John Alcorn. The creative process of a great illustrator.
09 June 2014
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An illustrated biography of one of the most prolific and multi-talented creative minds of the twentieth century. A new chapter in the series of Moleskine editions which give a behind-the-scenes view of the creative professions.
John Alcorn (1935-1992); commercial designer, children's book author, graphic artist and, above all, editorial illustrator, well-known for creating famous covers for major publishing houses such as Random House, Simon & Schuster, Rizzoli, Atheneum, Little Brown and magazines including Esquire, McCall's, Redbook, Evergreen, Playboy, is the latest creative luminary to be celebrated by Moleskine.
The new Moleskine monograph collects the complete works of the American illustrator with critical texts, stories, testimonials and over 500 colour reproductions. Gathered together these give us a look into Alcorn's creative process and output, showing the different stages of producing an image through preliminary pencil drawings on parchment paper, designs that were never created and others that were rejected by the client and, finally, watercolours and printed works. It is an important testimony to the craftsmanship in the work of this pre-digital illustrator.
A psychedelic wave.
A part of the book is dedicated to Alcorn's time in Italy and his contribution to its editorial landscape in the early sixties. Alcorn's arrival brought about a new pop sensibility to a scene until then characterised by rationalist restraint and nineteenth-century gilding traditions. One of the initiators of the American psychedelic style, Alcorn broke through the boundaries of tradition. He brought boldness, irreverence, colour and expressive freedom to book covers, contributing to making editorial illustration one of the highest professional aspirations for every illustrator.
As for John Alcorn the adman, involved as he was in the early stages of Push Pin Studios, the celebrated design studio founded by Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins, and Edward Sorel, the Moleskine volume documents works executed for various clients including CBS, Cigarettes Eve, Pepsi Cola, Campbell's and 7up.
The book, edited by Marta Sironi and Stephen Alcorn, a direct witness with a profound knowledge of his father's creative process, was assembled with materials from the Alcorn Archives kept at the APICE Centre (Archives of Word, Image and Editorial Communication) at the Università degli Studi in Milan.
The monograph on John Alcorn broadens the editorial horizons of Moleskine that, since 2009, has been revealing the work of artists, designers, architects and graphic artists with a focus on the creative process and inspiration. It joins the series The Hand of the Architect, The Hand of the Designer, The Hand of the Graphic Artist; anthologies of designs, drawings and sketches presented by hundreds of professionals; the series Inspiration and Process in Architecture, monographs of architects who opened their studios and archives, sharing their conceptual and design process (Kengo Kuma, Wiel Arets, Studio Mumbai, Cino Zucchi, Alberto Kalach and many others); Detour, a collection of over 250 notebooks created by artists, designers, photographers, fashion designers and musicians, and the subject of travelling exhibitions in London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Shanghai, Tokyo, Venice, Milan and Beijing.
John Alcorn and all Moleskine titles can be purchased from the brand's official ecommerce sites and at top book stores and design shops around the world.
Title: John Alcorn. Evolution by Design
Edited by: Stephen Alcorn - Marta Sironi
Graphic layout: Marina Del Cinque
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Moleskine was created as a brand in 1997, bringing back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A trusted and handy travel companion, the nameless black notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books. Today, the name Moleskine encompasses a family of objects: notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, dedicated to our mobile identity. Indispensable companions to the creative professions and the imagination of our times: they are intimately tied to the digital world. Since 1 January 2007, Moleskine has also become the name of the company that owns the worldwide trademark rights for the brand. Moleskine develops, markets and sells a family of products – which target consumers of the creative class and others – that provide open platforms for creativity and communication, contributing to the expansion and dissemination of culture and knowledge and are closely connected to the digital world. The company grew out of the experience of Modo&Modo, a small Milanese publisher that in 1997 created the Moleskine trademark, rediscovering and renewing an extraordinary tradition. In the fall of 2006, Modo&Modo was purchased by SGCapital Europe, now Syntegra Capital, with the objective of fully developing the potential of the Moleskine brand. Since April 2013 Moleskine is listed at the Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock exchange. Moleskine is a creative company enjoying continuing growth. It has about 200 employees and a vast network of partners and consultants. Its home office is in Milan, Italy. Moleskine Group includes Moleskine America, Inc. (established in 2008), Moleskine Asia Ltd (2011), which is entirely controlling Moleskine Shanghai and Moleskine Singapore, Moleskine France (2013) and Moleskine Germany (2013). All subsidiaries are wholly-owned.