Sunday, November 2, 2008

INFLUENCE: Patrick Nagel

There are a few people who really POP out of my mind as great childhood influences when I was growing up in the 1980's. People like Helmut Newton, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Peter Gabriel, Madonna, and Boy George were pretty iconic for me. Particularly though, I was drawn to the images of Patrick Nagel.

Not only did Nagel's images embody the chic and sleek style of the 80's, but I think his work had a greater hand in creating what the 80's were becoming at the very time. What I'm trying to say is that Nagel was less an observer of the time and more so an influence to the time... Would the 80's be the same without his images? Would have Armani evolved YSL's "Le Smoking Tuxedo" to create the famous power-suit for women? ... Would have Donna Karan introduced her 'Essentials Line' for the 80's working woman if not for Nagel's images?

Nagel's vision of the iconic 80's woman was so influential that even today his images are popularly used. How many times have you seen a mom-n'-pop hair salon or nail shop use a window decal with a Nagel-esq picture? If you haven't noticed, I dare you to take a look... you'll be surprised at how many beauty shops use his images even today.

The man even influenced computer software applications like that of Adobe Photoshop. The simplifying tools on photoshop are like an undeclared homage to the working style of Nagel. You see, all of Nagel's illustrations were based in photography. "Nagel would start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were most important." -Wikipedia.

One of the last influential artists of the 20th century, Patrick Nagel.


SYI - Nagel's 1982 painting for the album cover of Duran Duran's hit album Rio would become one of his best known images.

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