Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Camouflage Artist | Arthur Singer

Birds of the Fifty States

There's a wonderful website called Singer Arts. It's all about the life and work of one of the best known American bird artists, a man named Arthur Singer (1917-1990). Even if people may not recognize his name, nearly everyone knows his work. He illustrated more than twenty books and bird identification guides, notably Birds of North America, and in 1982, he and his son Alan were commissioned by the US Postal Service to produce a two-set series of stamps, called Birds and Flowers of the Fifty States (shown here is the state bird series).

At the Singer Arts website, there is a 9-minute video interview of him with Charles Kuralt, numerous examples of his work, and a fairly detailed biographical page.

Oddly, it doesn't mention what may be Singer's greatest accomplishment: During World War II, he was recruited by the US Army to serve (with 1100 other men) in a top secret unit called the Ghost Army, aka 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. After arriving in Europe, they devised effective ways to deceive the German Army, using sonic and radio deception, visual camouflage, inflatable decoys and a mix of persuasive phony events. A major documentary film about this fascinating unit, titled The Ghost Army (produced by Rick Beyer), is nearing completion.