“The Modern Jazz Sextet” a recording by Dizzy Gillespie was always intriguing to me but not necessarily for the music. It had been released in the nineteen eighties a time when music albums were recorded on vinyl and the covers were works of art. “The Sextet” cover featured a painting of a six headed musician with a single huge body playing a small trumpet. It was and remains completely fascinating, mysterious and entertaining as an all time best transcendent illustration. This cover and the many creations of Brad Holland remain engaging and ever beautiful.
Holland was among the top contributors of that time and he continues to work and grow in achievement and skill. I was becoming a fan of the great Holland and it was with other pieces that I began to recognize and treasure (especially those in Rolling Stone) and my fandom would be cemented. Holland; truly ranks as a leader. He is recognized by the New York Society of Illustrators as a master. It is deserved.
Holland began a professional career with Hallmark Greeting Cards and went on to work for a number of magazines including Playboy, Time, Esquire and GQ. He has also worked with Peter Schjeldahl at Avant Garde Magazine and on the New York Times Op-Ed pages. Advertisements, book covers, portraits and posters are also among Holland’s eminent and varied repertoire. His book “Human Scandals” Is an amazing document and much prized by collectors. It consists of pen and ink drawings mostly of a political nature. Many memorable Holland drawings are featured in this collection. His style is uniquely original with reflections or comparisons to other artist/illustrators inevitable.
Goya, Dali, Millet, Daumier and his contemporaries Crumb and Levine echo in his work but Holland is his own man/artist. Holland’s work speaks so loudly for themselves that they virtually shout to the viewer. They can also speak with a nuanced elegance that has the ability to entrance. Do enjoy the works of Brad Holland and return to them often.