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Patrick Nagel

Patrick Nagel was born in 1945 in Dayton, Ohio but was raised in Orange County, California. Nagel served in Viet Nam and upon his return he studied fine art at Chouinard Art Institute and California State University, Fullerton where he received his BA in 1969 in painting and graphic design. Following this he taught at Art Center College of Design while he worked to establish himself as a free-lance designer and illustrator. During his formative years he created memorable ads for Ballantine Scotch, IBM and covers for Harper’s magazine.

In the mid 70’s he began illustrating stories for Playboy magazine. His years working with Playboy lent to his unique style that was reminiscent of the work of pin-up artists from the 1950's. Taking a modern approach, he used this subject matter and style to illustrate the newly liberated woman.

Nagel was a leader of a new wave of illustration in Los Angeles in the late 70’s and early 80’s, re-imagining graphic arts and in the process, defining Los Angeles' visual arts scene. His work absorbed and represented the moment at hand – "from the fashion photography of Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton to influencing the look of music videos by David Bowie, Robert Palmer and George Michael, to creating the album cover art of Duran Duran."

"Nagel’s woman is complicated - which is the key to her subliminal appeal." The Women that Nagel depicted were a break from the image of the typical pin-up girl in that they were not 'women as objects', rather, they were intelligent, self-possessed and distant - they wanted attention but always remained in control. In this he reflected the changing role and perception of women in American society.

"His minimalist style defined an era with cool, seductive women that became the most iconic of any single generation."