Ocean Pacific Apparel Designs, 1979 – 1989

Ocean Pacific was founded in 1972 by Jim Jenks, a San Diego-based surfboard maker and former sportswear rep. He had developed the logo in 1969 for a surfboard line, but found much greater success with surfwear, OP’s corduroy “walkshorts” becoming an immediate hit with surfers and, in short order, men everywhere (the high-waisted style was popularized by Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.)…

The Sound of Space: Stereo Advertisements, 1981 – 1983

Three of the five ads above were illustrated by Ryo Ohshita, who seems to have specialized in depicting the pioneering audio systems of the time. Clearly taking after one of the most sought-after futurist illustrators of the decade, Shusei Nagaoka, Ohshita’s shimmering visions lend his products an occult grandeur and mystery reminiscent of the hovering Monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Can’t Beat the Real Thing: Pop Will Eat Itself and the Age of Ironic Advertising

By Brother Bill

It was in 1988 that two-year-old English band Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI) began a transition from guitar-driven pop-rock to electronic dance, a direction inspired by a remix of their cover of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11”, embellished for the nightclub with dance beats and turntable techniques by producer Robert Gordon of Fon Studio…

Paul Bacon Cover Gallery, 1952 – 1983

After serving in the Marines during World War II, self-taught artist and typographer Paul Bacon (1923-2015) landed in New York City, where he designed several now-famous album covers for jazz labels Blue Note and Riverside Records. Bacon had discovered jazz in the ’30s, and he remained a great fan—he was befriended by Thelonious Monk, among others—throughout his life…

Portraits of the Mushroom Cloud, 1946 – 1990

From the moment atomic weapons were first inflicted on the planet in 1945, the mushroom cloud became one of the defining motifs of the second half of the 20th century, assuming an almost supernatural significance that would only increase over time. It might seem paradoxical to speak about serendipity in the case of something that has been the cause of so much misery, but it’s hard to imagine nuclear weapons occupying quite the same space in the human race’s imagination had their effects not taken such a recognizable shape…

How Basil Wolverton Captured the Terrifying Imagery of the Biblical Apocalypse

By Greg Rozeboom

Born in 1909, Basil Wolverton was a successful American illustrator and cartoonist, admired within his industry and by its fans, yet little known to the general public. His drawings—the twisted shapes of spaghetti, meatballs, and mutation—may repel some, but they never fail to leave an impression, especially on the young. Wolverton was active between 1938 and 1974, and made a dent so deep that his style and influence were stamped into the underground comix scene of the ‘60s…

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Monster Car Illustrations

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a central figure in the hod rod and custom car scene that flourished in 1950s and early 1960s Southern California. Born in Beverly Hills to German immigrants, Roth grew up in Bell, California, home of “speed shop” Bell Auto Parts and nearby Slauson Avenue, a popular drag strip. After a stretch in the Air Force, Roth became a sign painter at Sears and, in 1958, starting designing cars out of his garage…