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Artzybasheff’s Animistic Machines April 26, 2010

Filed under: Animism,Arts — BrujaHa @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Animism is alive and well in the industrial world of Boris Artzybasheff.

After the Russian Revolution, Artzybasheff (1899-1965) arrived in America with no parents and 14 cents in his pocket. He began to work as an illustrator using an Art Deco style, then became heavily influenced by the representational surrealist movement.

His illustrations graced countless Time and Life magazines, loads of ads, and around 50 books, including Charles Finney’s The Circus of Dr. Lao and Dhan Gopal Mukerji’s Gay-Neck, which won him the Newbery.

One of his most famous books was his own, As I See. This book contains a section entitled “Machinalia.”

In its introduction, Artzybasheff says, “I am thrilled by machinery’s force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission. I like machines.”

He says that, but while some of these do look like a happy little Disney world o’ machines, others look far more ominous to me. However, I’ll give the artist the benefit of the doubt for knowing his own subconscious along with his conscious approval of human liberation from drudgery.  Perhaps the machines’ expressions do not signify plotting the eventual overthrow of their soft, fleshy masters, as I suspect, but simply intense concentration on their work tasks.

See what you think.


Artzybasheff Machinalia
Making of Steel: Charging the Open Hearth

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Tapping a Heat of Steel

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Filling Ingot Molds

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Soaking Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Blooming Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Rod Mill

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Hydraulic Press

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Stranding of Wire Rope

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Weaving of Fence Fabric

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Wire Drawing Machines

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Spring Forming Presses

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Wire Cloth Looms

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Navy’s Mark III Calculator

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Executive of the Future

(Thanks to my original source for many of these illos: Stephen Worth, ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive)


10 Responses to “Artzybasheff’s Animistic Machines”

  1. Tim Says:

    I had thought I was not aware of Mr. Artzybasheff until I found this US Postage stamp I remember from 2004.

  2. Tina Fields Says:

    Yes! I thought I’d remembered seeing that Bucky domehead image too. Apparently it was a bit controversial – flattering or not? Thanks, Tim.

  3. Anne-Marie Cory (facebook link) Says:

    Good post Tina.

  4. Erin Vang (Facebook link) Says:

    And people accuse ME of eclectic interests!

  5. Tina Fields Says:

    (Facebook link)
    Andrey Vinogradov:

    I wonder if Giger knew of Arzybasheff…

  6. Peralta Says:

    Superb – I search for that since 3 weeks now. Thank you for that share. :-))

  7. Townsend Says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

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