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Nostalgia Act

JANUARY 22, 2007
The Replacements circa 1985
Late-Onset Sentimentality is an inherited disorder; my father became quite a mush in his later years and it seems that I'm genetically predestined to follow in his footsteps.

This portait of Minneapolis rock outfit The Replacements is a good example on several levels.
First the band:

This is them in 1985. I was a Junior in High School and going through what I imagine every boy my age goes through; a maelstrom of emotional turmoil, a combustible mxture of arrogance and self-doubt, drunk on possibility.
The Replacements had just made their masterpiece- a poignant album called Tim, that spoke volumes to me. It was a raucous affair, dirty and full of boozy bravado, but at it's center it was fragile and, at times, downright mournful. It was a band on the verge- they imploded after this record with a bid for commercial acceptance that didn't suit them and they collapsed under their own uncertainty.
These days I listen to "Tim" and I can still smell the moldy floormats and sun-baked naugahyde upholstery of my old VW. It's atill a perfect album.
The brilliant Aurelius Battaglia
As time's gone by I find I've developed an anachronistic streak a mile wide. This is especially true in matters of aestetics, and doubly so where design and illustration for the juvenile market is concerned.
I did a job last year- a rather massive job, in fact, over 30 full color illos - for a children's almanac. Somehow, I allowed myself to call to mind my Childcraft Encyclopedias from the late 1960's and I used these as a touchstone for all my work. I honestly don't know WHAT I was thinking here, but the designer didn't stop me...
When I received the finished product in the mail I was appalled. Not at the garish, saturated, drop-shadowed, hysterical mishmash  that I held in my hand but at my foolishness. How could I have believed the end result would have been anything else, let alone the simple and understated beauty of my beloved Childcrafts?
These drawings by Aurelius Battaglia ca 1952 say it all for me. My Replacements portrait was inspired by these; their simplicity and lyricism is at the zenith of 'children's book art' in my eyes.
© 2024 Steve Wacksman