Homeless in Vancouver: Wallpaper from the 1977 HoJo I stayed in!

    1 of 5 2 of 5

      It’s true, when I was growing up in the 1970s, wallpaper and carpets in commercial buildings—hotels, motels, fast food restaurants—often featured garish repeating patterns, just like the painting I found on a the lid of a recycling blue bin yesterday.

      The trend continued well into the early 1980s. 

      Check out the famous carpet in the Overlook hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining.

      I don’t know what excuse a Fairview resident had for painting wallpaper but nearly 50 years ago everyone’s excuse was a design style dating back to the 1960s called Supergraphics, which used bold colours and geometric forms to make oversize environmental-design statements.

      Oh no, it's all coming back to me now

      This style naturally had an influence on my own graphic design—it was everywhere when I was growing up.

      No one ever had to explain the rules to me. I just knew that true Supergraphic elements could only be contructed using a straightedge and a compass—no higher geometric forms such as ovals or Bézier curves.

      We all had French curves back in those days—they stayed in the drawer.

      Largest of four French curve templates every commercial illustrator owned into the 1990s.

      I could only imagine painting such designs as part of cathartic therapy but in the truth the design conceits of the 1970s are fashionably retro these days, with e-commerce websites entirely devoted to modern reproductions of 1970s wallpaper.

      Fondue sets and appliances in harvest colours can’t be far behind.

      Apropos of nothing, the Supergraphics style, which was a major influence on all graphic design for some 20 years, has no Wikipedia entry—I thought everything had a Wikipedia entry.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.


      We're now using Facebook for comments.


      S H

      Jul 27, 2014 at 5:13pm

      I instantly think of the game "Twister," or maybe one of vests or shirts from the Brady Bunch.

      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jul 27, 2014 at 6:43pm

      Maybe it's a kind of Rorschach test. Another commenter said the first thing they thought of was olives in a martini.