Sunday, 24 April 2011

Abram Games: Talk from Naomi Games

I was extremely excited to discover that the daughter (Naomi Games) of one of my all time favourite designers, Abram Games, was coming to present to us the work and story of her father. I've long-appreciated his work, and had already been to see the exhibition that Naomi had curated in Sheffield last year, so was eager to discover more about Abram, especially from someone with such a close connection to him.

Abram Games first learned about being creative from watching his father, who was a photographer, at work. It was here that he was first introduced to the most influential tool of his career - the air brush, which his father would use to touch up and add colour to the slides he had taken. At 15, Games left school with the desire of becoming a poster designer; yet his head teacher dismissed this by saying he would never make it. Little did he know...

Games went on to produce some of Britain's most iconic poster designs and, in 1942, was appointed as the only ever official war poster artist. According to Naomi, his posters told the truth; which hadn't been done before, and yet many couldn't handle these truths. This led to some of his designs being discontinued and banned. A great example of this is his famous "ATS" poster from 1942, more commonly described as the "blonde bombshell". This beautiful poster was banned due to concerns that it was far too risqué for a British audience, and perceived the Auxiliary Territorial Service woman as more of a sexual object than as a persuasive tool. 

It was really lovely to be able to see Games' work from a more personal standpoint, however I was a little disappointed with the overall atmosphere of the talk. Naomi was clearly very proud of her father and his achievements but the talked seemed less of a personal insight than I was anticipating, causing it to feel a little forced and lack-lustre. This was probably due to the fact that she has done countless talks similar to the one we were involved in, but I still felt a little disappointed that she didn't go further in depth into Abram's design approaches.

Despite this, the lecture was still quite inspiring and I discovered a lot more about Abram that I hadn't previously known. His work is truly beautiful and it is clear that a lot of time and skill went into producing his designs. He was definitely passionate about what he did, which was apparent from the advice he would give to his students: Always remember the '3C's': curiosity, concentration, and courage. I find the last two particularly difficult areas to get to grips with when approaching my own work, so it was encouraging to hear it from one of my favourite designers! 

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