Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Earth Day, Ecology, and Ron Cobb/Art Hero
Originally I was just going to post this image. This sticker is still on the old art supply tackle box I used for school in the early '70's.
I was all set to just do a simple Earth Day post and thought, with all the talk of green these days, why don't you see the ecology symbol or flag any more? I always thought it was a cool flag so I thought I'd look it up for today's post. To my great surprise I found that the symbol was designed by one of my all time Art Heroes, Ron Cobb.
Ron Cobb's original design (October 25, 1969).
Here's what it says on Wikipedia: Ron Cobb created an ecology symbol and published on October 25, 1969, placing it in the public domain. The symbol was a combination of the letters "E" and "O" taken from the words "Environment" and "Organism", respectively. Look magazine incorporated the symbol into a flag in their April 21, 1970 issue. The flag was patterned after the flag of the United States, and had thirteen stripes alternating green and white. Its canton was green with a yellow Theta replacing the similar Cobb symbol. Theta was used because of its historic association with the Greek word “thanatos” (death), in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times; the symbol would later become associated with Earth Day.
I'm not buying that last part about theta, thanatos, and the skull and crossbones.
Old timers might remember this Ron Cobb album cover for the Jefferson Airplane (After Bathing at Baxter's 1967).
Ron is a great but little known artist. He's worked on Disney animation, underground cartoons, Famous Monsters magazine, and has designed sets, creatures, costumes, and hardware for a ton of films.
I have this long out of print (1981), book on Cobb's art. If your into art, try to find one.
LA Earthquake poster 1968. I remember seeing and digging this poster way before I knew who did it.
Here's a link to a bio: http://www.shimmerytimbers.com/starticles01.htm
Ron's website http://www.roncobbdesigns.com/ is under construction but I found this back door link that has a time line of his work and contains a few gallery images:
To see more, I suggest doing a Ron Cobb Google image search.
Ron did the aliens in the Star Wars famous cantina scene.
List of notable films Ron has work on: Dark Star, Star Wars, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Special Edition), Conan the Barbarian, The Last Star Fighter, Back to the Future, The Abyss, The Rocketeer, True Lies, The Sixth Day, and Red Planet.
Preliminary art for the Back to the Future Delorean.
Our Legacy? Ron's concerns reached farther than just the planet.
I know this got a little off the topic of Earth Day or bikes but, it's a good reason to spread some info about this great but for the most part unknown Hero/Artist who's influenced our culture even more than I realized.
Ron's cartoons were always concerned with social and environmental issues.
Sometimes we forget, the planet isn't just ours.
Think Green. The planet you save may be your own!