Monday, April 24, 2017

Beautiful little things: Ben-Day Dots


I've become fascinated with the color printing process known as Ben-Day Dots.

I've been scanning in color cartoon images from old newspapers (1940s, 1950s) and when seen up close, they have their own kind of raw beauty. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)






Ben-Day Dots (developed in 1879 by a newspaper publisher by the name of Benjamin Henry Day, Jr.) is the technique artist Roy Lichtenstein became so famous for in his paintings from the early 1960s.

But if you look at Lichtenstein's paintings, he made everything nice and tidy. The paintings are crisp and neat; he colored inside the lines. His "Oh, Jeff, I love you, but..." is seen here:


I think the messiness of the original newspaper and magazine technique is even more beautiful, in its own unsophisticated way. You can see the technical aspect of the work, which becomes more pronounced the closer-up you look. When seen on the printed page, you don't notice how askew the coloring is. — Lars Trodson