Innovative illustrator, designer, and painter, Seymour Chwast has spent the last fifty years reviving and reinventing the graphic design world as we know it. He’s designed the funkiest of fonts, and created illustrations and paintings seen on posters, magazine covers, children’s books, advertisements, and in product design. In 1954, Chwast co-founded kooky graphic design powerhouse Pushpin Studios along with Milton Glaser (showcased in Fast Company’s recent slideshow), and Edward Sorel. His unmistakable wit, political savvy, and graphic genius earned him commissions from The New Yorker, New York Times, Vanity Fair, and numerous advertisers–notably McDonald’s for a series of Happy Meals. Now in the newly-released Seymour: The Obsessive Images of Seymour Chwast, his life work is available in one volume, including never-before-seen personal art.
“Milton Glaser has described how early comics and Walt Disney affected his work…I did expect to be an animator and work for Walt Disney,” says Chwast in the book. “That goal was abandoned when I found myself in a Brooklyn high school where I attended a class actually called Graphic Design.”
Seen below Disney’s obvious influence on Chwast’s art made for a short film in 2006, Mobius Mouse.
Growing up in the 30’s and 40’s highly influenced Chwast’s work, and still can be seen today in the fashion and style of his subjects.
The head-scratchingly zany, Posture Chart, 2002 from Unreliable Diagrams and Charts.
Though Chwast almost always carried his message comedically, his work
also held onto many serious undertones such as war and inhumanity, seen
here in Modern Times and Catching The 5:23.
Chwast is a master of combining past and present styles to create and recreate art that continues to aid in the evolution of design. He is rumored to constantly seek new ways to use mediums of all kinds– not only using his hands, but by stomping and spitting–to produce new styles. As Chwast became obsessed with the uniqueness and freshness of his images, his fans and students found themselves infatuated as well. This career-spanning volume gives them plenty to linger on.
Milton Glaser’s Graphic Influence: 14 Iconic Images