As a graphic designer, Art Paul has had an adventurous career as founding art director of Playboy magazine, designing its signature rabbit-head logo, mentoring artists and illustrators (especially from Chicago), leading a revolution in illustration toward more experimental and personal work, and eventually organizing exhibitions for the magazine.
Art Paul was born in Chicago, trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Institute of Design—the “Chicago Bauhaus.” He started his career as a freelance designer and illustrator. In 1953, he designed the first issue of Playboy, and during the following three decades, took an adventurous, award-winning approach to editorial design and illustration. He retired from the magazine in 1982, and has focused entirely on drawing and painting for the past thirty-three years.
The exhibition Hard Heads, Sweet Knees, Forked Tongues documents Art Paul’s career as an artist after he retired from Playboy. The exhibit will chiefly feature a collection of works from the “Head” series—inner portraits of anonymous faces that artist created over the course of several decades. Furthermore, there are also line drawings, cursive word drawings and several paintings on display. As a whole, the artwork refers to his personal values, satirical observation, and social commentary that is at times serious but streaked with humor. The works were created using a variety of techniques and materials, including colored pencils, graphite, china markers, colored inks, and acrylic paint on paper.