Illustrations with a Twisted Take on 1950s Advertising

These playful illustrated prints will bring some cheer to your Monday. Ben O’Brien’s “Twisted Fifties” series caught our eye with their warped sense of humor and colorful illustration. O’Brien’s tongue-in-cheek series poke holes in the idealized world often portrayed in 1950s advertising. With a fun, “twisted” approach, these prints show stylized women engaged in some ridiculous (or awesome) behavior.

"Lighting -Up"

“Lighting -Up”

I asked O’Brien to speak to his work a bit, and this is what he had to say:

I started the Twisted Fifties artworks as an homage to the fantastic illustration work seen in 1950s advertising but, at the same time, taking an ironic view on the ‘oh so perfect’ culture sold in advertising with the added ‘twists’.

Most of my artwork plays with bold colors, and the Twisted Fifties prints are no different.  I like the color to bring the initial impact, but then the twist to be a little more subtle for the audience to see moments later.

"Death by Chocolate"

“Death by Chocolate”

With their bold colors and dimension, the “twist” in these 16 prints is a bit more subtle. For example, the cheerful woman above uses her lighter to start a Molotov cocktail, but the first thing you might notice is that pleasant smile or bright jacket. And it takes a minute to notice that the provocative women in “Death by Chocolate”  was taken out by some ice cream cones, as your eyes are drawn to the contrasting colors first.

"Ball and Chain"

“Ball and Chain”

Get organized for the new year, with the Twisted Fifties 2014 Calendar  that includes these “cheeky illustrations” along with some new ones. O’Brien and his fun illustrations remind us to keep things “twisted” every day.


poster design competition 2013Don’t forget to enter your funny or not-so-twisted poster designs in the HOW Poster Design Awards by December 2.