Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In Memoriam: Edd Cartier 1914-2008

Science fiction illustrator

"I put a bit of humor into what I drew. I was even told at times that I put too much humor into drawing science fiction. It's a serious thing. When I started out doing science fiction, it was all kind of a weird thing."

(Weird thing, indeed. Why I am I giving this guy an "In Memoriam"? In the last couple of years I've become interested in what's now called the "Golden Age of Illustration," roughly from the turn of the last century into the 1960s. As printing techniques improved, and magazines proliferated, there was a great demand for artists to illustrate stories, covers, and, lest we forget, advertisements. So what we're basically talking about here is commercial art. The most famous of these commercial artists was Norman Rockwell, but there were hundreds of others toiling, drawing, and painting away in obscurity. This was work-for-hire rather than art-for-art's-sake. That didn't make these guys any less creative. Or, if it did, you can't tell. No more is this true than with the gloriously goofy sci-fi art of the era, of which Cartier was a master. Just Google Edd Cartier, or science-fiction art, click on any sight that features art work, and you'll wonder if these guys weren't tutored by Timothy Leary. As more and more artists, sci-fi or otherwise, from that Golden Age pass on, expect to see their names pop up here from time to time--KJ)

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