The Rise of the Graphic Design Auteur

mcfetridge at redcat.jpgYou’ve still got a week left to see the “Two Lines Align” exhibition at REDCAT in Los Angeles, but before you go, check out Hugh Hart‘s recent Los Angeles Times story. “It’s a piece on what I’m calling Graphic Design Auteurs–visual talents who blur the line between personal work and graphics for hire,” Hart tells us. “It’s pegged to the Ed Fella and Geoff McFetridge show…but also includes people like Tim Biskup, Shepard Fairey, National Forest, James Jean, Gary Baseman, with comments from Walker Art Center.” Some of our favorite analysis is that which Hart extracted from McFetridge himself (pictured at right):

Leafing through a pile of sketches in his studio, McFetridge sees the flux between self-inspired art and market-oriented graphics as being “very muddy, but maybe it’s a positive kind of mud.” On the other hand, he muses, trend-setting image makers who hitch their revenue stream to advertising campaigns just might overstay their welcome with patrons who write the checks.

“Corporations seek out people with the clear thoughts who exist on the fringe almost as if the corporations have no brain,” McFetridge says. “But maybe companies will become much more proscriptive about their marketing and go back to ‘We know best.’ Kind of like at Apple where you’ve got Steve Jobs going, ‘I know. Don’t ask them, ask me.’ That could be the future.”