James Gordon Irving in Uppercase Magazine / by Leslie

What started as a simple blog post has turned into my first printed article in magazine. Sometimes it's interesting how things happen. You can never quite plan the series of events required to produce a piece of work and many things need to be "just right." 

After I wrote that blog post, I began to wonder about Mr. Irving and the limited information about him online. My husband is amazing at tracking people down, as he did for his book 1950s Radio in Color, and I asked him to see what he could find out about Irving. His secret? Librarians. They know everything.

Initially, I just wanted to interview Mr. Irving for my blog and I thought it would be cool to meet him. It turned out to be very difficult to arrange a meeting though, he was sick at the time and it was hard to talk to him on the phone. The idea kind of faded away, until I met Janine at Uppercase Magazine shortly after ALT Summit last year.

She remembered the Golden Nature Guides and had an issue coming up about the creative side of science. An interview with Irving would be perfect. With Janine's interest, we had a new incentive to make the interview happen. After nine months of trying, we finally met with Mr. Irving in February of 2012.

It was wonderful to be invited into his home and to hear the story about his life and career as a commercial illustrator. He was a remarkable guy who worked very hard and had no grand illusions about himself. Modest, funny and a talented artist, he seemed to have enjoyed his life very much. Sadly, he passed away in August, and while it's unfortunate that he won't get to see the article in print, his son told us that he really enjoyed speaking with us that day about his work and basking in some attention from us. I hope that because of this article, more people will know about the fine work that Gordon did, and that his family will feel it's a fitting tribute.

Janine at Uppercase did an incredible job on the layout, it's really quite thrilling to see words that I have written and photographs that I have taken printed in a magazine! I am so grateful to her for the opportunity to do this and I hope that we can work together again soon.

Visit the Uppercase Blog for some excerpts from the article, my contributor's profile and more information about Issue 15. If you would like to read the article, you can purchase Issue 15 from the Uppercase website, however I highly recommend a subscription. I have one and love receiving these fine magazines in the mail every three months. I always find so much inspiration and information about the creative work that people are doing.

"A great idea can spark from an eureka-moment or it can be the outcome of methodical process. Whatever your method, you will find both the inspirational and the practical in this issue of UPPERCASE

In investigating the creative side of science, we were enthralled with the small bits of matter that assemble and combine to create something greater: on the softer side, coloured molecular orbs of baubles and beads are components of jewellery and art; on the flat plane, pixels, points and grids create the framework for two-dimensional creativity.

Please also enjoy our special feature “Beautiful Bitmaps” in which 26 typographers, designers and illustrators interpret a vestigial component of digital type, the bitmap."

Do you have anything from your childhood that you would like to know more about? I encourage you to research it! Meeting the people responsible for the creative work that we have grown up loving is a remarkable experience, for both sides of the table.