Sunday, 9 August 2015

Mike Hinge - 84th Birthday Anniversary - 155 - 158

9th of August 1931, Mike Hinge was born in Auckland, New Zealand. 

Remembering that today would have been Mike's 84th birthday.

I first came across Mike's artwork gracing the covers of Algol and Amazing Science Fiction from the 1970's. I live in the UK and growing up in that decade I was a fan of Doctor Who, Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars, Space 1999 a mixture of British and American popular culture but I didn't come across Mike's work at this time.  Fast forward to 1999, I am studying fine art at University. I had gone into a secondhand book shop for some research where I happened to look through a collection of science fiction books. I chose some books based on the covers and I soon realised that they were all by the same artist. The books were dated 1972 - 1975 bringing me back to the days of my fascination for science fiction. What struck me was the balance of detail and design, in particular the image of an abstract face in two colours juxtaposed against a composition of psychedelic coloured wires and silicon chips. I enthusiastically showed my book cover collection to everyone I thought might be interested. I wanted to know who Mike Hinge was and about his other work. It was the early days of the internet and it was very difficult to find any reference or any information, as there wasn't any. I was intrigued but I put the books aside. Some years later I sadly discovered an obituary published online; Mike had passed away August 2003. It was late 2009 that I discovered some of Mike's artwork was being sold on Ebay. One particular seller was selling several individual pieces. Seeing the artwork being split up I thought it would be best to keep as much of it together as possible. I contacted the seller and agreed a price for around about 150 pieces, all that he had left. I was excited to be getting some original artwork of Mike's and began to wonder how best I could share, store and display the collection.  I had missed out on an earlier larger sale of Mike's artwork that was carried out by Jane Frank, the executor of Mike's estate, where many of his major works had been sold. Throughout the years I have bought many other artworks and publications of Mike's published works. Some have been generously donated and some bought at special low prices.This blog Onyx Cube (named after one of Mike's Onyx posters) was started with the intent to catalogue and share my collection. Amongst the artwork, the most valuable contributions have been from many of Mike's friends (FOM's, Friends of Mike, as coined by Sanford Zane Meschkow). So many shared interesting storiesphotos and scans of which I could only dream of at the start. The Mike Hinge Reference website documents all of Mike's published works and of course includes the very first books I bought. Onwards and upwards.Now after all this time, I have had time to reflect and realise that my decision to collect is quite a serious undertaking as well as an enjoyable one. My wish is very much to continue as and when I can, building a collection of Mike's work and to have the collection properly recorded and archived.  Perhaps one day a Mike Hinge exhibition. 

Mike Hinge - Sunburner, cyanotype or blackline print, approximate size 48 x 61cm. Date early 1970's.

A rare Intergalactic Sunburner poster by Mike from the early 1970's, donated by Ron Williams' from his artwork archive.  Ron is an artist, designer, architect, author of "Building & Flying Indoor Model Airplanes" and co-founder of Onyx (Architectural Collective) further information on the Onyx website Ron initially became friends with Mike at Donald Deskey Associates where they worked together in the mid 1960's. Mike was also part of the Onyx collective and collaborated in poster designs that were published, exhibited and pasted around New York. The Intergalactic Sunburner is one of the Onyx posters. Ron told me that the poster was cyanotype or blackline print and volatile to bright light. I asked Ron if he remembered when the poster was printed and more about the printing process. Here is what Ron replied:"New York was covered with 'stat houses'  and 'printers', every few blocks there was a copy place in a basement, nook or cranny. Mike was introduced to the blacklines and bluelines at Deskey, but they were ubiquitous in the architectural world with delivery boys in and out of offices all day long. In office equipment was a no go because they stunk of the ammonia involved. The copies cost pennies.Stats were used to create negatives as a way of seeing, just like flips and mirror images. Everyone had a reducing glass to look at images, just to get another angle on what they were doing. The originals were almost always the same size as a black or blue line because they were drawn on translucent drafting paper. Date? ??? I couldn't say other than early 70s".
A reverse negative version of the Sunburner can be seen here.

Mike Hinge - Alitalia, Marker pen on paper. Approximate size 48 x 61cm. undated, unsigned.

The Alitalia art is from my initial purchase back in 2009. When I took the artwork out from its plastic sleeve, this time to scan, I was surprised and slightly overcome by some strong smelling, mind altering, fumes given off from the ink. What type of ink did Mike use that still has the power to overcome after all these years? And what would it have been like using the ink at the time? Maybe I am a bit oversensitive in these days of well ventilated health and safety response. The artwork is in two pieces the airplane is loose, separate and unstuck I have placed it where it is seen above, so it might not be it's intended placing. I have searched online many times to see if I can find a reproduced version but have yet to find one. 

Mike Hinge - Alitalia, pencil on tracing paper. Approximate size 15cm x 10cm. undated, unsigned.

Above is a preliminary drawing with a published newspaper cutting attached to it with paper clips. I looked on the back of the newspaper in hope of finding a date, but with no luck. 

Mike Hinge - Alitalia, pencil on paper. Approximate size 22cm x 15cm. undated, unsigned.

Queen Annes Revenge (QAR), Issue 1, 1964 - Front Cover illustration by Mike Hinge

Mike Hinge - Queen Annes Revenge, 

I recently acquired this fanzine with Mike's illustration on the front cover. I really like the design with the neat flap. The fanzine has 66 pages and also includes one other illustration by Mike to a poem by Walter Breen, (I will post the illustration and poem soon). The fanzine mentions that issue 2 will include further illustrations by Mike, however i'm not sure if issue 2 was ever published.

So more soon.