When searching through old books at thrift shops or church rummage sales, you often come across vintage textbooks and magazines that feature incredible art and design — pieces that warrant being hung in a frame, or at least deserve wider public recognition. But like the work of so many commercial artists, these types of one-shot pieces are often relegated to utter obscurity. Over at 50 Watts, Will Schofield scans and catalogs such work, giving it a second life before it hits the landfill.
Some of the richest material Schofield has uncovered comes from a publisher called Communications Research Machines, which seemed to go out of its way to publish visuals best experienced while on some form of hallucinogen:
Communications Research Machines published Life and Health in 1972. I started to collect CRM’s intentionally or unintentionally psychedelic publications after finding a copy of Biology Today in a bookstore’s discard pile. Other early-seventies gems I plan to feature include Psychology Today and Developmental Psychology Today. (If searching for your own copies, pay attention to the dates as apparently subsequent editions are toned down.) For a fuller picture of Life and Health, see my previous posts featuring the surreal paintings of Phil Kirkland and the diagrams of Tom Lewis.
The main illustrators were Karl Nicholason and Diane McDermott, with important (for me at least) contributions by Phil Kirkland, Paul Slick, Terry Lamb, Michelle Burchard, and Masami Teraoka. Richard Oden, one of my favorite Biology Today illustrators, didn’t contribute to this book. Tom Suzuki was CRM Book’s overall design director; Leon Bolognese was Art Director for Life & Health.
What’s impressive is how meticulous Schofield is in extracting such details, like the aforementioned breakdown of who contributed what art in a given book, down to who handled design direction. For a crash course in what Schofield does, visit the image archives over at 50 Watts. Careful, however, you might get lost for awhile.