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Pennington in the 1960s


BEFORE HE WAS FAMOUS . . .

THE EXAMPLES SHOWN BELOW are a small fraction of the portfolio works Pennington took around London during the Swinging Sixties. "What they clearly show" he says "is how typical of the era they were, with the very loose, even rugged style that was so popular in advertising and publishing at the time. They also made free use of photographic references, as was de rigueur among most artists of the day, especially in Pop Art."

These were very different to Pennington's later style with its "chromatic opulence and futuristic imagery" for which he became renowned.

After a brief spell in another agency in the late summer of 1966 (which didn't suit him at all), Pennington was "cast upon the turbulent ocean of self-employment" earlier than he'd planned.

Initially it was only modest local commissions that kept him afloat in the months of autumn and winter that year, but in the early spring of 1967, his portfolio suddenly paid off.

Panther Books were so impressed by its contents that they gave him his first book cover commission for Vladimir Nabokov's novel The Defense. This in turn led to three subsequent covers for Panther, as well as an illustration for a story in Mayfair magazine.

In the autumn his career as a primarily Science Fiction artist began with his first commission for Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein for New English Library who were, as with Panther, influenced by the works in his portfolio. From then on, he never looked back.

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