Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley

The cover of the New Yorker’s March 6 issue was in Cyrillic. Every year around its anniversary (February 21), The New Yorker displays its mascot Eustace Tilley on the cover. His outfit and the context varies; typically, it reflects the magazine’s content and is a commentary on the times. This is an excellent example of supporting a brand through a familiar face.

In the March 6 issue this year, Eustace Tilley is shown as President Putin and his butterfly as President Trump. This hilarious play on the two leaders’ relationship is emphasized further by displaying the magazine’s masthead in Cyrillic. In the upper left corner, in a small black bar, we find the original logo; maybe the editor feared that the cover could be mistaken for a Russian magazine.

The story behind Eustace Tilley dates back to the first number, released almost a century ago. At that time, The New Yorker was a rookie. It was conceived as a gossipy periodical, what today we would call tabloid journalism. The founders didn’t have enough ads, so humorist Corey Ford came up with an ironic Victorian-style dandy character to fill the empty pages. Eustace Tilley was featured on the first cover (drawn by the art editor Rea Irvin who also designed the iconic New Yorker font) and in a couple of playful stories about making the magazine. Incidentally, Tilley, with his ironic appearance, intensely curious about a butterfly, became the perfect face for the magazine’s future voice: intellectual, yet humorous.

JR - Can Art Change the World?

His work is described as street art or conceptual art, but it could pass as contemporary photography, environmental design, or even charity advertising. JR's art is visually appealing, and at the same time easy to understand. The lack of deep, hidden meanings accessible only to an initiated minority doesn't make his messages trivial, however. Quite the opposite: His work’s simplicity conveys powerful emotions to the spectator. 

One of my favourite JR projects is his unauthorized outdoor exhibition Face2Face where his intention was to break down prejudice among ordinary people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through silliness and laughter.

He pasted giant portraits of Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life side by side on the West Bank separation wall, asking his 'models' to make funny face expressions. They were school kids, teachers, grocers, security guards, rabbis, or sheiks, for example – and they all took their assignment to be silly very seriously. Whoever saw these portraits couldn't help but burst into laughter. Suddenly, the difference between enemy and friend did not seem that essential: They were all just hilarious faces.

The exhibition did not end the conflict, of course, but for a moment it made hatred a bit more absurd.

To learn more about J.R.: http://www.jr-art.net

 

Gerd Arntz, Infographic Design Pioneer

Gerd Arntz was a German modernist artist best known for his black and white graphic art. His design of over 4000 symbols for the Isotype project in the late 1920s and early 1930s was probably the first attempt at a comprehensive collection of pictograms and small illustrative forms in the history of graphic design. The artwork, which today we would categorize as icon and infographic design, was commissioned by Otto Neurath of the Vienna Circle.

The Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education) project was conceived as a visual method aimed at making data and statistics more accessible to a broader population, especially to poorer and often illiterate members of society. Apart from the project’s scientific and societal value, the pictograms designed by Gerd Arntz are visually so well-thought-out that they could easily be used in a lot of today’s infographics.

If you would like to learn more about Gerd Arntz, visit: http://www.gerdarntz.org

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

 Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Photo: Gerd Arntz Web Archive

Architectural, Art and Design Fantasies of Yakov Chernikhov

This is a small tribute to a fellow freelancer who achieved amazing results in a harsh Soviet dystopia where any kind of individualism was denounced and persecuted. 

Yakov Chernikhov was an almost forgotten member of the Russian avant-garde. His Architectural Fantasies are impressive creations which blur the boundaries between art, architecture, and design. His own art studio, Research Pilot Laboratory for Architectural Forms and Graphical Studies, founded in the late 1920s, managed not only to survive the post-revolutionary days, but also to produce some of the most original multidisciplinary artwork in 20th century.

More about Yakov Chernikhov: icif.ru

 Photo: The Charnel House

Photo: The Charnel House

 Photo: The Charnel House

Photo: The Charnel House

 Photo: ICIF

Photo: ICIF

 Photo: ICIF

Photo: ICIF

 Photo: ICIF

Photo: ICIF

Female Screen Printing Action Hero

We live in a celebrity culture where the media often dictate our preferences. And maybe our “choice” is less ours than that of some marketing team who triggered our interest in a certain celebrity, a pop star, or a big-screen action hero. That way, sadly, real heroes often remain unknown to the broader public.

The Danish textile designer Marie Gudme Leth (1895-1997) was a real life hero. She was a pioneer in screen printing on fabric. Being a female designer in the first half of the 20th century was a major achievement on its own. But on top of that, her delicate patterns, inspired by Asian block printing and Indonesian ethnic motives, reflected an extraordinary level of talent and fresh thinking.

More about Marie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Gudme_Leth

 Photo by Patricia Greve

Photo by Patricia Greve