Friday, August 18, 2006

The Stylized Alex Ross

In his book, Illustrator in America, Walt Reed tells us that Alex Ross "painted many experimental pictures in watercolour and mixed media." I like to think that the work he did for Collier's magazine's Nero Wolfe detective stories is an example of the early stages of Ross' experimentation. Like other early styists David Stone Martin and Bob Peak, Ross shows us his desire to push the envelope of the look of mainstream magazine illustration through pieces like these. One can sense a radical departure was just around the corner when work like this became acceptable to the American magazine audience. Just a couple of years earlier you would have been hard pressed to find much , if anything, like it.

Kudos to Collier's art director, Leonard Jossel, for allowing Ross to stretch - and for assigning him not just the large full colour spread, but the smaller accompanying spots when he did Nero Wolfe.

These small spots are really worth looking at more closely. Ross had early ambitions to become an industrial designer, and this aspect of his nature comes through in the designiness of those spots.

* Just a reminder that all this week's images can be seen at full size in my Alex Ross Flickr set.

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