Perhaps no artistic movement is as fondly remembered as Art Deco. But beyond sharp geometry and bold colors, what really is Art Deco? And does our nostalgia for it contradict the movement’s emphasis on modernity and forward progress?
Designed by students at the University of North Carolina, Ebb & Flow is a magazine that examines the way design trends—from graphics to fashion to architecture—come in and out of style. In addition to serving as Ebb & Flow’s content editor, I also wrote and designed an article about modern consumer fascination with Art Deco, an art movement that was decidedly not nostalgic in outlook.
When creating the layout for this article, I was inspired by both the sculptures that sits atop Paris’s Folies Bergere. It didn’t seem enough, however, to simply recreate this sculpture as an illustration. To add depth to the figure, I used a paper cutout technique that involves creating increasingly large background layers that are overset with a shadow. On top of that, I added wavy border elements in the same style to enhance the statue’s sense of movement and tie the left and right sides of the spread together.
As I wrote in this piece, it is impossible to use Art Deco techniques today without betraying the movement’s intellectual principles. My piece isn’t Art Deco because it’s rooted in the past, rather than looking towards the future—but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have fun trying to put my own twist on a new style.