David Weidman is to the 70s, what Andy Warhol was to the 60s. His vibrant earth-toned serigraphs and silkscreens defined art in the revolutionary Nixon-era. “The Whimsical Work of David Weidman and Also Some Serious Ones” is a comprehensive collection of this artist’s work, covering his first works in animation to the quietly defiant posters at the end of his career.
Weidman’s art had commercial beginnings. After finishing art school he shopped some of his sketches around animation studioes in Los Angeles. He held jobs at various studios as the work was mostly seasonal. He contributed drawings in commercials, educationfal films and cartoons. But the work was stressfull, gruelling and unsatisfactory. Often, Weidman wouldn’t even see the end result.
“In animation you’re always part of a team. You were always part of the ingredient to a project, If I was doing backgrounds, I would never be involved in the characters that played over them. Or if I was doing the characters, I would never be involved in where they were. It was a joint thing, and you only did your part. There was a desire to do a completed thing on my part.”
Therefore, most of the early work included in the book looks incomplete. Un-polished character sketches that never made it into production, or background scenes completely uninhabited.
Weidman’s work came together in the early 1960s, when he set up a studio in his garage to produce his own art. By 1965 he had his own gallery and framing shop on La Cienaga Boulevard. The prints from this point in his life are simplistic pieces but they have a life of their own. In three colors or less, simple vegetables are bright and have their own personality.
Weidman experimented with the silkscreen medium, and quickly gained more confidence. This shows a few years later when his poster began to include people and animals, and a rainbow of colors. He eventually added text to his work, never sticking to one typeface, but usually creating a new font with every image.
This is when his art became less light-hearted, and more representaional of the times. One poster from 1967, the year of the Six-Day War, read “Visit beautiful Israel, land of the Matzo-Ball. New Places: Cairo-Aviv, Damascus-Aviv, Beirut-Aviv. Fly Fighterplane Airlines. Manischewitz served on all flights.
However, Weidman was an artist and not a revolutionary. He was a keen observor, but a working man nonetheless.
“‘I didn’t take dope and I didn’t go to wild parties. I was too busy aming and selling posters and prints to participate in what was going on in the 60s. I just observed it.”
As Weidman quit printing in the late 70s, this book makes for a wonderful historical document of an interesting time period through the lens of art. You can still buy Weidman’s original prints, which are available online.