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Ave Pildas
Ave Pildas
Ave Pildas

Ave Pildas

Country: United States
Birth: 1939

Thank God I had a really good education. - Ave Pildas

Ave Pildas began his arts education as an architecture student, designing department stores, government and medical buildings. Before long, this path felt too conservative and constricting, so he changed majors to design. Creating products, packaging and graphics provided enough diversity, to seem like "complete freedom" at the time. Concurrently, Ave was designing exhibits, displays, graphics and publications for the Cincinnati Public Library. After studying at the University of Cincinnati and graduating from the Cincinnati Art Academy inn 1962, Ave headed east to Pittsburgh, where he worked designing collateral for U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Koppers, and Westinghouse. At Westinghouse he met renowned graphic designer Paul Rand.

With encouragement from Rand and well-known typographer Noel Martin, Ave traveled to Switzerland and enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeshule, studying typography and graphic design during the Cold War. As a student, he visited every country in Europe and parts of North Africa, often by car. It was at this time that Ave set the lofty goal of "raising the visual conscience" of the world, and, at the conclusion of his studies, accepted a position as assistant professor at Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, he has taught at Layton School of Art, Leicester Polytechnic in Britain, Cal Arts, Art Center College of Design, UCLA, USC, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, where he served as Chair of the Communication Arts Department. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Otis.

"Although Pildas was formally trained in Swiss design, he developed an early love for photography in the '60s when he photographed jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie for Downbeat Magazine," writes Mae Ryan of Southern California Public Radio/KPCC.

For over 50 years, Ave's been taking pictures of diverse subject matter. Many of his images of Hollywood Boulevard from the 1970s reside in the permanent collections of museums and libraries including LACMA and the New York Public Library. He has published three books: Art Deco LA, Movie Palaces, and Bijou, which was released in December 2016 by Nazraeli Press.

Ave Pildas provides a fascinating glimpse into how, over the span of four decades, the streets and people of Hollywood Boulevard have both changed and remained curiously the same, writes Haley Evans for Beautiful Decay Magazine.

In the studio, Ave is working on a still-life series based on circles, squares, and triangles, substituting geometric objects like pyramids, cubes, and spheres for the typical vase of flowers or table setting.

Outside the studio, Ave shoots "Paper Movies". These collages of multiple images are shot in public spaces and allow him to interact with passers by, encouraging them to participate with the photographer and the background. After collecting hundreds of photos, he edits them to tell a visual story, combining them into a single piece. He is also producing short, stop-action videos using still images from "Paper Movies" to promote the series. One of the videos, "Stairway to Heaven," assembled from images of a staircase at The Getty Museum, garnered 40,000 views in a week.

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As he wryly said, "My photographs don't go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues." After guest-editing the April 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Avedon quit the magazine after facing a storm of criticism over his collaboration with models of color. He joined Vogue, where he worked for more than twenty years. In 1992, Avedon became the first staff photographer at The New Yorker, where his portraiture helped redefine the aesthetic of the magazine. During this period, his fashion photography appeared almost exclusively in the French magazine Égoïste. Throughout, Avedon ran a successful commercial studio, and is widely credited with erasing the line between "art" and "commercial" photography. His brand-defining work and long associations with Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace, and dozens of other companies resulted in some of the best-known advertising campaigns in American history. These campaigns gave Avedon the freedom to pursue major projects in which he explored his cultural, political, and personal passions. He is known for his extended portraiture of the American Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war and a celebrated cycle of photographs of his father, Jacob Israel Avedon. In 1976, for Rolling Stone magazine, he produced The Family, a collective portrait of the American power elite at the time of the country's bicentennial election. From 1979 to 1985, he worked extensively on a commission from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, ultimately producing the show and book In the American West. Avedon's first museum retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962. Many major museum shows followed, including two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978 and 2002), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1970), the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (1985), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994). His first book of photographs, Observations, with an essay by Truman Capote, was published in 1959. He continued to publish books of his works throughout his life, including Nothing Personal in 1964 (with an essay by James Baldwin), Portraits 1947-1977 (1978, with an essay by Harold Rosenberg), An Autobiography (1993), Evidence 1944-1994 (1994, with essays by Jane Livingston and Adam Gopnik), and The Sixties (1999, with interviews by Doon Arbus). After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on assignment for The New Yorker, Richard Avedon died in San Antonio, Texas on October 1, 2004. He established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Source: The Richard Avedon Foundation Born in New York, Richard Avedon attended city public schools and Columbia University, and served in the photographic section of the merchant marines. He studied under Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research from 1944 to 1950, and became the elder designer's protégé. Avedon was a staff photographer for Junior Bazaar and then Harper's Bazaar for some twenty years, and became a staff photographer at Vogue in 1966. In 1994 he was the first staff photographer hired by The New Yorker. For a photographer whose roots are in publication work, Avedon has been exceptionally successful in museums as well. He was included in the 1955 landmark exhibition The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art, and has received solo exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many other institutions. Most recently, the Whitney Museum of American Art presented Evidence: 1944-1994, a career retrospective of his work, and the International Center of Photography organized Avedon Fashion 1944–2000 in 2009. In 1993, Avedon received the Master of Photography Infinity Award from ICP. Since the late 1940s--when Avedon's blurred black-and-white portrait heads were acclaimed for capturing the raw dynamism of youth--his photography has changed to reflect the style, energy and dynamism of the moment. He helped set the standard for sleek, urbane elegance in mid-twentieth century fashion photography, and his gift for highlighting the allure and drama of his subjects has made him one of the most iconic photographers of the late twentieth century. Avedon maintains that "a photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he's being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he's wearing or how he looks."Source: International Center of Photography
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