Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wanda Gág Day!

Edinburgh, July 1973
... I told him about my ideas on magazine illustration–for instance that I thought it was a crime to give the public bad pictures even tho they demanded it. Surely it is wrong to give a child candy and candy and candy when its stomach is out of order as it is, from candy. I told him I thought it was my duty to give the public the best that I was able to do. I said that if all illustrators were conscientious enough to do that, the public would gradually grow to appreciate good stuff. Therefore I thought it was my duty, altho I would play such an almost insignificant part in it, to be conscientious and refuse to cheat the public even tho the public would slash me a little (or much) for doing so. ~ Wanda Gág, 1914

Ah, Wanda! Whenever I need a little inspiration I consult your girlhood diary.

Blogging owes a lot to magazine articles—in their most basic form they are both simply a story with one or more pictures. Magazines have relied on that formula for well over one hundred years. Going back further, illuminated manuscripts were all the rage in the late medieval era. Egyptian hieroglyphics served a similar (albeit less portable) function.

The question remains. What are those qualities which make an illustration "good?" Wanda’s primary concern was with drawings but now, with the advent of instantly searchable image galleries, we have an almost unlimited arsenal of images at our fingertips. Why do I make the effort to make original photography and art when it would be soooo easy to go the Tumblr route and just copy a bunch of images every day? I don't know. I enjoy doing making new images—but that’s not much of a justification. I enjoy taking a bath as well but I hardly expect others to join me in it, the way people do when they look at what I’ve posted here.

Blogging (including Tumblr and Twitter and Instagram) is a new form of communication. Not in substance, but rather in its ubiquitous application: everywhere, instantly. It took me a long time to figure out that a post with a picture is worth much more than one without. I posit that the opposite is also true—I find that a text-less image post is wanting. The split-brain conundrum?

   About the illustration above—it is just a ‘tyre’ shop. Signifies nothing about this post. I just thought it turned out pretty good.

   Please don‘t slash me.

UPDATE: Much more on Wanda…

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

Nor will I flatten you.

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