O LLE EKSE LL m pfSSStSmSi Irvan W. Fischerström [Dcutscher Text: Seite 434] [Tcxte frangais: page 435] olle eksele was to have become an engineer, but he gave up his engineer ing studies in order to dedicate himself fully to his artistic inclinations. The thirty-three-year-old Stockholm artist began his career in 1935 as a window decorator, while studying at the same time under the well-known graphic artist Hugo Steiner, who had fled from Prague to Stockholm to escape the Nazis. During the war Eksell worked for a few years as a commercial artist in a Stockholm advertising agency, and later set up as a free-lance. In 1946 he went for a year to Los Angeles in order to complete his training at the Art Center School. One of the most important tasks of advertising art is the discovery of ideas which neither the salesman nor the consumer has so far thought of. Only too often in the adver tising field are the inventive talents of an artist wasted by ad vertisers who demand, say, the realistic portrayal of a tube of toothpaste whose appearance is already familiar to everybody. They forget that the ultimate purpose of every advertisement is to transmit a message to the prospective client, to whom the advertisement must make an immediate appeal and who should be persuaded to study it with care. An advertisement which does not as much as irritate cannot be effective. Whether the public is to be jolted out of its complacency by a poster, an advertisement or for that matter a book jacket is a question that comes up for discussion wherever modern advertising specialists are at work. The old school taught that a design should be pleasant and soothing to eye and mind (whisky advertisements are an example). The new generation is convinced that every advertising medium must exert a certain shock effect if it is to attract attention. The group which takes its stand between these two extremesand it is no doubt the most numerousfeels that some of the traditional advertising methods are hopelessly outdated, but that shock and provocation effects should be used with discretion so as not to fatigue the observer. Olle Eksell sets out to shock and to provoke. His aim is to present the old and familiar as though it were something new. He wants it to look the way it never looked before. Although his deviation from the classical line sometimes appears heed less, his thorough training has made him familiar with the basic rules of all advertising art. His seeming heedlessness is rather an expression of the spirit of our modern, fast-moving times and of his own insatiable urge to experiment, which seems at each new task to confront him with the questionWhy not be different for once? Through experimentation of this kind, he tries to find his way to new working methods. Eksell's development has been strongly influenced by Hugo Steiner-Prague. The depth of the Swedish pupil's esteem for his Czech teacher can be gauged from the fact that Eksell followed Steiner to the USA in order to round off his training in the Art Center School in Los Angeles. It was from there, too, that he brought back a leaning to witty abstractions which sometimes suggest the influence of Picasso, and which can be traced throughout his work, in book jackets, window displays and posters alike. 430

Graphis de | 1951 | | page 58