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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life is full of pleasant surprises, making connections all over again via the internet is exciting

. . . as well as digging up old resources.

Ian Beck is an English illustrator of my generation who in the 1970's was responsible for work that I thought plainly went backwards in style, colour palette and the tool marks that he made. I responded to his work from an almost sub-conscious level - living in Brisbane, Australia - I loved it. I yearned to see more period graphics, those styles that never actually hit our shores. Beck seemed to channel this old stuff!
Those great English social realists who showed us anew the 'sweat of humanity' in the modern realm, those important community artists who were muralists: Stanley Spencer and Mary Adshead who then pushed their contemporaries like Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious into cleaner graphic clarity and who in turn - turned on 1950's & 1960's designers and illustrators that I liked: Eric Thomas, Roger Nicholson, David Gentlemen, Walter Hoyle and Kenneth Rowntree.
. . . well I went searching for him after I scanned an envelope and a letter, penned in his hand, half way through last year. I drew a blank until a few days ago when I chanced upon a graphic of his at letterology and a post that connected me to his blog*#! - what's this? An Ian Beck blog, surprise surprise!

Downloadable .pdf of the letter - here.

It was 1977 when I sent a large promotional poster to Ian with the studio's compliments. It was done for the BAD CLUB, the Brisbane Art Directors Club and it introduced my ephemera collection and a call to action - Save our Graphic Heritage, something I am still passionate about. Ian's letter mentions the piece, shown below.

I think four art directors a year did a calendar poster on a theme of their choice, I put so much work into this piece and was bitterly disappointed with the printed result . . . each ephemeral piece was laid out and photographed by Terry Straight. I worked with the litho firm of Press Etchings to do a beautiful duotone set of plates and the job was handed to a printer (you know, as a freebie). It was run before I was informed, they ran a single pms brown, flooded the thing with ink + horrific dot gain - I never used the printer ever again!

1 comment:

  1. Date: 27 November 2011 7:11:30 PM
    Subject: Re: I've done a wordpress response on ephemeral-male just now Ian:

    Dear Malcolm
    I saw the blog piece for which many thanks, very odd to see my old
    early trained handwriting which was fiercely drummed in to me by my
    late M in law. 1977 was the year I was married. I note mention of a
    children's book for oxford university press in my letter, well that
    never happened which I count as a blessing because it was no good, the
    text was written by my Brother in law who was a film maker but no
    author. I did much later on publish my first children's 1983,
    and still in print. Since then children's books have been my life. I
    now write fiction, something I had always had an ambition to do even
    at art school. One of my novels, Pastworld (Bloomsbury 2009) is
    (fingers crossed) about to be a 'major motion picture' to use trailer
    speak, we shall see. I have written five other novels and about sixty
    picture books, most to be found on Amazon. My latest The Haunting of
    Charity Delafield was described as.... 'old fashioned',.... it has a
    late Victorian setting, so you see nothing has really changed. Let me
    know what you have been up to in the interim.
    All Best Ian