Recently I’ve got into a bit of a Japanese 1920s~30s deco art kick, such as the image at left (“Reijin” sheet music cover, Japan, 1930; artist sadly unknown) and the one beneath these words – Kobayakawa Kiyoshi 小早川清, ‘Dancer 33/100’, 1932.
Maybe it’s the whole displaced collage/photo-montage thing, with geometric lines, a tad abstract, blah, blah; you know the score. An underlying sense of humour and a whiff of mischief helps. And you can see the definite influence of dada with some of these pieces.
My parents were big aficionados of art deco rather than nouveau, and a lot of my fave old films capture its spirit in decor, cars, buildings, fashion and set-designs.
While the American take has been a little overexposed in the years since, its Japanese brethren is still remarkably unknown, and an interesting look into the culture before militarism kicked-in in the 1930s.
I’ve also been burrowing into some of the old Australian 1940s~50s comics by people like writer Frank Ashley and more particularly artist Stanley Pitt. Here’s an example from one issue of ‘Silver Starr’, by Ashley and Pitt.
While a dead-to-rights take on Flash Gordon, it’s gorgeous to look at and visually astounding for the time.
Pitt is definitely worth exploring further.