Roaring through the Twenties

I didn’t plan it, but in an abstracted moment, something happened to me. I was noodling around with some bold geometric abstractions with a sweeping organic curve, and hey-presto, there arose another kind of imagery, organically if you will, from the illustrations I was making. Their loose, zingy energy immediately made me think of the Jazz Age, all youthful impatience and catchy rhythms—of skinny collegians with megaphones, top hats piled up in the cloakroom at a speakeasy, and slick-haired tenors piping from scratchy gramophones to lure heedless girls with pin-curled bobs out onto the dance floor. Pay no mind, as you read, to the nonsensical text and the slippery grammar—after all, the sort of brash youth I’m picturing would’ve been exhorting their mates with that madcap urgency that preceded the crash of ’29, probably with a cigarette holder wedged in the teeth, and possibly fueled by a G&T or two. If you can let go of your suspenders just long enough, jump on in and do the Charleston along with the rest of ’em.

Digital illustration: Jazz Age 1

Just A Little Jazz-ma-Tazz

When you feel yer feet a-tappin’ and your hands just get a-clappin’

Somethin’ grand’s about to happen:

Just a little jazz-ma-tazz—

If the week was long an’ weary and your eyes are gettin’ bleary,

Time to let it go, ma dearie,

With a little jazz-ma-tazz—

Take a sip o’ somethin’ chilly, knock yer elbows willy-nilly

And don’t worry if it’s silly,

‘Cause it’s only jazz-ma-tazz—

There’ll be time enough tomorrow for ol’ tiredness an’ sorrow;

If you’re empty you can borrow

Joy from jumpin’ jazz-ma-tazz—

So get up an’ quit yer waitin’ and yer heavy hesitatin’

And begin the celebratin’

With a little jazz-ma-tazz—

Get yer sleepy feet a-tappin’ and your hands awake an’ clappin’—

Somethin’ grand’s about to happen:

Spark a little jazz-ma-tazz!Digital illustration: Jazz Age 2Don’t forget to pick up your boater or cloche as you leave, and don’t blame me if your heels are howling in the mornin’.


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