Hi! My name is Akber Ahmed and I’m an illustrator who currently lives in Berlin. Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved drawing something or the other. From the doodles, I made as a kid to the comics I drew as a teenager and movie posters I illustrated as a young adult.
When I look back I realize that there has always been one constant thread: my love for pop culture. From movies and music to historical world events, I have always been obsessed. In fact, growing up, my favorite book was ‘The Guinness Book of the 20th Century’.
A few months ago, I decided to combine my love for pop culture and history with my love for illustrations in a series I’ve titled ‘Decadent Decades’. It started with ‘The Roaring Twenties’, then ‘The Fighting Forties’ and most recent ‘The Swinging Sixties’. So without further ado, let’s take a trip back in time!
The Roaring Twenties
This decade in particular has always been very interesting to me as it was the period between the two wars and in many ways the events that took place during this time laid the foundation for the world we know today. Capturing all of this in one illustration was a great experience.
The construction of the Chrysler Building in New York begins. At the same time, Tutankhamun’s tomb is discovered. The Jazz Age is in a full swing!
Motion pictures begin to gain a hold on the public imagination offering Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, and the German Expressionist films of Fritz Lang. The Jazz Singer becomes the first film release with sound, opening up a world of possibilities. Hollywood is established with the famous sign and the first Academy Awards are held in 1929.
The Lost Generation was the name given to American writers, poets, and artists living in Europe. The popular Charleston dance swept the United States. Magritte paints The Treachery of Images.
The New York-based Doughnut Machine Corporation set its eyes upon foreign markets. Vladimir Lenin dies, Leon Trotsky is exiled from The Soviet Union to Turkey that is founded in 1923.
Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Spirit of St. Louis from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France.
Babe Ruth continued to break records as he played baseball for the Yankees.
Defining literature from the decade includes Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Kafka’s The Trial.
The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre resulted from the struggle between the Irish North Siders and their Italian South Side rivals, led by Al Capone, to control organized crime in Chicago during Prohibition.
The League of Nations is established.
With automobiles such as the Ford Model-A on the rise, traffic lights begin to be installed in major cities.
Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 signaled the beginning of the Great Depression.
The Ku Klux Klan flourished throughout America with its mission to maintain white supremacy.
Mondrian paints Tableau I in 1921, creating the style that would define him.
The Suffragette movement succeeded in getting women the right to vote.
The Fighting Forties
This decade was dominated by World War II and the tragedies that it brought including the first nuclear attack, an event that would forever change the world. Depicting the chaos of this decade in one illustration was not easy.