Obsessions

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The Cave

My son, NIcolas Heller (a.k.a. Ricky Shabazz) recently directed and edited a short interpretive video about the apartment where I keep benign, volatile and explosive artifacts of design and commercial media that I use in some of my books on politics and counter culture. He writes: Since I was an infant, I have feared...

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Bag Art

The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry  was founded Ruth and Marvin Sackner in Miami Beach, Florida in 1979, later moving it to Miami, Florida in 2005. Dr. Sachner, a noted pulmonary surgeon, began by collecting Russian Constructivism with his wife, then switched focus to establish a collection of books, critical texts, periodicals,...

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Post-Modern Storybook Illustrations

I consider myself very lucky to have been exposed to children’s books as a kid that were published way before my time—it gave me a wonderful perspective on everything from design and illustration to historical content. A good example is “The Modern Storybook” from the 1930’s. I grew up reading my father’s copy of...

Illustrated Aviation Books By Assen Jordanoff

As a kid, whenever I’d visit my Grandmother’s house in Columbus, OH, I’d make a beeline to her bookshelf. It consisted of books on public health and education (she worked with the Ohio State Department of Health), as well as books my Dad had gotten as a kid. Books like original Edgar Rice Burroughs...

Hirschfeld, Do Re Mi, and Peacock Feet

  I’ve always loved Al Hirschfeld’s work. It seems so timeless and each image he created was always a treat to visually wander through—even without his playful “Ninas.” He had solidly established his style of designed caricature by the mid 1930’s and it changed little until he passed away in 2003. While browsing in...

Covering Print Magazine, 1940-1953

The magazine we all call Print has had a half dozen different names since its inception in June of 1940. It was originally a limited-edition periodical that discussed the endless techniques used in the graphic arts industry, and even included original prints and tipped-in features within. From its first edition up to Volume VII,...

Ambassadors of Goodwill: Vintage Matchbook Advertising and Design

I picked up this salesman’s catalog for the Mercury Match Corporation of Zanesville, Ohio, about 25 years ago at the big antique show in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I remember the purchase vividly—I was over the moon, but tried to act all cool as I attempted to barter the price down from $35 to the far...

Don't Turn Your Back on History

What is disconcerting about the tour of Italian Fascist architecture in Rome I’ve been on for the past few weeks is that the buildings, signs, and symbols are still intact, more or less undisturbed, as monuments to the past. Mussolini may have intuitively understood that after his downfall and execution, his portraits and busts...

A Miniature Obsessive's Maximum Overload

If you have been reading The Daily Heller for a while, you’ll know I am obsessed with miniature things—food, people, furniture, mannequins, and even caged domestic animals (but that’s another story). You can see the various articles and posts here: 1. Just folks 2. Japanese food 3. Miniature Modernist furniture 4. Especially miniature chairs...

Graphically Seasoned Greetings!

Last year at this time, I did a post on past holiday cards that J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. has sent out over the years. This year I’m presenting some of the greetings the studio has RECEIVED throughout the years! They all speak for themselves . . . and my apologies to Steven Heller and...