Sunday, 19 September 2010

Milton Glaser

About a hundred years ago, the first time I went to New York, I was invited along to Push Pin Studios by the English illustrator Barry Zaid who had recently been recruited. I was lucky enough to meet co-founder Seymour Chwaste while I was there but disappointingly, Milton Glaser the other founder, incredibly talented designer, illustrator and typographer - and now very famous for creating the I [heart] NY logo, was away at the time, though I did get to have a drink with him in London in the 70’s when he interviewed my other half, the illustrator Pauline Ellison about a work project.

In 1954 Glaser was a founder, and president, of Push Pin Studios formed with several of his Cooper Union classmates. Glaser's work is characterized by directness, simplicity and originality. He uses any medium or style to solve the problem at hand. His style ranges wildly from primitive to avante garde in his countless book jackets, album covers, advertisements and direct mail pieces and magazine illustrations. He started his own studio, Milton Glaser, Inc, in 1974. This led to his involvement with an increasingly wide diversity of projects, ranging from the design of New York Magazine, of which he was a co-founder, to a 600 foot mural for the Federal Office Building in Indianapolis.

Throughout his career he has had a major impact on contemporary illustration and design. His work has won numerous awards from Art Directors Clubs, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Illustrators and the Type Directors Club. In 1979 he was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and his work is included in the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Israel Museum and the Musee de L'affiche in Paris. Glaser has taught at both the School of Visual Arts and at Cooper Union in New York City. He is a member of Alliance Graphique International (AGI).
In 2009, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin (born 6 August 1932), another painter who I would classify as a colourist produces lively abstracts. He has been called Howard Splodgkin, but come to think of it that may have been by me. Hodgkin is a cousin of the English still life painter Eliot Hodgkin (1905-87), and was educated at Bryanston School in Dorset. He then studied at the Camberwell Art School and later at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, where Edward Piper studied drawing under him.

Hodgkin's first solo show was in London in 1962. His early paintings tend to be made up of hard-edged curved forms in a limited number of colours.
Around the beginning of the 1970s, his style became more spontaneous, with vaguely recognisable shapes presented in bright colours and bold forms. His works may then be called "semi-abstract", and are often compared to the paintings of Henri Matisse.

In 1984, Hodgkin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, in 1985 he won the Turner Prize, and in 1992 he was knighted. In 1995, Hodgkin printed the Venetian Views series, which depict the same view of Venice at four different times of day. Venice, Afternoon - one of the four prints - uses sixteen sheets, or fragments, in a hugely complex printing process which creates a colourful, painterly effect. This piece was given to the Yale Centre of British Art in June 2006 by the Israel family to complement their already-impressive collection of Hodgkins.

In 2003 he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Companion of Honour. A major exhibition of his work was mounted at Tate Britain, London, in 2006. Also in 2006, The Independent declared him one of the 100 most influential gay people in Britain, as his work helps many people express their emotions to others.