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David Stone Martin

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Biography

David Stone Martin
Biography
Illustrator David Stone Martin was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, creating over 400 album covers. Much of his work spotlighted jazz, with his signature hand-drawn, calligraphic line perfectly capturing the energy and spontaneity of the idiom. Born David Livingstone Martin in Chicago in 1913, he later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career as an assistant to the social realist painter Ben Shahn, designing murals during the 1933 World's Fair. Martin spent the remainder of the decade as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served during World War II as an artist/correspondent for Life magazine. After returning to the U.S. he mounted a career as a freelance artist, landing advertising gigs for clients including the Disc Company of America, CBS Television, and Lincoln Center; in 1948, he also began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, followed in 1950 by a year at New York City's Workshop School of Advertising and Editorial Art. Martin entered music illustration through his longtime friendship with producer Norman Granz, designing label art for Granz's Verve, Norgran, Clef, and Down Home imprints as well as hundreds of now-classic cover paintings for acts including Count Basie, Art Tatum, Gene Krupa, and Lionel Hampton. Martin also created a series of designs for the pianist Mary Lou Williams, with whom he enjoyed a torrid affair. Martin's work has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and others. He died of pneumonia in New London, CT, on March 6, 1992. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi