The Frye Art Museum’s newest exhibition, Agitation and Propaganda, features reproductions of posters created in Russia beginning in 1918, a year after the Tsarist autocracy was overthrown and the control of the government was seized by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party. These political propaganda posters were created to inspire and communicate political messages to the largely illiterate peasant population.
The 11 years of posters represented in this exhibition show the works of many well known and unknown Russian artists. Even though the Soviet state government commissioned these posters, some artists were afraid to sign their artwork during this time of political uncertainty.
My husband and I recently experienced an amazing sixteen day trip through Spain, with stops in Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Granada. While we did not intend to have art become the focus of our trip, it was unavoidable. Everywhere we looked, we found art — on the tiled walls, on the floors and ceilings, and throughout the plazas.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a designer long enough to remember using Pantone Markers to create marker comps, type gauges for “type specking”, waxers for pasteup, and Photostat cameras instead of Photoshop.
I don’t miss it — cuts from X-acto blades, clogged Rapidographs, exposure to toxic chemicals, etc. But for those with a fondness for the “good old days” or anyone who wants to take a look back at the tools and processes that were once used daily by graphic designers, a visit to The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies will be amusing and interesting.
Ironically I found a use for my old proportion wheel a few months ago. A problem came up while putting a student art show online at my job. In order to photograph without glare from the camera flash and overhead lights, the artwork was photographed at an angle, causing distortion. I was able to use my ‘ancient’ proportion wheel to determine the artwork’s final size, enabling me to transform the images to their actual proportions with Photoshop.