Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

The Secret Life of Machines

Written by James Vaughan • April 26th, 2010
The Secret Life of Machines

Fellow fans of Ultra Swank are well aware that we are revelers in a cultural period of technology supreme. Be it Hi-Fi or Hydrogen Bomb if it had push buttons and chrome it was an object of desire! Few artists captured this ‘age of the machine’ better than Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965).

Immigrating from Russia to New York City in 1919, Artzybasheff’s career included over 200 Time Magazine covers and illustrations for over fifty books. He was a sought after advertising illustrator with clients including many of the Fortune 500. Looking at his style it’s not surprising that he was also an advisor to the Psychological Warfare Department of the U.S. during World War 2! Although he was capable of very realistic renderings, it was his surreal creations of machines as living creatures (a hidden vanity of technology) which endears him in the hearts of mid-century mavens of today.

His book As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff is available to buy from Amazon for anyone who wants to dig deeper into Boris’ fantasy world.

James Vaughan

James Vaughan was born in 1955, resides in Ohio and has taught at Kent State University. James spends his days photographing conceptual and editorial style studio photography.

Find out more about James Vaughan

  • RadioWizard

    The pictures are amazing. A bit like MC Escher, but a little more, what? Cheek? Oh, yeah.

Get all the goods straight to your inbox