An Original Ad Man

Somewhere between homicide and suicide is Merseyside.

So said the infamous Milton Jones.

However, on a recent jaunt to Liverpool to visit a client I took the opportunity to pop into the Walker Gallery and was rewarded with a life-affirming exhibition of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec’s etchings and prints.

An absolute privilege to be able to view his work up close. Not just for his energetic painting style capturing the seedier side of Parisian nightlife, but also for his art direction and typography.

Over the years we’ve all seen posts about whether advertising can be art, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t whilst it is selling something. I think it can transcend into art after it has served its purpose and becomes era defining.

In Lautrec’s case, I’ll make an exception, as he was already well known for being an artist when  he was commissioned to create posters for various clubs and salons.

Any art director or designer, whether they are interested in art or not, should be aware of the influence of art in layout design purely from a composition point of view.

In this Jane Avril example I love the way he frames the ‘ad’ using the double base. (How many ‘frames’ have we seen like this for contemporary brands?)

If you’re in the North West, and have a penchant for advertising or art, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Walker. It was my first time, and I shall definitely be going again.


Filed under Advertising, Art, Design, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration

2 responses to “An Original Ad Man

  1. Markham

    There’s another interesting way of looking at the “Can advertising be art?” debate.

    And that’s that huge amounts of art has historically been advertising.

    It’s just that the frames were gold leaf rather than adshell.

    Think how many great paintings have been commissioned to promote God.

    Or glorify a monarch… or commemorate a victory… or present their subject as a great beauty… or warrior or statesman…

    There are museums and museums full of works that were all painted by great artists, but all working for patrons (clients) who had their own agendas to promote.

    Just thank Christ none of them thought of smacking a dirty big logo and a phone number at the bottom.

    Ace blog mate. Always thought-provoking. And so much different to the shite you talk when we’re out on the lash.

  2. Top point, well made. Sistine Chapel – Michaelangelo was just a wrister.

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