About Jayme Odgers

“In the late 1970s, during a transitional time in graphic design history, Art Center grad Jayme Odgers helped establish a new look for California design, dubbed The Pacific Wave. His collaboration with April Greiman introduced the Postmodern ethos to graphic design—a marriage of fragmented, object-based photographic collage and asymmetrical typography that set the stage in the brief pre-digital moment for the digital age.
Odgers is an historical figure.”

-Steven Heller, art director, journalist, critic, author, and editor
who specializes in topics related to graphic design.

Jayme Odgers - Artist

About Jayme Odgers

“In the late 1970s, during a transitional time in graphic design history, Art Center grad Jayme Odgers helped establish a new look for California design, dubbed The Pacific Wave. His collaboration with April Greiman introduced the Postmodern ethos to graphic design—a marriage of fragmented, object-based photographic collage and asymmetrical typography that set the stage in the brief pre-digital moment for the digital age. Odgers is an historical figure.”

-Steven Heller, art director, journalist, critic, author, and editor who specializes in topics related to graphic design.

Jayme Odgers - Artist

As an artistic-driven youth in the copper mining-rich, yet cultural wasteland of Butte, Montana, I’ve been a misfit never fitting neatly into any particular category. This early outlier status set me off on a life-long search for my authentic self, a seeker always pushing visual boundaries, wondering what if, forever restless, never settling down. Simply put, I see images in my mind that I need to make real by whatever means available to me. This seems to continually propel me forward.

The pre-digital, commercial work I did between 1962 and 1986 resisted categorization by typical commercial design standards. The work blurred the boundaries between graphic design, typography, photography, illustration and collage—I refer to them as blendos. The techniques I used to produce my work back then became the same techniques used today in the digital age of Photoshop

AWARDS AND COMMENDATIONS

Jayme Odgers is a painter and graphic designer. With a B.A. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Jayme is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship to Switzerland and over one hundred awards of excellence in graphic design. He became Paul Rand’s assistant from 1964 to 1966. Odgers was also selected to create an official poster for the 1984 XXIIIrd Olympiad held in Los Angeles along with such distinguished artists as David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jonathan Borfosky, and John Baldessari.

His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Art, Arco Center for the Visual Arts, The Albright Knox Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with inclusion in the permanent collections of the The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City, The White House in Washington, D.C., and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Numerous books and articles have included Odgers’ work, most significantly The 20th Century Poster. Design of the Avant Garde (Abbeville Press, New York), POSTMODERISM, Style and Subversion 1970–1990 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2102. His work is included in the latest Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers by Thames & Hudson and Megg’s History of Graphic Design. His most recent inclusion is in Freehand, New Typography Sketch Books 2018 by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico.

In 1968, I realized my interest in commercial work was seriously waning, I was utterly exhausted from showing my work or even looking at it. I wasn’t sure why. The final straw came when I went to New York to get work. I stopped by Columbia Records to show my portfolio. The art director studied my work in silence then turned to me and said, “So you’re the one.” The one, I asked? 

“I look at portfolios all day long, I see so much work that looks like this sprinkled throughout the various portfolios, what’s different about your work is that every piece is absolutely consistent, I can easily see you're the one who’s responsible for this look. Your problem is I can hire 20 younger people right now who can do this work at half the price I’d have to pay you.” I knew at that moment my time in the commercial work was done, that was a death knell.

I was obligated to do a double page spread for the Pacific Wave exhibition catalog for the Fortuny Museum show. I just couldn’t show my work for the thousandth time so I decided to do my “Swan Song” for my commercial art practice, my final rebellious act.

 

I wrote a requiem to myself and illustrated it in the catalog:

“In a Universe of ups and downs

The Cosmic Mother tosses the seed (earth)

Into universal play

 

Primordial stone beginning

Pointing The Way

The flower of flowerings

 

Doorway of heaven

Doorway of light

The path of Freedom.

 

Good Fortune.”

 

In writing this requiem it became clear to me why I could no longer do commercial work, I was starved for my own freedom. The “Swan Song '' piece for Pacific Wave’s was my last commercial act, it’s clearly a transition piece to making my own personal work in the search for freedom. I realized I’d rather have less money and be free than have money and be caged. The price for freedom is high—but worth it to me. As of this writing that was thirty-five years ago, I’ve never looked back.

 

MY SWAN SONG