Sep 302009
Authors: Kelsey Schuler

Three artists, two of whom are CSU professors, will speak tonight at Morgan Library First National Bank gallery in tribute to world-renowned Japanese graphic designer Shigeo Fukuda as part of the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition.

Twenty of Fukuda’s posters, which commonly illustrate anti-war and advocacy messages through simplicity, will be on display throughout the gallery. Fukuda’s work is accompanied by 11 other posters from fellow Japanese artists: Maskazo Tanabe, Shuzo Kato, Kazumasa Nagai and Yoshiteru Asai.

CSU’s Art Department hosts the CIIPE every two years to give talented world artists a forum. For the 16th biennial, CIIPE co-directors Bob Coonts, John Gravdahl and Philip Risbeck chose to honor Fukuda’s life — which ended on Jan. 11 as the result of a stroke — by displaying his inspirational works of art.

Event attendance and refreshments are free and open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. Reception coordinator Jane Barber said everything edible is free and that the story of Fukuda’s achievements, lifestyle and bold poster art is a worthwhile reason to attend.

While visitors mingle and analyze the art, Risbeck will give his keynote speech in which he will describe Fukuda’s life journey as an artist and what significant role he played in the art world.

“The satellite exhibition featuring ‘Shigeo Fukuda and his Circle’ focuses on Fukuda’s remarkable career as the most innovative and artistic poster artist of his time,” Risbeck said. “(Fukuda contributed) innovations that involved simple, clear concepts, subtle humor and visual illusion.”

A group of art majors said Fukuda had the gift to make something so original and meaningful in one design, and that his idea to create optical illusions and bold engaging posters took real dedication and passion.

“My favorite poster of his is of a fist woven in with barbed wire,” sophomore graphic design major Emily Witters said. “This poster represented Amnesty International. You would never know it until you completely knew the whole story. His art comes off simple, but meaningfully complex.”

During the evening, Gravdahl will explain the importance of poster art and its role in society. He will also elaborate on how Fukuda transformed that role.

After the event, Fukuda’s poster art and work of his contemporaries will be displayed in the main exhibit Oct. 3 to Dec. 22 in the University Art Museum in the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington Street.

Staff writer Kelsey Schuler can be reached at

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