I don’t know how you can look at an illustration by Harry O. Diamond (1913-2003) and not smile. There is something so engaging about them in their almost primitive simplicity that make you feel as if you are viewing the work of a bright and imaginative child rather than a grown professional artist. And therein lay the genius of Harry O. Diamond. A brilliant artist and graphic illustrator, Diamond was much sought-after for his clever and insightful illustrations throughout the 1940’s-50’s and beyond with his work gracing a wildly diverse range of books from famous cookbooks by Helen Brown and James A. Beard to Mr. Klein’s Kampf or His Life as Hitler’s Double, an endless array of advertising art and countless magazine covers.
In the 1950’s, the editors of Westways wisely engaged Diamond, who was an L.A. native and Chouinard Art Institute graduate, to do a series of covers for them, that at least in my humble opinion, rank among the magazine’s very best, which is saying a great deal when you consider the amazing aggregation of talent that has lent itself to the illustrations of Westways over the last century.
Today, more than a half century after they were created, the Westways cover art of Harry O. Diamond remains as fresh and modern as ever, capturing the wonder of a world seen through the eyes of a child, a child that no matter how old we may become, can still be found somewhere within us. And that never goes out of style.
Try, just try and not smile as you look at the following. Enjoy!