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Wine Bottles E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   

From Eric's unpublished "Sketches for Article on Design"

Wine Labels, 1952 :: Collection of Margaret Bridgman Wine Labels, 1952 :: Collection of Margaret Bridgman
Comparing a 2000 year old wine bottle to a 1952 wine bottle:

Business: People buy wine to drink, not to look at the bottle.

Designer: Yes, but don’t you believe that this beautiful bottle would sell more wine over the counter than your ordinary bottle?

Business: I don’t think so. It hasn’t been done in the states yet. And anyway what in hell’s beautiful about it?

Designer: Yes, I see what you mean. Well, it was just an idea.

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Stratford Festival Posters (1956-58) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Stratford Festival Stratford Festival Stratford Festival

The Stratford Shakespearean Festival was established in 1953 to help bring vitality back to the small southern Ontario city: once the site of an important rail junction, the city experienced a decline after the rail yards were moved. Since its inception, the annual Festival has attracted world-renowned theatrical names: Tyrone Guthrie was its first Artistic Director, and Alec Guinness spoke the first lines of the first play at the festival. In early 1953, in anticipation of its first season, Eric was invited to Stratford and appointed Promotional Art Director for the Festival Foundation. Eric was responsible for all programs, posters, banners and assorted printed matter in the first six years of the Festival.

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CNE Poster (1937) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
CNE Poster 1937, 56 x 34.5 cm :: Collection of the author
In my estimation, the finest example of Eric’s illustration work from the 1930's is his poster for the 1937 Canadian National Exhibition. This annual event, which in its heyday was the equal of any annual industrial/agricultural fair anywhere in the world, published posters designed by the best artists and illustrators in Canada at the time: J.E.H. MacDonald (1919), Franklin Carmichael (1920), Jules Laget (1931), Fred Finley (1936) and Grant MacDonald (1941) had produced posters for the CNE in this era.

Eric’s poster for 1937, in a year that was one of the most economically disastrous in the history of the country, is, as Robert Stacey describes it, “unfailingly optimistic, even when war or depression blackened the horizon.” In the top half of the page, Eric presents a giant, muscular robot-man, born to work (in those days, many Canadians aspired to have a job—any job), and manipulating large levers. Behind this figure, the background is split between the patriotic blue and red of the Union Jack (it is, after all, the year of the coronation of George VI). In the lower half of the page is depicted the royal carriage moving through the Princes’ Gates of the CNE.

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Great Seal and Massey Foundation Award E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   

In 1953, just a few weeks after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, Eric’s friend and fellow Arts and Letters Club member Vincent Massey was installed in Rideau Hall and became the first Canadian in modern times to be appointed Governor General. Rt. Hon. Massey had been instrumental in establishing the Canadian War Art program, and no doubt had a hand in Eric’s military art commission.

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Maclean's Cover (November 15, 1938) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Maclean's Cover

In 1938 Eric was added to the stable of illustrators for Maclean’s Magazine, billed as “Canada’s National Magazine” and published weekly in Toronto. For two years this arrangement provided him with a steady stream of illustration work, from providing visual colour for articles and fictional stories, to the prestigious covers. This was a ‘golden age’ for illustration: during this period Maclean’s covers featured graphics, not photographs, almost exclusively. Add a comment

Self-Promotional Piece (1936) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Self-Promotional Piece :: Collection of Mrs. Margaret Bridgman

“Self-Promotional Piece” is a complex work, combining photographic collage, painting, decorative pattern, and typography. Some of its elements reside on the surface of the page: the pattern, the outlined inkwell, the angled highlight. However, there are also elements that provide depth: the photographed hand, the type that recedes backward using an adaptation of three-point perspective.

The phrase “CONSTRUCTIVE THOUGHT IN REPRODUCTION” is a direct reference to the Russian Constructivist style of the 1920’s. The Constructivists used the angled forms in an artistic/political effort to break traditional attitudes toward hierarchy and authority implicit in the grid structure that had been used by designers since Gutenberg.

In Eric’s case, he is demonstrating his affinity for the unusual and unconventional in the service of commercial enterprise. His use of angles and perspective in the creation of a visual irony of depth is a major undercurrent in much of his work.

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Buy the Book

Nothing Uninteresting book cover

Now available at Blurb.com.

Nothing Uninteresting

The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

By Michael B. LeBlanc

Print Book, 186 Pages



CAMPING, OR “ROUGHING IT” as it is better known in the “old school” is made up entirely of untying ropes, loosening straps and strings, taking things out of bags, putting knick-knacks in nooks, looking in nooks for knick-knacks, putting them in bags, retying strings, straps and ropes or vice-versa.

-Eric Aldwinckle