Monday, September 5, 2011

You Are What You Are


As I was growing up, the arrival of Time magazine was always one of my weekly high points. Because news reporting was not as instantaneous then as it is today, Time would feature an in-depth news trend, and that would almost always be reflected in a beautifully executed cover design. As a teenager, I started collecting Time covers, in large part because of the striking portraits of Boris Artzybasheff.

Artzybasheff was famous for illustrating anthropomorphic machines, and conversely, he would sometimes paint portraits of people as the object for which they were known. Artzybasheff's portrait of Buckminster Fuller as a geodesic dome is probably the most famous example.

Today I thought you might enjoy a collection of anthropomorphic portraits by a variety of artists. I call this posting, "You Are What You Are." Most of these will enlarge if you click on them.



Dave Stevenson depicted Frank Lloyd Wright as an architectural blueprint, for a Simpson Paper Company promotional brochure. Stevenson actually had a blueprint made of a black and white ink drawing.



Illustrator John Craig created this collage of Henry Ford for the same 1986 Simpson Paper Company brochure.



My favorite in the Simpson Paper Company series is this portrait of Charles Francis Richter, creator of the Richter Magnitude Scale. It's also by Dave Stevenson. Be sure to click on this and see it enlarged!


 

This architectural portrait of Le Corbusier is by Louis Hellman, a very witty architectural cartoonist. You can see his mausoleum to a baroness here.




This astonishing self-portrait of Scott Marr is in the form of the Australian natural elements that Scott draws, in part by burning into wood. It's an art form known as "pyrography." You can see more of Scott Marr's exceptional work by visiting my blogging friend Theresa Cheek's great posting about him, here.



This is a self-portrait patchwork quilt by quilter Mary Elmusa. It measures 30" x 30" and is made of dyed cotton fabric, stitched with metallic thread. This image and other great quilts can be found at kansasartquilters.org.




Milton Glaser of Push Pin Studios made this delightful portrait of Alexander Hamilton as a collage of banknotes and financial documents. It dates to the mid 1960s.



Charles Tsevis created this portrait of Steve Jobs using Apple products. It dates to 2008 and was found at iTech News Net, Latest Gadget News and Reviews.



This portrait doesn't fit into my theme exactly, but no posting of anthropomorphic portraits would be complete without an example by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Were it to fit properly into my theme, this would be a portrait of a gardener. Actually it's believed to be a portrait of Arcimboldo's patron, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612). I personally would have refrained from depicting my patron as a stack of vegetables, but the portrait was presented to Rudolf II as Vertumnus, God of the Seasons. Rudolf II loved it, and commissioned a similar painting for each season.
.

26 comments:

  1. Diego R. Wyatt said: The Le Corbusier protrait is my favorite. I love the differing textures created on it. Hope your weekend is going well. Diego

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful theme Mark! I too, love the RIchter illustration. Scott Marr still amazes me as well. You hit a nerve with the opening paragraph...anticipation is something this generation knows little about. I remember waiting for the new vinyl record to hit the stores, waiting for the next Seventeen magazine to pour over, waiting for a long distance call to connect....I am spoiled by the immediate communication and information we have via the internet, but anticipation was half of the excitement a few decades ago!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Diego - Have a happy Labor Day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, Theresa - I so agree. Actually, as I started my career as an commercial artist and illustrator, I anticipated the publication of many magazines that commissioned my favorite artists — Time, Fortune, Psychology Today — everything from McCalls's to Playboy. Today, though, I enjoy magazines more for interesting page design, and I would cite Wired in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a clever and original theme for a post. How engaging each portrait is. I've always admired Arcimboldo, and would be very happy with a good oil painted copy in my kitchen or dining room. Alas, I don't think that Art students still do laborious copies of old masters as part of their education.

    I like the portrait of Fuller too. What year was that?

    ReplyDelete
  6. So much in this post. The multiple geodesic domes in the Fuller portrait remind me of the American Society for Metals, in Russell, Ohio (near Cleveland). The large dome there has a collection of minerals underneath.

    Artzybasheff also did the weird illustrations in the odd 1935 story, The Circus of Dr. Lao, inspiration for the strange movie The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. (Yes I know, "weird", "odd", and "strange" in one sentence.)
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, Terry - Thanks for your comment; one of these days I will do more of a tribute to Artzybasheff, who is certainly deserving of his own posting. He did the portrait of Buckminster Fuller in 1963.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, Road to Parnassus - Weird, odd and strange have a long and honorable place in art history, and I will be doing a posting on one genre soon ...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Quite the eclectic assortment of interesting portraits - so creative. Love the Milton Glaser and Arcimboldo of course but also fascinated by the Scott Marr.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, Stacey - I've kept the Milton Glaser portrait of Hamilton in my files ever since it was published in the 1960s. I feel inspired to create a collage every time I see it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Mark - I first came across Arcimboldo when my youngest son was studying History of Art. It seems to be a genre that has fascinated many artists and illustrators over the years. The examples you have shown are very interesting and you have stimulated my interest in the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello, Rosemary - I have to admit that I have often thought of doing my own version of Arcimoboldo. Since I'm living in Florida, perhaps my version will be a portrait made of seashells ...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow. What a fascinating post, Mark. I learn so much when I visit your blog! Is the portrait of Alexander Hamilton a drawing made to look like collage, or actually collage?

    I find Scott Marr's work amazing - well, all of the featured artists are amazing, really! Thank you.

    Oh, P.S. thanks for your ideas on the chairs! I will let you know when I get them done.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, HCH Girl - The Hamilton illustration is actually a collage which Milton Glaser drew on with ink. Good luck on the chairs!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mark, I do urge you to find some time to do an Arcimboldo in shells. It would be wonderful - no problem finding a nose amongst the shells, and it must feature a Sand Dollar somewhere!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi again, Rosemary - As you probably know, I live in an area where sand dollars are abundant, so that wouldn't be a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello mark,
    Very clever and talented artists with a sense of humor - fun post. I agree with Rosemary and encourage you to do a portrait of yourself in sea shells. You have everything it takes.
    Anyes
    XX

    ReplyDelete
  18. Mark, what a wonderful post. I've been trying to pick my favorites, but having trouble picking just one.

    Well, if pressed, I'd choose the Le Corbusier. But I also love several others.

    I think Rudolph II must have been an intelligent and artistically attuned Emperor.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi, Anyes - Yes, I'll use sand dollars for the cheeks and a conch for the nose! Thanks for thinking I'm actually up to it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi, Yvette - I think the Time cover of Buckminster Fuller remains my favorite. Did you notice that the car in the portrait of Fuller is a model that he designed?

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's true, one learns something new every time one comes to visit you. I love the portraits and I did learn something new, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks, Hevin, I've been enjoying the videos of Casa Kevin!

    ReplyDelete
  23. No I didn't, Mark. I am not that familiar with Fuller's many designs as I should be. I know the dome though. But I guess everyone does.

    I do like the Frank Lloyd Wright blueprint very much.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, love the post. You may know by now but the Corbusier portrait is by Louis Shellman: http://www.louishellman.co.uk/architetes.html

    ReplyDelete