BRIAN SANDERS: SELECTED WORKS: From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Mad Men

BRIAN SANDERS: SELECTED WORKS: From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Mad Men


Lever Gallery is delighted to present the first exhibition dedicated to the work of pioneering British illustrator Brian Sanders. 

A veteran of the golden age of magazine illustration and the co-founder of the Association of Illustrators, Sanders’ solo exhibition includes his trailblazing portraits for magazines such as The Sunday Times and Nova Magazine during the 1960s, his unprecedented illustration work on 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick up to his 2011 work commissioned by Matthew Weiner for series six of AMC’s Mad Men. Chronicling Sanders’ long and successful career the exhibition also includes previously unseen and unpublished artwork.

Brian Sanders rose to prominence in 1960s London, when magazine illustration was booming. The work was experimental and reflected the excitement of the ‘Swinging Sixties’, mirroring the fashion and music of this defining era. The medium was new, the compositions were off-kilter and the colours were brighter, sharper and more striking.  American illustrators had a huge influence on the style and work of their English counterparts, with the US artists using acrylic paint to create what was referred to as the ‘bubble and streak’ effect, initially developed by US masters such as Bernie Fuchs. 

Notable work from this period exhibited in the Lever Gallery exhibition includes Ho Chi Min, commissioned for the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine, 1970s tennis star Roger Taylor also for The Sunday Times, plus Sanders’ illustrations of Le Mans and his portrait of Sean Connery’s Bond set against Sanders’ own Aston Martin DB3. A series of portraits for influential Nova Magazine featuring famous figures and their foibles includes Warren Beatty, Noel Coward, Richard Nixon and Tony Benn.

In 1965, Sanders was commissioned by Stanley Kubrick to spend months on set with unfettered access during the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey to illustrate the film sets and scenes of Kubrick and his crew in production. Sanders would draw on the set two days per week and work on larger paintings in his studio. This was a rare occurrence, as Kubrick often worked with a closed set, and was the only person allowed to take photos on set. Much of this work by Sanders remained unpublished for decades.

When Mad Men series creator Matthew Weiner, inspired by the painterly illustrations of the 1970s TWA flight menus, wanted a nostalgic image to promote the sixth season of the acclaimed series, he turned to Brian Sanders to produce an illustration for the series six poster and DVD packaging. This captivating illustration was emblazoned across buses and billboards and propelled Sanders’ name back into the limelight in 2011. 

The London exhibition focuses on four areas of Brian Sanders’ archive; Bubble and Streak: 1960s Illustration and Bubble and Streak: Revisited (Mad Men), NOVA Portraits and 2001: A 
Space Odyssey. 

This show was made possible thanks to the enormous help and support of friends and supporters; 

Julia Martin-Wright, Main Titles, Showhow, Lisa Baker Ltd, Madoc ArchitectureAlan Williams

Filming of the Moon Pit Scene, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Brian Sanders , 1965

Filming of the Moon Pit Scene, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Brian Sanders, 1965Le Mans, 1963, Brian Sanders
Le Mans, 1963, Brian Sanders
Noel Coward, Nova Magazine, 1970, Brian Sanders
Noel Coward, Nova Magazine, 1970, Brian Sanders