I was browsing the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) site, saw a poster for a Boeing related exhibition while cycling today, and stumbled upon an exhibition of one of my Product Design Diploma (mid 1980s at UNITEC) Tutor’s work.
Gifford Jackson taught us design drawing (a mixture of illustration, rendering and drafting) sharing his decades of experience working in the US (New York in the 1950s – 60s) and his own New Zealand practice. He was old school, everything by eye and hand, and used his incredible portfolio of maritime and industrial design drawings in the classes.
I remember a refined, elderly (to a teenager, although he was then in his mid-60s) and patient man who quietly inspired by example and entertained with stories from his amazing career. This included meeting, working with, US design icons like Donald Desky, Walter Dorwin Teague, Carl Otto, and Harold van Doren. For Kiwi design students they were people you just read about in textbooks.
Gifford died (aged 93) in 2015 but his life, and character, was captured in these 2013 interviews by Michael Smythe:
Gifford Jackson - Part 1 | culturalicons.co.nz | “There is a big difference between what we did and what the computer [based designers] do now”
Gifford Jackson - Part 2 | culturalicons.co.nz | “We [Designers] made a difference”
The exhibition is in the Walsh Memorial Library at MOTAT:
Discover just how close Auckland came to a world-class integrated public transport system in the 1970s. This exhibition, in the Walsh Memorial Library, tells the story of the Auckland Rapid Transit (ART) scheme through vivid illustrations by New Zealand’s ‘godfather’ of industrial design, Gifford Jackson.
Jackson was employed to develop concept drawings of the interior and exterior design of the ART locomotives and carriages. The ART project brought together a team of engineers, town planners and others to plan a rapid rail system – nicknamed ‘Robbie’s Rapid Rail’ after its staunchest supporter, Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. The ART system never eventuated, with the plans shelved in 1975 following a change in government.
More than forty years after the ART scheme was abandoned, works are now underway for the completion of Auckland’s first underground rail network – the City Rail Link.
The museum would like to acknowledge MOTAT volunteer Richard Croker for his generosity in donating the artworks. This is the first time an original rendering has been on display since Jackson created the works in 1974.
The Walsh Memorial Library is located at MOTAT 1 on Great North road. Open hours are Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Normal MOTAT admission fees apply.
Image: Gifford Jackson. (July 1974). Auckland Rapid Transit: Concept for train 124 and passenger platform. Richard Croker Collection, ART-2017-8.6. Walsh Memorial Library, Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Updated 2018-11-27: Russell Brown has some better images of Gifford’s ART work on Public Address The lost ART