Olle Eksell is a celebrated and distinguished Swedish graphic designer. He is most famous for his iconic Mazetti Cacao Eye design.
He was born in 1918 in Kopparberg. Mr Eksell, knew from very young age that he wanted to become an advertising illustrator. Between 1930 to 1941, he studied illustration and graphic art in Stockholm. After graduating Mr Eksell found work at the Ervaco advertising agency in Sweden. After getting married however, decided to sail to America where he and his wife continued their studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
Throughout his career he worked on advertising posters, logos, postcards and products. His avant-garde, yet timeless, approach garnered him membership to the AGI, countless awards, and an honorary Professorship from the Swedish Government.
Alongside the Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau is tied as my favourite art movement. I take every opportunity to see Art Nouveau exhibits, but to be honest, until recently I had never taken much note of Eugène Grasset. This is quite a large oversight, considering he has been called “The Father of Art Nouveau”.
So who is this pioneering artist? Born 1845 (or possibly 1841) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Eugène Samuel Grasset was surrounded by creativity from a young age. His father was a cabinetmaker and sculptor, and little Eugène learnt to draw under the guise of Francois-Louis David Bocion. In 1861 he went to Zurich to study architecture at the polytechnical school. After which, in 1865, he took what would become an influential visit to Egypt. Throughout his twenties he devoted himself to painting and sculpture.
At the age of 26 he arrived in Paris, influenced by his travels and a new found love for Japanese Art, Mr Grasset tried his hand at creating ceramics, tapestry, and jewellery. His decorative pieces were crafted from precious materials including ivory and gold. Much of this unique work is considered a cornerstone of Art Nouveau motifs.
Mr Grasset would later gain recognition as an illustrator due to his contribution to the stories Le Petit Nab (1877) and Histoire de quatre fils Aymon (1883). Quickly moving on to applied arts he designed the facade of the Hôtel de Dumas in Paris, mosaics in Saint Etienne in Braire, and stained glass windows in the Orléans Cathedral. With a multitude of artistic ability to call upon Mr Grasset had a natural affinity to poster design. Fortunate, as French posters design was becoming very popular Stateside, so it was not long before he was contacted by various American companies. His successful commissions led to him illustrating the 1892 Christmas issue of Harper’s Magazine.
Interesting footnote one of his images, The Wooly Horse, was so popular that Louis Comfort Tiffany was inspired to recreate it in stained glass.
Mr Grasset spent much of his latter years teaching in various schools across Paris. Many of his students went on to become eminent artist themselves, unsurprisingly, a lot of them within the Art Nouveau movement. His versatility, instincts and ability not only influenced those whom he had taught, but also prominent artist like Alphonse Mucha, and left a stirring mark on the Arts and Artists that followed.
Jon Contino is an artist I have admired for a while. From New York, and influenced by New York, his style is instantly recognisable. Much of Mr Contino’s work revolves around typography. Combining traditional techniques with digital tools he has bridged the gap between traditional and modern.
Mr Contino’s work is not the case of making something new look old, it is quite the opposite, taking the lost art of hand-drawn lettering and making it relevant in today’s market. He does it so well that he has become one of the most sought after designers. So much so it would probably be quicker to list all the clients and company he hasn’t worked with. But to give you an idea of how long his client list here are but a few:
20th Century Fox, AIGA, AT&T, American Express, Coca-Cola, ESPN, Ford, Harley Davidson, Harper Collins, IBM, Jack Daniel’s, Jameson Whiskey, Kellogg’s, Random House, The Washington Post, Dockers, H&M, JCPenney, Lacoste, New Balance, Nike, Obey Clothing, and Victoria’s Secret.
Gemma Correll is a UK based illustrator, know for her guileless style. A style that has garnered her over 236,000 followers on facebook, and clients including Hallmark, The New York Times, Chronicle Books and The Observer. Correll has also published four books to date, her latest being, A Pug’s Guide to Dating.
Though her style does come under criticism, combining mature subject matters with crude drawings is a tried-and-true technique. One of the most famous and shining examples of this is Maus by Art Spiegelman. Another interesting element of Correll’s style is her regular use of just three colours; black, white and red. A very powerful colour scheme, with strong cultural meaning, that is more often used in design. So yes, Correll’s illustrations can be mistaken as childish, but then that would disregard the maturity and intuition involved to produce them.
In 2013, his work on Ben Kweller’s “Go Fly A Kite” received a Grammy nomination for Best Limited Edition Packaging. He has a number of side projects, and sometimes exhibits his silkscreens and drawings in galleries. Currently, Josh is working on his first children’s book, “New York, Inside And Out” (2014). Josh lives in Brooklyn with his small dog Porkchop.
Josh’s professional creative work spans prestigious clients such as American Express, AOL, HSBC Bank, IBM and the New Yorker.