If Mucha was Metal

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Throughout High School, I dove into the realm of Metal music. I was very active as an artist and music was my main source of inspiration. A lot of my artwork was inspired by music of the metal genres. One artist in particular also became my primary inspiration, Dan Mumford. Dan’s work can be seen on multitudes of album covers and now movie posters. His style consists of vibrant color schemes and consistent, detailed line work. At the time that I was studying his work for my own interpretations, I thought his work was completely original and derived from his own mind. However, it is true what they say, that all art is influenced by its predecessors.

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One day, I came across an interview someone had done with Dan Mumford, and one of the questions asked was, “who are some of your influences?”. Dan was adamant to reply with an artist by the name of Alphonse Mucha. This was my first entrance into art nouveau and after seeing Mucha’s work, it was uncanny. There was influence down to the brush strokes. I saw Dan Mumford as a future form of Mucha. If Alphonse Mucha listened to heavy rock n’ roll, this is what his artwork would look like.

Dan Mumford, took Mucha’s sensitivity to color, female subject matter, detailed line work and made it his own. It also seems coincidence that Mumford’s work, like Mucha’s, was made and printed for commercial purposes, as albums and posters. His work is a revival of the Art Nouveau movement. His images are consistently decorated and remain flat. In the age of the 21st century, where quantity matters more than quality, it is nice to see that artists like, Dan Mumford, are keeping the Art nouveau mentality. To show that Art is a craft and is not one to be replicated, but to be original and not just quick imitations. His work is a great example of this, for he is sending an homage to the past, instead of simply copying it.

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Dan Mumford, Star Wars Promotional

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Alphonse Mucha, Bières de la Meuse

The Revival of Art Nouveau in 20th Century

Alphonse Mucha has been a great influence in 20th century art. His artworks back in 19th century brought him to future fame. Mucha’s illustrations of stunning female portraits and application of highly decorative backgrounds have been acknowledge by many artists. Lately, his works inspired numerous young artists to incorporate some elements of Art Nouveau to there own work.

A Czech artist, Alphonse Mucha, who is known for establishing the basis of Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau, or the “new art,” is a movement that aims for the beauty of all aspects of life. This style often possesses elements inspired from nature: flowers, leaves, animals, and some astronomical symbols. It also created fresh style by incorporating detailed decorations. One of the distinct style of the “new art” is the usage of curve lines and several swirling lines or loops. This theme adds elegance and harmony throughout the composition. Mucha’s innovative style led most of his poster arts became well-known. The following images are some of his famous posters.

soap-factory-of-bagnolet-1897Alphonse Mucha, Soap factory of Bagnolet, 1897

alphonse_mucha_-_job_cigarettes_1Alphonse Mucha, Job Cigarettes, 1989

mucha-7Alphonse Mucha, Princezna Hyacinta, 1911

alfons_mucha_-_f-_champenois_imprimeur-editeurAlphonse Mucha, F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur, 1897

mucha-moe%cc%88t__chandon_cremant_imperial-1899Alphonse Mucha, Moë t& Chandon Crémant Impérial, 1899

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Alphonse Mucha, Painting, part of the series The Arts,

Mucha’s works have been very influential to most new artists today. A lot of illustrators and comic artists have been inspired by his style. The use of organic and symbolic decorations are common aesthetics throughout many contemporary works. The focus on the female figure and other feminine aspects are also the key underlying elements that define Mucha’s style and the broad spectrum of Art Nouveau. It is through these visual elements that help lay the ground work and initial inspirations for modern day Art Nouveau artists.

One of the artists that was highly inspired by Mucha’s style is Hanie Mohd. She combined some female comic characters with decorative background inspired by Mucha’s artworks. The following are Hanie Mohd’s illustrations.

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rogue

captain-marvel

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the-woman-in-scarlet

phoenix

References:

“Alphonse Mucha Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works.” The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design: A New History. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2012. Print.

