Because we we seem to be living in an era of pessimism and anxiety about the future, I consider it highly relevant to confront our current state of mind by contrasting it with that which existed in the middle of the 20th century — a time of optimism and exuberance. By reflecting on an era when the future held great promise, and when growing prosperity and technology gave people greater means to enjoy leisure time, we see a society emerging from its bleak wartime existence to celebrate life with new vibrancy, color, and sounds.
I spent some time last fall exploring Mid-century Modern society via a series of illustrations focused specifically on the vibrancy and exuberance of live entertainment — music, dance, and lounge diversions.
My intention was to produce the pieces in this series using silk screen printing because it reflects the Mid-century spirit in a way that no other medium does. By the 1950s, silkscreening had become so widespread for industrial and publicity purposes that it was firmly entrenched in the popular consumer aesthetic.
Music, dance, and the lounge lifestyle had also become part of popular consumer culture. Representing these scenes with stylized illustrations further evokes the industrial and promotional look embodied in much of the era’s silkscreen printing.
My overarching theme with this series is that by looking to the past, we may be able to view the future more optimistically.
I’ll post more of my illustrations from this series in the coming weeks.