Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ghost Army Camouflage

Some years ago, artist Dennis Bayuzick, a friend who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, sent me the complete set of fifty US postage stamps, called Birds and Flowers of the Fifty States (issued 1982). I've held on to them all these years, never suspecting that they were co-designed by illustrator and World War II camoufleur Arthur Singer and his son Alan. (There is an online interview with Arthur and Alan Singer about the stamps at this YouTube link.) It was the elder Singer who also illustrated a well known bird identification book (of which I have long owned a copy), titled Birds of North America, as well as twenty other books. During the war, he was a member of the Ghost Army (603rd Engineers Battalion), a top-secret deception unit. Author and filmmaker Rick Beyer is currently working on a film that will document the achievements of that military unit, including such famous participants as fashion designer Bill Blass, artist Ellsworth Kelly, illustrator Arthur Shilstone, and photographer Art Kane.