American illustrator Charley Harper was born on a West Virginia farm in 1922. He chose to become an artist and enrolled in the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he studied colour theory with none other than Josef Albers, the Bauhaus painter who was visiting the USA at the time.
Harper became a commercial illustrator and soon became bored. He moved away from realism, claiming that "it doesn't reveal anything new about the subject". He explored clean, two-dimensional shapes with simple lines, all without perspective. Drawing on cubism and other modern trends, his illustrations are done in a style he called "minimal realism". Curiously, despite this simplification, the birds are recognizable.
In addition to his work as an illustrator of magazine articles in the 1940's and 50's, he also illustrated numerous biology and children's books, working until his death at 83.
*This is not a toy