Last Wednesday I attended a lecture at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC by Seymour Chwast. Walking into the lecture, I knew little about Chwast, so it was fun to see a lot more of his work. Chwast is a graphic designer and illustrator whose playful, creative style changed the way people looked at design. His illustrations, most prolific in the 1950′s and 60′s when he founded Push Pin Studios (still in operation in NYC) have a very unique style – credited with being one of the first to make design more personal and accessible. Most of Chwast’s work takes form in book jackets, record covers, posters, advertisements and magazine covers. Many of his drawings make political statements, many are humorous, all without being vulgar or tactless. Push Pin Studios is regarded by many as the first non-conformist design studio. Below are a few posters by Chwast.
The lecture was great as an overview of Chwast’s work – to see the man behind these influential designs, and get a taste of his personality. I had hoped to gain more insight from him on contemporary design, his thoughts, challenges he faces, or how he continues to find inspiration. Rather, the lecture was essentially a slideshow of his work; still fun to see and inspirational on its own.