Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Boris & His Almost Human Machines (Part I)

Fifty-five years ago, in October 1954, Mechanix Illustrated published a profile of the most imaginative American illustrator ever - Boris Artzybasheff.

Artzybasheff was born in Kharkov, son of the author Mikhail Artsybashev. He is said to have fought as a White Russian. During 1919 he arrived in New York City, where he worked in an engraving shop. His earliest work appeared in 1922 as illustrations for Verotchka's Tales and The Undertaker's Garland. A number of other book illustrations followed during the 1920s. Dhan Gopal Mukerji's Gay-Neck, with his illustrations, was awarded the Newbery Medal during 1928. Over the course of his career, he illustrated some 50 books, several of which he wrote, most notably As I See.
It was the second half of his long and successful career. If the first half was very diverse - from cartoons to theatrical designs, the second was entirely devoted to magazine and advertising art. He designed advertisements for Xerox, Shell Oil, Pan Am, Casco Power Tools, Alcoa Steamship lines, Parke-Davis, Avco Manufacturing, Scotch Tape, Wickwire Spencer Steele, Vultee Aircraft, World Airways, and Parker Pens. His graphic style is striking. In commercial work he explored grotesque experiments in anthropomorphism, where toiling machines displayed distinctly human attributes. Well, let's save the words and see his Lycoming series, also 1954 (scans by Modern Mechanix, cropped):

To be continued

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Comment by lord_k on November 10, 2009 at 2:19pm
But what a creep, each one of them!
Comment by Tome Wilson on November 10, 2009 at 2:08pm
Anthropomorphic machines are just plain creepy.

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