Monday, May 19, 2008

Artist Research: John Berkey

John Berkey was born in North Dakota in 1932. Although he just recently passed away in April of this year in 2008 I felt he was worth mentioning with this list of contemporary artists because of his influence on this generations illustrative world. He is best known for his sci-fi themed illustrations, but actually began his career in Artists Inc Minneapolis and then Brown and Bigelow advertising agency. After an eight year period in advertising and calendar illustration he turned to freelance illustration in the 60s and never looked back. He created some of the original concept illustration for the original Star Wars trilogy for Lucasfilm and also painted the old Elvis Stamp. He also did a lot of poster and novel illustration (Isaac Asimov novels), work for National Geographic, Doubleday Advertising, etc . His city of residence in Excelsior, Minnesota honored him with "John Berkey Day." He worked with a variety of media like acrylic, casein, and goauche mostly achieving similar impressionistic results. This was the backbone of his style which offered movement and dynamism to usually static themed sci-fi scenario. This neo impressionist style is one of the main reasons Berkey's name is spoken with reverence universally among illustrators. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Illustrators in 2004.
John Berkey site

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