Before working on an actual piece of a person sitting in a kitchen chair and surrounded by artefacts from the 1950s, I researched some other patterns that would add more details to the scene, like tapestry, sewing patters for pettycoats and some kitchen accessories, and lamps as well as popular women’s hairstyles. I also looked at illustrations of 1950s scenes – which to me most often look like old-fashioned advertisments. See some examples here, here or here. Especially one and two only  show a part of a kitchen scene, but still are able to convey the 1950s atmosphere through the items, style of clothing, etc. So at one brief glance you are taken back in time.

I decided to try a similar approach to this advertisment, i.e. not cover the whole kitchen, but only a part of it, adding more kitchen equipment than in the previous scene I created, some typical 50s tapestry, and draw a person with a 50s dress. I decided to use this particular angle to add some dynamics to the piece – basically the kitchen counter and the floor divide the picture – and also cut things like the window for a more interesting view. My idea was to show a housewive in the kitchen, having a cup of coffee, after making a cake (that is now getting ready in the oven). Hence the kitchen appliances are still on the kitchen top. It is her time to take a breath, and relax briefly before the kids come back from school, and the husband returns home.

To convey the “modern times” I used bright colours because I think they are iconic for the time, and added typcial patterns like on the tapestry and curtain. The woman has a 1950s dress and hairstyle. I like this style a lot, also because I am a lindy hop dancer (something I do in my leisure time and where I take a lot of inspiration from – more details to follow). Lindy hop is danced to swing music starting in the 1920s, but also from later decades, 30s, 40s, and 50s, etc. (e.g. Ray Charles) so the music from the 1950s is very powerful and bouncy, and in a way similar to the colourful kitchen I tried to create here.

1950s kitchen illustration
1950s kitchen illustration

Looking back, also at the first scene that I did, I feel that this illustration and composition works better. The diagonal lines add some dynamic to the picture that lead the viewer into the scene from the top left. They can then observe the various kitchen items and make note of the typcial patterns, and take in the key idea of the image (housewives enjoying a cup of coffee in her kitchen), which is in focus. However, I feel that it might be somewhat to bright, and the person appears to be a bit lost in the  overall picture. I consider creating another piece that has a larger focus on the person – similar to the adverts I looked at, and that uses elements of this second piece like the tapestry, some kitchen items etc.

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