An inductee of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, Earl Oliver Hurst’s work is unmistakeable. Born in 1898 New York, Mr. Hurst’s career was exceptionally successful, of course, not without a difficulty. He chopped and changed his path and titles quite a few times but worked with a host of clients along the way. Some of his well known magazine work includes Collier’s, American Weekly, True, Pictorial Review, McCalls, and Home Magazine. Also doing numerous advertising illustrations for the likes of Nabisco, Royal Crown Cola, General Electric, Sanka, Jantzen Swim Suits, and Swan Soap.
A decidedly wonderful book of his work was published by Hermes Press in 2005 called, The Art Of Earl Oliver Hurst. If you are luck enough to find it at a reasonable price, it’s definitely worth picking up.
David Wright was one of the leading pin-up artists of the 20th Century. Unlike his American contemporaries Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren, the British-born Wright brought a sense of realism to his willowy beauties, who appeared in publications on both sides of the Atlantic, especially during WW2. Now, finally, access has been granted to his archive, and this is the first ever collection of his work.
The Book Review:
Sirens opens up with a enjoyable forward from David’s son, Patrick. Speaking of the many hours his father spent in his studio, Patrick confesses to never really knowing what he did all day. From the introduction onwards, the author give a short history of David Wright, his career and the impact his work had at the time. Starting from page 18, the majority of the book is beautiful large full-page pin-ups.
Looking through such a large body of work you start to see what sets David Wright’s work from some of his contemporaries. Many of his pieces do not have that “gloss” that a lot of the American pin-ups had. They feel a little sketchier, a little moodier. His women have all the glamour of the 1950s, but are presented with more depth. Most of his women seem withdrawn in their thoughts, many without a hint of a smile. A far cry from the happy-go-lucky pin-ups we are used to seeing. Past simply relying on scantily clad models to create eroticism, David Wright’s women are not just sat in their bedrooms smiling for the camera, their pensive demeanour is inviting you in. To this regard, Wright’s work remind me more of the sophisticated women of Robert McGinnis, than the idealized women of Gil Elvgren.
If I were to have a gripe about the book, it would be that the image quality of the pictures vary. The majority of them are perfect, however, when you stumble on a few slightly lower quality ones it somewhat interrupts your experience. The other thing, which I know is just my personal taste, it would have been nice to see some more roughs or sketches.
With that said, David Wright’s women truly are beautiful and Sirens is a decidedly bonny body of his work, with enough variety to keep you engaged, and in my case, wanting more. Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright is available to buy right now, and if you are a fan of Carol Day, pulp or pin-up this is definitely one for you.
German Illustrator and digital painter Daniela Uhlig has a rather eclectic style. Daniela has a fantastic ability to render the female form and create dazzling pin ups and gorgeous faces. Based in Berlin she currently works full time however she also works as a freelancer in her spare time and still manages to find time to produce more personal work.
As an avid fan, I have been following the work of Argentinean comic book illustrator Edwardo Risso, for some time now. Best known for his collaborative work with writter Brian Azzarello on 100 Bullets, Mr. Risso and his iconic, often gritty, style has become instantly recognisable among comic fans.
Mr. Risso has an amazing rhythm to his visual storytelling, often using small gestures, dynamic compositions and expressive line work to create an experience in the story. If you like gritty film noir-esq visuals then I highly recommend that you check out his work.
I am just about in love with the work of self-taught Swedish illustrator, Robert Sammelin. Since 2007 he has worked as a Senior Concept Artist at DICE, producing concept art and graphic design for the Battlefield series, Medal of Honor, and Just Cause 2.
Mr. Sammelin’s work has a hard edge feel, in part due to his cool and confident characters. His stand-out skill as a draftsman means he can hop around different mediums, utilising traditional and modern tools, and always produce captivating work. To see more of his work, there an excellent selection on his website.