Inspiration: Illustrator Charley Harper

Cardinal Close Up Wall Mural, Charley Harper, image from Charley Harper Studio

Charley Harper was a Cincinnati-based American Modernist artist, productive for over six decades, best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. In a style he called “minimal realism”, Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. The results are bold, colorful, graphic and often whimsical.

Renowned New York based designer Todd Oldham rediscovered Charley’s work in 2001, and collaborated closely with him; combing through his extensive archive to edit and design a stunning coffee table book celebrating his illustration style. Harper passed away in 2007 at the age of 84.  Todd Oldham wrote of Harper, “Charley’s inspired yet accurate color sense is undeniable, and when combined with the precision he exacts on rendering only the most important details, one is always left with a sense of awe.” Enjoy clicking through some inspiring images at:  Charley Harper Art Studio. And to see the book of Charley’s work that Todd Oldham co-authored, click here. I hope his art inspires you and provides some illustrative design history context for your work.

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