Monday, July 4, 2011

Discover the life story of Italian illustrator Paolo Garretto

If you love Deco-style illustration, then you should check out this two-part article by design blogger Steven Heller that tells the life story of Italian illustrator Paolo Garretto (1903-1989). Part one is here, part two is here.

Heller notes that Garretto's "airbrushed caricature epitomized Deco styling. During the Twenties and Thirties he was a master of international advertising design and editorial art, as inventive as A.M. Cassandre, as prolific as Jean Carlu, as witty as Miguel Covarrubias. His geometric conceits captured the romance of the industrial age.

Garretto's graphic approach was based on simplification of primary graphic forms into iconic depictions and loose, but poignant likenesses. Vibrant, airbrushed color was his trademark, and he also experimented with different media to create exciting new form, including experiments with collage and modeling clay which proved fruitful. Without his superb draftsmanship what is now pigeon-holed as Deco styling would surely have been a superficial conceit, but his conceptual work was so acute, and his decorative work was so well crafted that he eschewed these pitfalls.