Boak Who? May 2, 2009Posted by leskanturek in Student Post, Uncategorized.
Tags: Dick Boak, Martin Guitars art, pen and ink, Victoria Salvador
By Victoria Salvador
Dick Boak is a long time guitar builder who works for Martin Guitars. He’s currently the director of ‘Martin Guitar Artist and Limited Editions’, which is a series of beautifully crafted instruments that are uniquely made through collaborations. He is better known and famous for working for Martin Guitars, finding artwork of his from the 70s was not easy. I know of Dick Boak because I sit in front of his lithograph everyday at my desk, and yet- I have never chose to really explore his work. His pen and ink drawings as well as his lithographs are impressive, imaginative, and extremely detailed.
(Above) Elephants, 1976
Reading through an interview I found in Modern Guitars Magazine with Boak, I found out that graphic art was his original profession:
Modern Guitars Magazine: Life before Martin Guitar?
Dick Boak: I started out as an illustrator and art teacher. One of the teachers at the Blair Academy, a private school that has about 400 students, up in New Jersey, was having some difficulty reaching the right rapport with his students. They weren’t responding. He asked me to work with him in order to connect with the students better and that lasted for about two years.
* In the interview, Boak speaks about getting hired with Martin, was let go, and then asked to come back. He began illustrating again in his free time.
MGM: You returned…
DB: The guy who fired me kept it a bit of a secret. Fortunately, when everyone found out about it, they wanted me back. Frank Martin, his father “Mr. Martin” and his grandson Chris (Christian Frederick Martin IV) and the guys in the production shop didn’t know I’d been fired. While I was “on sabbatical”, I worked on an illustration of a D-28 and eventually published it. My artistic interest or specialty is to make very detailed, highly intricate drawings through a method artists call pointillism. I thought of it as hippie art, sort of San Francisco art nouveau.
Anyway, I was hired back during the strike and worked final assembly, and through the years I’ve worked in a lot of different areas at Martin, learning from the ground up.
(Above) D-28, 1977
Boak’s illustrations are distinctive in style and visually delicate. His line work is hair-line fine, and his use of pointillism is a complimentary contrast to his flat white backgrounds he employs. Looking over his work, I see a strong resemblance to M, C . Escher’s work, even if this was unintentional. His subject matter, symmetry, and attraction to illusions gives me this impression.
(Above left) Wheel Of Balance, 1974 by Dick Boak (Above right) Angels and Devils By M.C. Escher
(Above) The Vine of Harmonics designed by Boak. Ivory inlay on a 12-string Cutaway Martin. The harmonic locations of the strings on the frets are marked by the vine pattern