This is not a Cosmo-style true confession. It is, nonetheless, a recollection about how two important left wing politics, art and culture magazines from the late 1960s altered my perceptions, changed my convictions and provided models for my personal and professional life.
If nothing else, those of you who do not know much about Evergreen Review and Ramparts will learn a little bit more. (For more detailed information about Evergreen read Steve Brower here. For more on Ramparts read about art director Dugald Stermer here and my historical account here.)
I began subscribing to the magazines when I was 16, sometime during 1966. The mags were contraband in my prep school, but my liberal parents didn’t mind that I got them (even though my dad worked for the U.S. Air Force and was continually enduring security checks) — hey, I was reading something.
I wanted to draw cartoons and Evergreen was a big market for some wonderful cartoonists. I also wanted to be an illustrator and both Ramparts and Evergreen ran wonderful work. The following images from my collection recalls for me what I learned and how each issue impacted my work and life.
As it happened, in 1969 I was hired to be the freelance, part time Evergreen art director. I was recommended by Ken Deardorf, who had followed what I was up to since I was 16 (and I thought he didn’t care for my cartoons). What a thrill to go through flat files containing the original prints and mechanicals that I’m showing above.
Late in the ’70s I began a correspondence with Dugald Stermer that blossomed into a full blown friendship until his death in 2011. He was one of the great ones.
These two magazines had such strong impact on my life that I’ve saved a handful of what I acquired at time, taking them from apartment to apartment as I moved from here to there. I was about to give them away last week and now I’m so glad I stopped myself from cutting away this heritage.
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