This one's been a long time in coming. Ever since David Stone Martin's work was first brought to my attention a few years ago, I've been under his spell.
Looking at the broad spectrum of work being done in the field of illustration during the mid-20th century, David Stone Martin, with his signature ink line style and his powerful sense of graphic design, seems somehow to have successfully forged his own path.
For the period in which he was most prolific, when he regularly received the most high-profile assignments, David Stone Martin was a genuine maverick. He brought to the field of illustration a hybridization of fine arts modernism and commercial art acceptability.
Other illustrators trod the safer ground of classical or contemporary literal realism (what I have called the Old School and the New School) but time and again, I've come across pieces by those illustrators that suggest they were seeing Martin's work and incorporating elements of his style in their own.
I would not hesitate to say that even such titans as Noel Sickles and Austin Briggs must have found inspiration in DSM's work and used it as a starting point for their own experimentations.
What's surprising is that there's very little written about DSM, in spite of how influential he was and the many awards he received from virtually the beginning of his illustration career (continuing right up to his induction into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2000).
Recently I came across a 1950 article on DSM in American Artist. I was elated! At last (I thought) I have the material that will provide me with the insight I'd been hoping to present in conjunction with DSM's work. And don't get me wrong, that article certainly provides a good amount of biographical material... but there are no quotes, and no anecdotes - no real sense of who David Stone Martin was.
So while we will learn quite a bit this week, I feel we still will not come away satisfied that we have come to know David Stone Martin.
Hopefully though, through these words and this work, we will at least begin to know him.
My David Stone Martin set.