As you can see in our current issue, Tomi and Karim are big fans of the American illustrator Charley Harper. Best known for his modernist take on animals and nature, Harper was based in Cinncinati, Ohio (creating posters for its famed zoo), but travelled North America creating posters and displays for the National Parks Service as well as other animal sanctuaries and nature-based organizations.
Harper was a prolific artist and an active one: his illustrations in the Ford Times magazine appeared regularly from 1950-1975. But it was his work in such books as The Giant Golden Book of Biology (1961), The Animal Kingdom (1968) and Birds and Words (1974), that would have a profound affect on today's designers and illustrators. Harper's expert use of colour and line influenced folks like Todd Oldham, who put together a massive survey of Harper's work in 2010.
Oldham is such a fan that his Pennsylvania weekend retreat is pretty much papered in Charley Harper prints. Just looking at Oldham's space evokes the instant joy Harper's work evokes. We are happy to add that Harper himself was reportedly a man filled with joie de vivre—even in pictures taken shortly beofre his death in 2007, you can still see the twinkle in his eye.