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!