portrait

Seymour Chwast

American Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Type Designer
(1931 – Present)
Born: Bronx, New York

“If you dig a hole and it’s in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn’t going to help.”

– Seymour Chwast

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.

Biography

As co-founder (with Milton Glaser and Edward Sorel) of Push Pin Studios, Seymour Chwast developed a playful, expressive approach to type and layout. During the mid-to-late sixties, Push Pin was on the leading edge of popular art, producing high-profile advertisements, book jackets, posters, record covers, and magazine covers.

In 1970, Push Pin Studios was honored at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decorativs in a historic retrospective entitled “The Push Pin Style.”

After Milton Glaser left Push Pin in 1975, Mr. Chwast continued the Push Pin tradition, founding Push Pin Press (later Push Pin Editions), and eventually transforming Push Pin Studios into The Pushpin Group.

Seymour Chwast’s colorful and witty designs and illustrations have been used in advertising; animated films; and editorial, corporate, and environmental graphics. He has created over 100 posters; designed, written, and illustrated numerous children’s books; and developed many typefaces. In addition, he designed and illustrated The Push Pin Graphic and his current publication, The Nose.

Many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, have collected his posters. Mr. Chwast continues to lecture and exhibit worldwide and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker.

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.

Biography

One of the most original watercolorists of the 20th century, Charles Burchfield was born in Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio, and moved to Salem, Ohio at the age of five. Burchfield developed his passions for nature and art early in life through his reading of the transcendentalist writings of John Burroughs and Henry David Thoreau. Between 1912 and 1916 Burchfield studied at the Cleveland School of Art, where he was advised to seek subjects that were personally meaningful. Unlike many of his American contemporaries, Burchfield did not travel abroad or depend on other paintings for inspiration. Extremely sensitive to nature’s varying moods as well as to his own, he found his subjects in nearby countryside and towns. Burchfield left Salem permanently in 1921 to take a job in Buffalo, N.Y. as a wallpaper designer. Although he enjoyed modest recognition for his early watercolors of Ohio, it was not until 1929 that Burchfield gained enough financial success to devote himself to painting full time.

Working primarily in watercolor, Burchfield’s vision was poetic, and he discovered unexpected beauty in familiar and ordinary places. He responded to sights he knew well and attempted to convey more than just visual impressions. Edward Hopper recognized his friend’s gift for capturing what artists generally overlooked—the jumble of eaves and gables formed by his neighbor’s roofs, the sag in a barn door, the tilt of the weathered drain spout on the side of a house. Burchfield’s subjects are unsophisticated but gain immediacy through energetic two-dimensional patterns that animate the surface of his pictures and evoke sensations of the subject’s particular play of light, weather conditions, and even sound. His emphasis on synaesthetic experiences has an affinity with Arthur Dove, another artist widely collected by Duncan Phillips.

Duncan Phillips was an admirer of Burchfield and elaborated on the artist’s early accomplishments: “He was, in his technic [sic], both daring and deliberate, both whimsical and precise. When he wished he could conjure up the essence of a scene indoors or out.” Phillips’s regard was also implicit in his correspondence with the artist … “I have never had the pleasure of meeting you but I feel that I know you through your very expressive art.”

Excerpted from Eye, RR