Illustrator Boris Artzybasheff was born in the Ukraine, emigrated to the the U.S. and was active during the mid 20th Century.
“Unique” may be a mild word to describe Artzybasheff’s approach to illustration. maybe if I add adjectives like “idiosyncratic”, “eccentric”, “bizarre” and “off the wall”, I can get a little closer; oh yes, and throw in “wonderful”.
Artzybasheff is most noted for his graphic images in which he indulged in his fascination with anthropomorphized industrial machinery — glaring cauldrons pour bright molten metal into seeming surprised ingot molds, steel rollers feed the ingots through their “teeth” with conveyor belt hands, rods or wire ropes are extruded through the noses of forming machines, electro-mechanical calculators, heads full of vacuum tubes, use their intricately wired and gimbaled arms to perform calculations on themselves, and hydraulic presses, grommeted eyes bulging with exertion, slam down their plates with muscular arms (image above, left).
The always amazing ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has posted another of their series on great illustrators with a feature on these images from the Machinalia section of Artzybasheff’s long out of print but newly reprinted book As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff.
The above link is to the hardcover on Amazon, which lists a release date in October, but it looks as though you can order the softcover now through the site of publisher Ken Steacy. The Amazon link is worth exploring, though, because you can see some of the many other books he illustrated (and wrote) over the course of his career.
His most widely seen illustrations were for big magazines like Life, Fortune and Time, including over 200 covers for the latter. He also had a number of large commercial clients, including Parke-Davis, Parker Pens, Xerox, Pan Am, and Shell Oil, for whom he did some remarkably weird and wonderful illustrations (above, top right). You can see some of his advertising and commercial illustrations on the American Art Archives.
[AISFA article link via BoingBoing]
American Art Archives
Illustrated bio on BPIB
Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design, with bio
Abyss of Wonder
As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff (Amazon hardcover - shipping October 2008)
As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff (Softcover from publisher Ken Steacy - available now)
Bio and links on Wikipedia
Teacher Resources and links from ISLMC