Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sequential Circuits Inc. advertisements / Mattos artwork round-up

Okay, my John Mattos infatuation is coming to a close.

For now... :o)

But, before I put it to bed, I thought that since he was, in my humble opinion, responsible for some of the most juicy, well-remembered synthesizer ads of the late 70s/early 80s, I would provide a few more yummy nuggets of Mattos info that I came across a while back.

And, who better to relay this info, but SCI themselves, through a
short article that appeared in the February 1982 issue of Sequential Circuit's newsletter/magazine called "The Patch" (Volume 2, Number 1).

The half page write-up appeared at the top of page 12 (the last page) of the newsletter, and gave readers an excellent introduction to John.

In addition, the article contains some wonderful historical reference information and is a must-read for hoarders of SCI promotional material, John Mattos' work, and heck, synthesizer historical information in general.

"Love your artwork..."

"Can I get posters?" "Who does all your stuff? It's terrific!" John Mattos does our "stuff," and we think it's pretty terrific, too. At 28, John is a phenomenal air brush artist whose works have drawn critical acclaim from the Western Art Directors Club and the Art Directors Club of New York.

Born in Modesto, John's first interests included horseback riding and music as well as art. At thirteen, he received his first award for art (a blue ribbon) at the Stanislaus County Fair, where he also won an award for equestrian dressage! Music captured his attention in high school and he played a Vox "Phantom" guitar with a group that performed at every prom from Stockton to Merced. "The band was popular because we knew the long version of 'Sunshine of Your Love,' and the real verses to 'Louise, Louie'!"

After high school, John majored in illustration at the Art Center College in Los Angeles and received his degree in 1975. His first "real" commission came from A&M Records for an insert in Rick Wakeman's album, "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur." John traveled in Europe for the next two years and worked as an illustrator in Paris. "I drew black and white rapidiograph (technical ink pen) pictures of men shaking hands, women in front of refrigerators, platters of food, grinning men with fistfuls of French money; horrible work but it prolonged my stay - two years of no air brush."

In 1978, John returned to California and took up residence in Palo Alto as a free lance artist. The Blank Design Group, then representing SCI, commissioned him to portray a multitude of sounds rising from a new instrument called a Prophet-5. This advertisement was entitled "Beware of False Prophets," which was later combined with gold lettering to become the "Earotic poster". John's next assignment was the Sphinx ad, "A Legend in its Own Time." This piece and all subsequent artwork has been commissioned directly by Sequential Circuits, and has appeared in Contemporary Keyboard, Musician Player and Listener, International Musician and Recording World, Music & Sound Output, Sound Arts, as well as SCI publications in the form of posters, decals, literature folders, and Christmas cards.

John's biggest contribution to SCI has been the personification of the Prophet synthesizers in the form of the Prophet Man. Originally seated on his "throne" ("The Prophet delivers" poster), the Prophet Man has taken off (reflecting the success of the instruments he represents) and has flown a bi-plane, a turbo-jet, and a rocket plane in the "Ear * Force" campaign. In 1982, we'll be launching him into space for some Extra Vehicular Activity with a Remote keyboard!"

Where do I begin? So much historical reference info!

Well, for starters, this article confirmed my research that the "Beware of False Prophets" and Legend In Its Own Time" artwork were among the first ads to be created by John. I initially couldn't find any info on the "The Prophet Delivers" poster also mentioned above, but then remembered the SCI merchandise ad that included a lovely gal wearing "The Prophet Jersey". Look at that image (bottom right corner of the ad) for what is probably the image from the poster.

And, how about that reference to Rick Wakeman's "King Arthur" album.

A quick Google Images search brought up the album page on the Audio Preservation Fund Web site, which includes some high resolution images of the inserts. A quick scan of the images didn't bring up the identifiable Mattos signature that can be found on his SCI artwork, but gatefold 1 and 2 (which make up one larger image) in particular looks fairly Mattos-ish. Especially the clouds. But, I could be totally off-base there. Just thinking out loud.

But, what I'm most interested in is the reference to Mattos artwork that was included in Christmas cards.

Does anyone know anything about these cards? Copies? Scans? Anything?

Seriously. I have never heard of these cards, and would love to see a sample.

One last thing. I thought I would also mention that you can view more of John Mattos' artwork on his Web site. Some great stuff there.

Also, I have created two new labels - one for MATTOS, and one for ARTWORK, so you can see even more great artwork done for SCI, Octave, Korg, and ARP.


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