During the 1920s and 1930s, fashionable advertising images were made, often by spraying coloured inks through fine nozzles and using compressed air, this brought graphic illustrations and images closer to the appearance of a photograph or frame from a feature film. The images echoed the fashions of the time. The sleek draped female models, with shiny curled hair, dapper gentleman with smart cars, stylish three-dimensional lettering, rainbows and fans of colour, completed the illusion that you were entering the privileged world of high fashion.
High-speed turbo airbrushes allowed the artist to make a line as fine as a human hair, and were often used to depict exotic hairstyles for the fashion and the film industry.
Soon, the technique was used for elaborate technical diagrams, exploded views that were able to show high detail in the interior of a structure, machinery, aircraft, automobiles, and science fiction, landscapes, costumes and a spacecraft took on a new exciting appearance.
Custom cars were airbrushed, using industrial airguns, some of which were able to blend glittering metal particles to create exotic speckled effects. The costome cars were coated with many layers of lacquer to achieve highly dense and reflective coloured surfaces that were quite exquisite and fascinating. Elaborate scenes and fantasy graphics were airbrushed onto the panels of cars, the fuel tanks and body forms of motorbikes, this enhanced the idea that transport was a fashion accessory.
Airbrushing as a technique reached a new peak in the 1960s, when every possible device was used to create exciting new styles to stimulate the eye. Graphic imagery that incorporated airbrushed artwork, dominated the music industry, the clothing industry, particularly in the world of rock and pop. Airbrushing is still regarded today as a sophisticated way of achieving an elaborate realism in painting, as well as graphics.
The advent of the computer, introduced infinitely variable airbrush tools and a special effects, textures, including patterns at the touch of a button. This together with an extensive range of colour systems, tints, tones and blends, layer effects and varying degrees of transparency, gave the artist an instant ever-changing range of tools. Used in conjunction with photography and illustration, stop frame animation, airbrushing has been integrated into some of the most elaborate fantasy films, ever producing three dimensional creatures, elaborate face make-up, blue screen sets, as well as computer games, bringing the history of airbrushing up-to-date.
the physical use of a compressor and a handheld airbrush used in conjunction with different surfaces, stencils, objects and textures, still have a powerful place in the experimental, ever evolving visual vocabulary of the multimedia artist.
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