Thursday, August 18, 2011

Artist of the Month; Archibald Knox

Archibald Knox is my favourite graphic artist of the Art Nouveau crowd, beating Mucha as a designer and calligrapher, though not as a painter. Knox's strength lies in his highly stylised texts, which use interlocking patterns to great effect. Often termed 'Celtic', they are far more Scandinavian in style and with their long loops and tight clusters, they look like the asymmetrical patterns found on many rune stones and the wooden carvings on Urnes stave church in Norway. Drawn by hand, and coloured with water based paints, Knox's texts have that beautiful raw quality which, despite having been copied a million times since, is really only ever found in Victorian illustration work.

I've copied Knox's style on several occaisions (example), and the thing I've noticed is that although I love the fact that you can hardly read what it says, most people find this rather annoying, and in the modern world, with the constant emphasis on speed and ease of communication, graphic design of this variation is unfortunately not often in demand.

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