The World of Tony Meeuwissen
by Meeuwissen, Tony | The arts
Hardback | 160 pages, 335
This stunning book showcases the bold and original work of Royal Designer Tony Meeuwissen. The artist also writes about his life at the drawing board and the inspiration and ideas behind his imagery.
From the foreword by Peter Marren:
Welcome to this gallery of the work of a most individual and lovable artist. Many will have seen Tony Meeuwissen’s work without knowing the artist, for it has appeared in so many decorative forms from books to playing cards, from magazine and sheet music coversto postage stamps. His work was described by the designer Mike Dempsey as ‘inventive, intensely detailed and full of wit and beauty’. Penguin Books art director David Pelham praised him as an artist with the eye of an illustrator and the mind of a designer, one able to solve visual problems with ‘remarkable originality, skill and panache.’ To my eye Tony’s work is always affi rmative even in its darker moments. It is playful but not saccharine, clever but not conceited. It always wears a wry smile.
Tony learned his craft in the market place of commercial art. He learned how to handle a wide range of media to develop graphic ideas while also discovering the beauty of typefaces. In the process he evolved his very distinctive artistic language, his own way of seeing the world: colourful, eye-catching, beautifully executed, his work is a product of his unique vision. He loves drawing animals, birds, insects and natural phenomena, but usually with a characteristic twist: shape-changing fantastical animals, a nuthatch hatching from a nut, a praying mantis in bishop’s vestments saying grace over a butterfly. On the memorable Christmas stamps he designed for the Royal Mail in 1983, the Three Kings are represented by chimney pots and the continents of the world by melting snow slipping from an umbrella. His is a universe where nothing is quite what it seems, where proverbs morph into pictures and names turn out to have diff erent meanings. Words andrhymes increase this pleasurable sense of an alternate world with its own logic and rules. Tony Meeuwissen eschews computer-aided methods preferring his drawing board, his pencils and his paintbox. He has managed to inhabit the world of commercial art for more than half a century without ever becoming commercial himself. His work is always uncompromisingly his own: the product of a unique imagination coupled with the skills and standards of a perfectionist. Here for the fi rst time the full range of his work is presented. Like the door to the magical garden in Alice, turn the golden key and enter.