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THE AVANT GARDE ISSUE | ALEXEY BRODOVITCH | POMME CHAN | RANKIN
NOV | DEC 09 £4.50
NOV | DEC 09
Printed in the UK £4.50
REMEMBERING ALEXEY BRODOVITCH
DREAMER, DOODLER + CREATVE GENIUS
BEHIND THE LENS WITH RANKIN
interview/ pomme chan words/ lena kamay
Say hello to Pomme Chan. She was born and educated in Bangkok. Then she decided to move to London for the focusing on her interest in graphic design and education. Over the past four years, her drawings have featured in the Telegraph, IDN, Grafik, Curvy Book and FT magazines, and she has worked on prestigious ad campaigns for the likes of Sony, Mercedes-Benz, Marc Jacobs, Microsoft, The Guardian, Nike and Topshop. Using her very unique style, Pomme draws inspiration from nature, fashion, architecture, music and the female form. Now a few questions
“Dreaming. I know a guy who sleeps with a special small pillow and he draws or writes down what he dreamt right after he wakes up.”
If you have a chance to draw a movie poster, what movie will you choose? I’d choose the French film: Amelie. Do you prefer color or form? Definitely Form. Some works are even nicer just plain black and white. Which dead artist inspired you? Salvador Dalí. His imagination has always amazed me. What themes do you express through your art? Secret, Geometric and Fun Fare. Favorite book? One and only: The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. What are your first steps in illustration? Doodles. What is your tips for drawing? Let it flow. Who rules the world? Everyone. Everyone rules their own world. What inspires you? Dreaming. My inspiration comes from dreaming. I know a guy who sleeps with a special small pillow and he draws or writes down what he dreamt right after he wakes up.
You can see more of Pomme Chan’s work at www.pommepomme. com
Remembering Alexey Brodovitch Alexander Brodovitch, fondly known as Alexey is remembered today as the art director of Harperâ€™s Bazaar magazine where he did revolutionary editorial design for nearly a quarter of a century. During the 1950â€™s he introduced the United States to a radically simplified and more modernised style of graphic design which gave the magazine design a clean and avant-garde style. He was fascinated by photography and photographic elements played a big part in his style of design. During his career he collaborated with famous photographers such as Irving Penn and Richard Avedon and set the bar high for the new age of editorial design. Today Brodovitchâ€™s legacy is still remarkably rich and his layouts remain to be respected models of graphic intelligence and continue to inspire with their energetic vitality and immediacy.
photography by ILONA BRIDGES
THE MAN BEHIND HARPER’S BAZAAR Brodovitch was born in Russia in 1898 where he deferred his goal of attending the Imperial Art Academy to fight in the Czarist army. In defeat, he fled Russia with his family and future wife and, in 1920, settled in Paris. Like many other emigrés whom had gained wealth in Russia, he ended up being both poor and workless. Living in Montparnasse, he found himself in a community of russian artists, which lead to his wish to become a painter. He obtained a job as a painter of stage sets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Diaghilev’s approach to design inspired him to move towards the more commercial arts and influenced him in his ideas on the lack of boundaries between different arts. Despite the burden of exile, he prospered. In 1924 Brodovitch entered a poster competition which searched for the most innovatory design to announce an upcoming ball. He won the first prize, leaving a drawing by Picasso behind. Furthermore, in 1925 he won medals for fabric, jewelry and display design at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts. Soon he was in great demand, the advertisement agency Maximilien Vox asked Brodovitch to design an advert for Martini Vermouth. The result, based on strict geometric forms and basic colors resembled the constructivist style as seen in El Lissitsky’s work. His artistic work shared the ideas of the avant-garde. He then became art director for Athélia Studio, which gave him the opportunity to direct all aspects of a creative production. He had become one of the most respected designers of commercial art in Paris, however Paris began to lose its spirit of adventure it initially had. He looked across the Atlantic for new opportunities and was asked to come to Philadelphia to organise design classes at the Philadelphia College of Art. So in 1930 he moved to the United States. Within the training school he trained students in the fundamentals of European design aswell as continuing with his freelance work. His breakthrough came in 1934 when the new editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow, saw his design work and immediately hired him as the art director for the magazine. His addition to the team catapulted the magazine in both realms of fashion and design and surpassed its competitors, including Vogue.
Brodovitch was the art director at Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1958 and incorporated the works of famous artists such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray and A.M. Cassandre. His style was instantly recognisable by the utter simplicity of the page layout and the skilled use of white space. Models in the latest fashion floated on the page and his layouts created an illusion of elegance. He integrated different elements to accentuate fluidity and used repetition to create movement within the page. He was passionate about photography and revolutionised how photography was represented in editorial design: he often cropped photographs to frame the page and set them off centre or on the edge of the page - again creating a fluid layout. Legibility was not his main concern and was more concerned with the aesthetics of the design. The typeface he preferred was Bodoni, but when needed he switched to Stencil, Typewriter or a script. He matched the typeface with the feeling or with the need for an appropriate effect. Brodovitch was the first art director to integrate image and text, where most american magazines at that time used text and illustration separately, dividing them by wide white margins. When Brodovitch left Harper’s Bazaar in 1958 due to alcoholism he was succeeded by Henry Wolf who commented on his unique approach to magazine layout. “Oh, of course he was a good designer and superb typographer and had an innate sense of elegance about space,” Wolf said. “But his layouts were done only as approximations. He stood in the middle of the room and, with a scissor, cut out photostats which he taped to a piece of paper. Others later straightened them. It was
communicating an idea, masterful.”
Earlier, in 1949 Frank Zac focused on art and design an He considered approaching of an artist rather than an art d although it was only published used only type on the cover, wh wanted to create a magazine un is filled with a range of design in vision. The readership was aimed as die-cuts, transparent pages and expensive production costs and co exist. Also, advertisers were refuse and flow of the magazine and this un magazine.
He continued his work teaching other photography and illustration. He was sometimes harsh in his approach. He d that he taught, to the contrary he would contradict himself to push his students t as a result many students under his tutela talent.
He once said “We learn by making mistake and have the courage to start all over again a we really absorb, really start to know.” His d influenced a generation of visual communicat Irving Penn said, “All designers, all photograp they know it or not, are students of Alexey words by ILONA BRIDGES
, a mood, a criticism that he was precise and
All designers, all photographers, all art directors, whether they know it or not, are students of Alexey Brodovitch.”
chary felt the need to create an american publication nd approached Brodovitch to be the art director. Paul Rand but he was considered to be too much director. The magazine was entitled Portfolio, d for three issues it was influential. Brodovitch hich was unusual in the industry at that time. He nlike any other. The first issue of the magazine nfluences that formed Brodovitch’s creative d at designers and included techniques such d multipage layouts which all accumulated to ould be the reason the publication ceased to ed as he felt this would affect the aesthetics ndoubtedly added to the closure of the
rs and focused on graphic design, known as a inspirational teacher yet didn’t formulate a theory of design d continually change his opinions and to question their design and concepts, age discovered untapped creative
es. We must be critical of ourselves after each failure. Only then do dedication to education directly tors and indirectly everyone else. phers, all art directors, whether Brodovitch.”