Incredible Illustrators: Mathiole
In the Southern Hemisphere, another emerging illustrator, Matheus Lopes Castro, better known as Mathiole, is also garnering attention for his T-shirt designs, which are popular for their vibrant use of color and varied subject matters. Drawing from art nouveau to pop art, Mathiole is a Brazil-based artist influenced by the world’s rich diversity. He can be both humorous and macabre with motifs that range from birds and butterflies to skulls and octopuses.
Peter Max walks a thin line between illustrator and artist. The German-born graphic artist was at the height of his fame in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when his psychedelic, rainbow-colored work with cartoonish characters became ubiquitous and loosely connected to the hippie movement. His prolific poster art could be seen on the walls of college dorm rooms all over the country.
It was highly commercial, perhaps because of its connection to consumerism: Max designed a line of art clocks for General Electric and his art was licensed by more than 70 other corporations.
His fame skyrocketed and in September 1969 he appeared on the cover of Life magazine as well as on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album and film may have also contributed to Max’s fame. The project mirrored Max’s style so prodigiously that even today, people believe it was Max, not Heinz Edelmann, who produced the cover art of the album and animated the film. Sorry, Heinz.
The subject of illustration cannot be broached without mentioning Norman Rockwell. A recently published biography delves into his darker side: the famous illustrator known for his idyllic slices of Americana full of whimsy and humor was, in fact, depressive.
Deborah Solomon’s book, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, takes a close look at Rockwell’s relationship with his psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In it, Solomon explains that Rockwell moved his family to Stockbridge, Mass., a quintessential American small town, to be near a psychiatric clinic where his alcoholic wife Mary, also depressive, had found treatment.
Still, when it came to creating images, especially his famous Saturday Evening Post covers—a girl getting a check-up for her doll from the family doctor, two scrawny quarterbacks waiting for a coin toss, or a schoolgirl with a black eye waiting outside the principal’s office—Rockwell concentrated on illustrations that conveyed both pathos and irony.
His nearly 50-year career helped define how Americans saw–or wanted to see–themselves through more than 4,000 illustrations and paintings, including 322 original covers for The Saturday Evening Post.