35,000 posters. Compiled in this book by Ennis Carter are 500 of the best examples available in a commendable effort to preserve this bold and strikingly graphic work. Not only does this book provide an excellent resource on 30’s & 40’s style graphic design, it also gives insight into an interesting period of American history invested in promoting a positive and motivational ideal. I found myself comparing and finding similarities in these classic posters to todays American Gig Poster movement in which the same techniques are employed to demand readership and promote a positive message with such graphic flair that elevates them above your standard, throwaway advertising, to a position of collectible art.
Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,
Hardcover, 240 pages,
30.5 x 23.1 x 2.8 cm