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Woodstock Poster Artist Arnold Skolnick | Connecting Point | Aug. 5, 2019

Woodstock Poster Artist Arnold Skolnick | Connecting Point | Aug. 5, 2019


>>ARNOLD SKOLNICK IS AN
AWARD-WINNING GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND THE PUBLISHER OF NUMEROUS
ART BOOKS, POSTERS AND CATALOGUES — BUT PERHAPS HIS
MOST FAMOUS WORK IS THE ONE HE CREATED FOR A MUSIC FESTIVAL
THAT HAPPENED 50 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH: WOODSTOCK. FOR SKOLNICK, CREATING THAT
POSTER WAS JUST ANOTHER JOB –BUT TODAY THAT POSTER OF A
BIRD SITTING ON THE NECK OF A GUITAR ACCOMPANIED BY THE PHRASE
“THREE DAYS OF PEACE & MUSIC” IS ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS GRAPHIC
IMAGES EVER DEVISED IN AMERICAN POP CULTURE. CONNECTING POINT PRODUCER DAVE
FRASER VISITED SKOLNICK IN HIS EASTHAMPTON STUDIO AND SHARES
HIS STORY.>>YOU’RE BORN WITH THIS TALENT
THAT YOU DON’T HAVE IT. YOU CAN’T LEARN HOW TO DO IT.>>ARNOLD SKOLNICK HAS SPENT HIS
LIFE DESIGNING AND CREATING BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART AS WELL
AS PRODUCING ART BOOKS, CATALOGS AND POSTERS. AT AGE 82 HE HAS RECEIVED FOUR
50 BEST BOOKS FROM THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF GRAPHIC
ARTS AND GRAPHIC DESIGN BUT HIS MOST FAMOUS WORK IS ONE THAT
RECEIVED NO AWARD AT ALL THE ORIGINAL WOODSTOCK POSTER WHICH
HE CREATED 50 YEARS AGO IN 1969.>>IT’S JUST A BIRD, THE HAND
AND THE GUITAR AND THIS — WE WENT AND ADDED THE WOODSTOCK ART
FAIR, ALL THE NAMES AND THEY WERE DRIVING THE PRINTER CRAZY
BECAUSE EACH TIME YOU HAD TO CHANGE THE PLATES.>>THE FESTIVAL ATTRACTED NEARLY
HALF A MILLION PEOPLE AT A FARM IN UPSTATE NEW YORK FOR 3 DAYS
OF PEACE, LOVE AND MUSIC.>>FOR SOME REASON THE WHOLE
COUNTRY KNEW ABOUT THIS AND THEY STARTED COMING FROM ALL OVER THE
COUNTRY. YOU REMEMBER THE THROUGH WAY WAS
PACKED AND IT TOOK OFF.>>SKOLNICK GOT THE JOB TO
DESIGN THE POSTER BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL POSTER DESIGNED BY
DAVID BIRD WHICH WAS OUTLINED BY A NAKED WOMAN AND WAS TO
PSYCHEDELIC AND THEY APPROACHED SKOLNICK TO CREATE A NEW POSTER
IN 3 DAYS INSPIRED OF THE PAPER CUTOUTS OF MATISSE, ARNOLD WENT
TO WORK.>>THESE PHOTOGRAPHS AND YOU CAN
BE DO ALL KINDS OF SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM. I DECIDED TO DO THE WHOLE THING
WITH CUT PAPER. THINKING ABOUT MATISSE’S CUTOUTS
SHOWS AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART AND I TOOK A RAZOR BLADE AND
CUT THE SHAPES OUT AND I WENT TO THE SAW AND CUT A BIG RED SHEET
OF PAPER AND I PUT THE BIRD IN THE CORNER. I PUT CUT IT ALL OUT — WITH A
RAZOR BLADE AND I HAD ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES AND I PUT IT ON
RED PAPER AND THAT WAS IT.>>THOSE SIMPLE GRAPHICS CAME
TOGETHER TO MAKE ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC POSTERS EVER AND DESPITE
HIS LACK OF INTEREST OF THE MUSIC OF THE ’60s AND ’70s.>>THERE’S A MISTAKE IN THE
POSTER. WHEN I PUT ALL THE COLORS IN FOR
THE PRINTER I DIDN’T MARK THE BEAK TO BE BLACK SO THE BEAK IS
RED, WITH A RED BACKGROUND. NOBODY’S EVER NOTICED IT.>>SKOLNICK HAD A VICE PRESIDENT
FOR THE 3-DAY FESTIVAL BUT LEFT AFTER THE FIRST DAY.>>I ENDED UP SPENDING A LOT OF
TIME ON THE STAGE, ON THE BACK OF THE STAGE, JANICEOP LYNN. I NEVER SAW SO MANY PEOPLE, 40
OR 50,000 PEOPLE. IT’S THE SIZE OF OF SMALL
CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES AND IT’S INCREDIBLE AND I FOUND OUT
IT’S GOING TO RAIN — START TO RAIN THE NEXT DAY, WHICH IT DID,
I SAID I GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE. I GOT INTO THE VOLVO. I MUST HAVE DAMAGED 20 CARS
GETTING OUT OF THE PARKING LOT. IT WAS JUST — IT WAS JUST
MADNESS, AND THE VOLVO CAN PUSH ANYTHING, YOU KNOW?>>MOST OF THE WORK THAT
SKOLNICK HAS PRODUCED COMES WITH A BACK-STORY LIKE HIS SERIES OF
BOOKS ON MAINE OR HOW HE REPRESENTED RALPH NADER DESIGN
THE COVER OF HIS BOOK ABOUT CARS WHILE WAITING FOR THE PUBLISHER.>>THE PUBLISHER CAME OUT,
ARNOLD GIVE US 5 MINUTES AND WHILE YOU’RE WAITING TAKE A LOOK
FOR MORE THANS IDEAS FOR A BOOK WE’RE DOING WITH RALPH NADER AND
THE IDEA WAS WHAT TO DO WITH THE BAD CAR. ONE DOUBLE IDEA TO ANOTHER. A GUY FIXING THE CAR, AND THE
FEET COMING OUT ENOUGH JUST PUT A LEMON ON WHEELS AND THE PLACE
FROZE AND NOBODY SAID A WORD. AND HE CAME OUT CAN YOU REPEAT
THAT. PUT A LEMON ON WHEELS AND HE
SAID GET RALPH NADER ON THE PHONE AND HE SAID DO IT. USE A TOY TRUCK AND LEMON HE
CREATED THE IMAGE THAT HELPED CHANGE THE NORMAL VERNACULAR
ABOUT BAD CARS. THE POSTERS OF WOODSTOCK HAS
CHANGED AND SKOLNICK HAS BECOME AN INTERNET ON THE POSTER MAKING
WORLD AND IF HE HAD TO DO IT ANOTHER JOB.>>IF I HAD ANOTHER ASSIGNMENT I
COULDN’T DO IT BETTER THAN THAT. IT JUST CLICKED, AND SECOND FIND
OUT WHAT IT’S ABOUT. YOU DON’T NEED ALL THE
PSYCHEDELIC NONSENSE, YOU KNOW? ♪

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