Be a part of Seymour Chwast’s new book of original antiwar illustrations
Subversive. Personal. Obsessive. Radical. There is no mistaking the work of Seymour Chwast. As co-founder with Milton Glaser of Push Pin Studios, he led a revolution in graphic design producing bold, vibrant work that pushed the limits of nearly every visual medium — from posters, advertisements, book jackets, and magazine covers to album covers, product packaging, typography, and children’s books. His pioneering role as a designer, author, and activist continues to influence and inspire 21st-century designers. For more than six decades, Chwast, who celebrates his 85th birthday this year, has used his signature blend of design, illustration, and social commentary to wage a campaign against war and today Designers & Books is launching a Kickstarter campaign to publish Seymour Chwast’s new book of antiwar illustrations: Seymour Chwast at War with War: An Illustrated Timeline of 5000 Years of Conquests, Invasions, and Terrorist Attacks.
The publication visualizes humanity’s 5,000-year-long state of conflict, chaos, and violence on a continuous timeline. Thirty-five two-page spreads in stark black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings and woodcuts illustrate history’s most notorious battles. “It’s the ongoing relentlessness of the thing, the seemingly never-ending urge to resolve disputes with deadly conflict, century after century. That’s the nagging notion through the years that keeps bringing me back to the subject of war” says Chwast.
“Seymour has always done work that is community based. And what possibly could be more community based than issues of war? The idea of connection to community is what made us think of Kickstarter and decide that it was the perfect place to launch this book” comments the book’s editor, design writer, Steven Heller.
From “At War with War.” Punic Wars, 264.
To support the Kickstarter, Chwast has opened the doors to his archive, offering both new and vintage items to backers. Included among the special items are three of Chwast’s personal copies of his first antiwar publication, A Book of Battles, which he self published in 1957; his Vietnam War era poster “War is Good Business, Invest Your Son”; and a one-of-a kind four-color mechanical for a book he wrote with Steve Heller.
At War with War will involve a master letterpress printer and a process utilized for fine and limited print editions. The book will feature an introduction by Victor Navasky, former editor and publisher of The Nation, and will be edited by renowned graphic design writer Steven Heller.
An iconic creator Chwast has designed and/or illustrated many books, including more than 35 for children. He has created over 175 posters, a large number of which have attained cultural iconic status. He is in the Art Directors Hall of Fame and is the recipient of the 1985 AIGA Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts. This Kickstarter project is part of Designers & Books’ program to connect specialized audiences interested in design and creativity to noteworthy designer-authored books, and also to facsimile editions of important out-of-print books about design. After the successfully crowdfunded facsimile edition of Visual Design in Action by Ladislav Sutnar Designers & Books continues its mission, to advocate for books as important sources of inspiration.
From “At War with War.” Haitian Revolution, 1791.
“Seymour is like an engine. An engine of art. He’s constantly at work—always at his drafting table, always with pen and brush in hand. With dirty, ink-stained fingers” says Steven Heller to D&B. “His art combines anger and despair balanced by wit and humanity. It follows in the tradition of the satiric masters: Honor Daumier, Franz Masarel, George Grosz and Otto Dix. I’d say you could include the Marx Brothers in that list, too. This is what Seymour does; what he’s done for 50 years” he adds. “He’s an artist who embraces through his work. In his work there’s something that allows the viewer to get in, walk around, absorb, and learn. And I love that experience”.
Be part of a revolution and support this meaningful campaign here.
From “At War with War.” Iraq War, 2006.
Front cover of “Seymour Chwast at War with War.”
Steven Heller graphic design writer and editor of “At War with War”
Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser, 1968.
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez flanking a Seymour Chwast poster, 1964. Photo: Courtesy SVA Picture Collection.
Seymour Chwast, 2016.
Seymour Chwast working on a woodcut illustration of Teutonic knights conquering Prussia, 1283, from “At War with War.”
Illustration from woodcut of Teutonic knights from “At War with War.”
Seymour Chwast, 2016.
Tags/ graphic design, origins, book, letterpress, steven heller, kickstarter, publication, milton glaser, aiga, subversive, personal, seymour chwast, obsessive, radical, antiwar, illustrations, push pin studios, visual design in action, designers & books