Drawing Attention, the largest embodiment of legendary graphic artist John Van Hamersveld's life's work to date, features more than one hundred iconic images he created from 1968 to 2013. This inspirational exhibition of his private drawing collection is currently showing at CSUN Art Gallery.
The cohesive exhibit highlights the prolific artist's "Hendrix" (1968), "Johnny Face" (1971), "Waterworks Collection" (2006-2009), "Signs of Life Series" (2009-2010), and more.
Seeing the original drawings, the beginning concepts, of graphics that are part of our collective consciousness, and viewing how these images evolve into graphic design products is an enlightening experience.
The entire wall dedicated to Van Hamersveld's "Waterworks Collection" is immediately eye-catching. This wall includes his wave drawing, fine art print, the Billabong Pipeline Masters poster, and the larger-than-life banner of the wave, which looks like you could surf on it.
Van Hamersveld's iconic "Johnny Face" drawings show the evolution of this psychedelic and influential smiling character from the original drawing into a t-shirt, button emblem, banner, fine art print, and more. Van Hamersveld discusses here his experience drawing "Johnny Face," seeing the image distributed around the world for five decades, and now seeing the image in this exhibit:
"In 1970, I was turning 29 years old, just 4 years out of art school. I had created a black and white drawing style mascot portrait called 'Johnny.' I made a poster for it and sent it around the world to corporate art departments. In 1971, I put together the 'Johnny Face' drawing as a concept, with the words as part of an image in a circle. Combining my abstract drawing with the headline 'Crazy World Ain't It' created an emblem and became a button.
I stand in the CSUN gallery today with the image on the wall as part of my new drawing exhibit. I have to step back and understand that the emblem went around the world for five decades as a product, as a t-shirt that people bought and wore as a symbol, and as communication."
A Coolhous Studio production, sponsored by Dunlop Music Accessories and Headblade, Drawing Attention is showing at CSUN Art Galleries until October 12, 2013. The 160-page exhibition catalog Drawing Attention, published by Gingko Press, is also now available. During the next three years, Landau Traveling Exhibitions will be circulating the exhibition to various educational and museum institutions worldwide.