two Ballardian motifs

Books Rick Poynor considers whether what we understand to be Ballardian has as much to do with the book covers and other designs related to J.G. Ballard as his actual writing:
"Four covers published by Penguin in 1974 are among the most purely Ballardian images to be found on any of his books. David Pelham, art director of Penguin in the 1970s, designed them and created the airbrush illustrations. The Terminal Beach (first published in 1964), the strongest of the quartet in my view, unites two Ballardian motifs, the sand fused by weapons tests in the title story and the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki, standing here for all atomic weapons. Graphic design is a form of rhetoric and one reason this image works so well is that it has been realized so perfectly. Pelham’s illustration is grounded, like Ballard’s prose, in meticulously precise observation, but he has given this scene of becalmed destructive power an intensified, hyper-real quality, most obviously in the use of color."
The most interesting point is that as Ballard became an increasingly mainstream figure (due to the popular success of film adaptations and whatnot) the level of surrealism on his book covers decreased. As ever the very interesting and original is blanded in a desperate attempt to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

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