The dazzling graphic art of Edward Wadsworth

drydockedforscalingandpaintingliverpool_resized1Just love this print of Edward Wadsworth’s Drydocked for Scaling and Painting (Liverpool). It’s a picture of one of his “dazzle ships” from World War I, so called because they deployed a “dazzle camouflage” in an attempt to mess with the minds of the German navy. The technique could disrupt the visual rangefinders used for naval artillery; so making it more difficult for the enemy to detect a be-dazzled ship’s precise distance and speed. Amazingly, the design exploited Wadworth’s experience as a vorticist painter, a British brand of cubo-futurism, that used bold, abstracted lines that similarly tricked the eye.

* A painting of his dazzle ships hangs in National Gallery in Ottawa and it celebrates the dazzling ships with equal boldness.

** Incidentally, the dazzle ships also served as an inspiration for the Factory Record’s Peter Saville, who used the technique to design a sleeve for an OMD album of 1983.
(via ffffound).

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