26 Jun 2015

Codename: Monsieur Z

This might not jump off the page as a given but Mirabelle loves 1950s-1960s graphics. There is something reassuringly comforting that emanates from the illustrations of that era, in terms of colours, finesse of the trait and the general sunny disposition that beams out of the scenery and characters, immersed in a utopian transposition of life on earth. This golden age recreation might be but idealised depiction, yet it is extremely seductive and enticing.

I cannot help but believe that this general graphic optimism that took off on a par with post-war consumerism was a translation of the feeling of the times. Back then within our westernised societies, it seemed that dreams were not the stuff of dreams anymore, that they could and should come true. There was a sense of personal betterment (and encouragement towards it), no matter where we were to seek it, be it socially, intellectually, spiritually, financially, materially or else. Business and industry were thriving again, there was also a strong national pride, not just in terms of patriotism, but also in terms of collective prosperity and personal success.

There was an insolent vivacity and an insouciance that I struggle to find in modern day life and graphics, even those that are heavily-inspired by the mid-century era. However a French illustrator going by the enigmatic code name of Monsieur Z, and otherwise known as Richard Zielenkiewicz, has managed to recreate the golden age of mid-century graphic design, both in style and spirit. His creations are little gems of Riviera joy!

Source: All the illustrations by © Monsieur Z a.k.a. Richard Zielenkiewicz. (1) Anse San Peyre, La Garde (Var). (2) Jardin Olbius Riquier, Hyères (Var). (3) La Via Olbia, Hyères. (4) Visitez Paris. (5) Téléphérique du Mont Faron, Toulon (Var). (6) Italia è Cassis, 3ème Edition du Village Italien (9-13 Nov. 2011). (7) Carqueiranne, La Californie Varoise.

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