Everett Aison’s art and writing styles continue to be captivating.He is a co-founder of the School of Visual Arts Film School in New York and the former art director of Grossman Publishers. He has written several produced screenplays and designed the opening titles for numerous films, including Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water. In addition to Arthur he has illustrated the children’s book The American Movie and in 2006 published his first novel, Artrage.
From the review tab of the Artrage page, https://pleasureboatstudio.com/artrage/:
Molly Haskell says, “I thoroughly enjoyed Everett Aison’s novel about a regular guy who commits an acte gratuite, the desecration of an art world treasure, and its wildly snowballing consequences. Mace is a funny, slightly sex-obsessed, and not always sympathetic protagonist, for this story of a provocation is itself a provocation. Humane at its core, though, this novel takes a bead on the obscene mix of art, money and the media with the best possible humor.”
FILM COMMENT Magazine, Sept/Oct 2018, GRAPHIC DETAIL/The art of the movie poster/ EVERETT AISON, article by Adrian Curry
A filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, title designer, children’s book illustrator, art director, and teacher, Everett Aison has worn many hats in his 83 years. In the early ’60s, he created a handful of posters for the burgeoning foreign film scene that were as bracingly spare and unique as anything being made at the time. Aison’s career began in 1959, after service in Korea, when he studied typography at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. Mentored by co-founder Silas H. Rhodes, he was soon asked to teach graphic design and later start a film school within the college (which he ran for nearly 40 years). During his early years at SVA, Aison started designing titles for his friends’ short films, such as William Kronick’s A Bowl of Cherries. Kronick was a partner in the new distribution firm Seneca Productions, one of whose first releases was Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, and he hired Aison to design not only the iconic three-color silkscreened poster for the film (only 12 were screen-printed by hand and Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune each owned one), but also a whole raft of flyers, cards, ads, and letterheads using his strikingly austere yet wonderfully expressive design. He created similarly emblematic posters for Louis Malle’s Zazie dans le métro and Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water, and he designed the film titles for the American versions of many of these imports. He and Milton Glaser were flown out to L.A. together to be the first to screen Zabriskie Point (in Antonioni’s presence), and both designed posters that were never used. (Aison considers his, for which he photographed burning dollar bills soaked in Vaseline, to be his finest poster work.) What makes Aison’s early ’60s designs so notable, and so different from American movie posters of the time, is the way they presage the minimalist fan art that has come into vogue in the past decade without being as coyly inside-baseball as many of those pieces can be. With nods to Polish graphics and to Saul Bass, Aison created posters that spoke directly to what was so exciting and novel about the foreign film scene in early ’60s New York. He directed short films himself, and one of these, So Much in Common, played for more than two years in front of Five Easy Pieces in the early ’70s.
My site will not allow me to upload pics (that show up anyway at this time), to view his poster designs featured in this article, please visit:
NYT Book Review Children’s Collection, Bookshelf: Back Again
This gem of a Manhattan tale from the early 1960s should be better known, especially given Aison’s astounding charcoal and watercolor art, so simple and bold in black, smudgy gray and a perfect dark green. Arthur, a self-absorbed little bird who lives in Central Park, is caught up in his own affairs and misses his flock as they fly south for the winter. Left to tough it out on his own, he learns some deep life lessons, and emerges glad to have “lived through a strange and a cold and a wonderful time.”
48 pp. New York Review. $15.95. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8)