Friday, November 23, 2007

There should have been a memo...

Was I was the last person on earth to know that the iconic image of Che Guevara was the work of Dubliner Jim Fitzpatrick??

When I was a kid, I used to adore tracing the intricate knotwork of his Celtic art (Jim Fitz, that is, not Che). Years later, when I got to take care of illuminated manuscripts, that same wonder was there. Give me vibrant marginalia over a showy centrepiece any day.

His style has changed considerably since the 1970s - here's Palu, The Cat Goddess, from back in the day:

The Che image was never copyrighted, and spread quickly, becoming highly controversial: copies were stolen and destroyed, and Fitzpatrick's distributor in Spain was arrested by Franco's secret police. In Dublin, one fine lady went into the swanky BTs (which had a stationery section back then), bought the whole stock of Che Guevara cards and proceeded to rip them up before the staff. Art is all down to how it makes you feel...

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