Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'His Head in the Clouds', by Ed Emshwiller

Ed Emshwiller (1925 – 1990) was a renowned SF artist during the 50s and 60s, during which he provided cover and interior illustrations for a large number of magazines and books.
Emshwiller was noted for bringing a whimsical, humorous approach to his compositions, and this is true for the image I’ve scanned here, the illustration for the Robert Silverberg story  ‘His Head in the Clouds’, from the September 1957 issue of Original SF magazine. The image is featured in an article about the artist, ‘Ed Emshwiller: The Art of Things to Come’, by Luis Ortiz, in issue 19 (Summer 2007) of Illustration magazine.
Emshwiller was living in Levittown, Long Island, during the 50s and one of his neighbors was the Griffith family; their son Bill was the model for the boy depicted in the illustration. Bill Griffith’s father posed as the irate military officer in the viewscreen. Bill Griffith considered Emshwiller to be a ‘beatnik’ due to his unconventional occupation and art-focused lifestyle.
Bill Griffith went on to pursue art in his own way, as the originator of the ‘Zippy the Pinhead’ underground comic. Probably the most commercially successful character to emerge from the comix scene, ‘Zippy’ is syndicated in many major newspapers, and supports a complete line of consumer products.

image of Bill Griffith from

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