Boris Artzybasheff's Machinalia illustrations

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has just posted a gallery of terrific illustrations from the 1950s by illustrator Boris Artzybasheff.
In his introduction to the section titled "Machinalia" in his book As I See, Boris Artzybasheff says, "I am thrilled by machinery's force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission. I like machines."


  1. Ok, wtf. Who wouldn’t want to see machines do the work instead of slaves?

    That being said, slick stuff.

  2. Artzybasheff is a much overlooked treasure. He left a legacy of amazing illustration. He’s also done a number of beautiful Time covers—More stuff here:

    Also “As I See” has fallen into the public domain, and before Titan brought it back, this guy was keeping it alive:

    he charges a little more, but his operation is worth supporting. He’s trying to keep a lot of long out of print illustration books available on an print-on-demand basis.

  3. any place I’ve worked or seen, there isn’t much anthro-animistic machine art. You go painting eyes on the excavator and one day you start thinking it’ll run itself or not hit you like a friendly draft animal. Or you start making sacrifices to it.
    Ships is different, them you want to take care of you.

  4. thanks Jed! You put a name to some of the images I’d stored and lost. Artzybasheff! In my mind, I’d ascribed a few to Escher. Thanks again.

  5. And, as I see from following Mark’s Amazon link, Artzybasheff’s As I See is coming back into print! Talk about burying the lede!

  6. This is great stuff. The machines are like . . . golems, maybe? Domestic animals?

    I particularly like the faces of the soaking pit covers, shown above.

  7. Other posters have mentioned both Escher and Woodring…those are exactly the two who came to mind when I saw this! Very cool.

  8. The book coming from Titan is the Ken’s Publishing version but properly printed instead of on-demand (colour laser).

    I reset the type for Ken before he shipped it off to Titan.

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