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Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles
by Paul Gorman
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Described by The New York Times as "a hero to young designers," the British designer Barney Bubbles is one of the most mysterious but influential figures in the field of graphic design. Bubbles, who died 25 years ago, links the colorful underground optimism of the 1960s to the sardonic, edgier art that accompanied Punk's explosion a decade later. In the 1960s, Bubbles created posters for the Rolling Stones, brand and product design for Sir Terence Conran and psychedelic lightshows for Pink Floyd. Responsible for art direction at the key underground magazines Oz and Frendz, and for the classic masthead of the NME rock weekly, he is best known for the plethora of stunning record sleeves, logos, insignia and promo videos for musicians and performers, from the countercultural collective Hawkwind to New Wave and Postpunk stars Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker, The Damned, Billy Bragg, Depeche Mode and The Specials. Bubbles created his own idiom, amalgamating Expressionism, Dada, Constructivism and Concrete poetry into a Rock context. With over 600 images, the meticulously researched Reasons to be Cheerful is the first and definitive investigation into Bubbles' life and work. Billy Bragg contributes an introduction, graphic designer Peter Saville an essay on the significance of Bubbles' oeuvre (titled "Toward the Canonisation of Barney Bubbles") and Malcolm Garrett a foreword.
The late, great Barney Bubbles designed some of the most unforgettable record sleeves of the last 30 odd years, but you'd probably never realise it because he rarely took a credit.
But Bubbles was much more than just a record sleeve designer. His work encompassed stage light shows, furniture design, painting and book layouts. This wonderful book tells the story of his life, tragically cut short when he took his own life in 1983, and has page after page of his work.
Bubbles started off a straight designer for Conran in the 60's and won numerous awards, but as the decade wore on he started working in the music industry, initially with Hawkwind, then later in the 70's he designed some of the most iconic sleeves of the punk and new wave era.
Bubbles designed for Stiff Records and struck up fruitful working relationships with Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and many more. His last work was for Billy Bragg and Utility records.
I would urge anyone interested in graphic design to read this book. Bubbles was an artist working in an industry that didn't appreciate him or his work. He deserves to be up there with the greats.
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Wikipedia in English (2)
A celebration of the life and work of one of the greatest designers of recent times, the mysterious and tragic cult figure Barney Bubbles. Bubbles - real name Colin Fulcher - was a true giant of graphic design whose prodigious output is revered by musicians, artists, fellow designers and music and pop culture fans. Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the artist's death.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)741.6092The arts Graphic arts and decorative arts Drawing & drawings Graphic design, illustration, commercial art History, geographic treatment, biography Biography
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