“Superhero Ladies in Alphonse Mucha Art Nouveau Style | Ilikethesepixels.” Ilikethesepixels. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

“13 Most Beautiful Posters of Alphonse Mucha You Must Know.” DailyArtDailycom The Best Art Source on Web. N.p., 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Cycles Perfecta

Art Nouveau, “New Art”, initially began in Europe and the United States during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The movement aimed to unite the varying design movements that had resulted from the Industrial World, and combine the many different fields of art into a uniform style. This style was characterized by calligraphic line drawing, organic linear movements, flat color, and decorative patterns. Additionally, it focused on interaction and had a goal of creating an impression on viewers. Many artists helped to shape this movement; however, it has been said that the movement was “…started entirely by the work of Alphonse Mucha before inspiring others to follow a similar style with in their own work…” (“Alphonse Mucha – Artist Biography with Portfolio of Prints, Posters and Paintings”).

Alphonse Mucha (1890 – 1939), a Czech illustrator working out of Paris, helped to shape Art Nouveau with his signature style. Featuring elongated figures, muted colors, and arabesque patterns, his work is easily recognizable from other artists who worked during this movement. Mucha focused on young women as his subjects, often sexualizing them by displaying their beauty – a task that was not often done in this time period. In 1902, Mucha used his signature style and favorite subject to create an advertisement poster for a “Cycles Perfecta” (Figure 1), a British bicycle company.

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The poster features a young woman with windblown hair draped atop a bicycle. At the top of the design, “Cycles Perfecta” is advertised in display text. The poster shows many indications that it is from the Art Nouveau movement. To begin, the lines are very calligraphic, using a bold black ink to outline each shape. Although bold, the lines do manage to remain organic – showing each curve of the woman and the cycle how they would appear three-dimensionally. The hair of the cycle model almost looks three-dimensional, creating a decorative pattern that takes up a majority of the space.

When looking at this poster, it is clear that Mucha understood not only artistic principles of Art Nouveau, but also the mental principles. Rather than selling an object (the cycle, in this case), posters in this period aimed to sell an impression. In “Cycles Perfecta”, “… he is barely showing a piece of the bicycle-not enough to tell one brand from another, anyway-but as to the pleasure of riding…” (Rennert/Weill, p. 294). Rather than making the cycle the main subject, the artist focuses on the woman’s interaction with the cycle, aiming to sell the adoration of the bike. This emotional approach was often taken in advertising posters during Art Nouveau and remains an approach to this day. Not only did Art Nouveau greatly shape design, but it also introduced methods of advertising not seen before the Industrial Revolution.

 

References
“Alphonse Mucha – Artist Biography with Portfolio of Prints, Posters and Paintings.” Alphonse Mucha Paintings & Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016

Rennert, Jack, and Alain Weill. Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1984. Print.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was a decorative style of art with floral patterns, natural themes, and calligraphic line drawing. Art Nouveau started at the end of the 19th century. It is often called the total art style because it included all of the arts. The idea was to break away from the art school and traditional styles from the past. The beginning of Art Nouveau pulls elements and styles from Victorian art, Rococo, Arts and Crafts movement, Fine Arts, and Japanese Woodblock prints. Artists who practiced Art Nouveau had the belief of expanding their abilities beyond what they were taught in schools. They aimed to push it forward and modernize design and art as a whole. An artist from the Art Nouveau time period that made me want to be a designer was Alphonse Maria Mucha. He was a Czech born artist who produced designs and art pieces that were originally called the “Mucha style”, but became known as Art Nouveau. Mucha was known for his frequent depictions of women in a Neoclassical style surrounded in beautiful floral designs and decorative lines. When I first started looking into the graphic design program and started taking my first graphic design class, I had a paper I had to do on an artist. We were given a list of hundreds of artists I had never heard of before. I picked random artists and tried to select a style of art that was similar to the kind of art I enjoyed making. I found Alphonse Mucha’s work and the style blew me away. I loved the vibrant colors he used and the floral designs he always used to decorate the frame around women. I loved the consistency of his art style and how he designed everything from posters to bank notes. I studied him further after the paper was over and discovered Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau is still a very popular style used today. You can commonly find Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau inspired art mixed with current pop culture.
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References:
http://www.theartstory.org/movement-art-nouveau.htm
https://www.britannica.com/art/Art-Nouveau
http://www.alfonsmucha.org/biography.html