Differences in the BLAST issues

 I couldn't help but notice the initial visual experience that exists, even in an archived copy, of the first issue of BLAST. Lewis's obsession with pure, abstract energy is evident in his own vorticist artwork, the typeface of "Manifesto--I," and the cover design itself, whose offset block-letter "BLAST" screams off the hot-pink backdrop that seems to glow from its own radiating energy. 

However, much of Lewis' energy seems lost after the excitement of the first issue, both in content and the somber subject of the War itself. In his editorial, Lewis recognizes the effect of the war on Europe, but insists that "art should be fresher for the period of restraint." And although this issue has most of the same contributors, the lack of physical content alone shows their exasperated inability to keep up with the previous issue (with the exception of Lewis, who contributes a greater portion) but also in the more traditional typeface, and especially in the cover. Gaudier-Brzeska says it best in his "Vortex": "IT WOULD BE FOLLY TO SEEK ARTISTIC EMOTIONS AMID THESE LITTLE WORKS OF OURS." The drama in Europe, as this issue's contrast to the last shows, is not playing out on the artistic stage, but on the battlefield. As a result, BLAST's second issue cannot mimic the energy of the first, but instead adapts the aura of the era.


Do you think it was a conscious decision to tone down BLAST 2, or was that a circumstance of the War? Either way, it's interesting to think of Vorticism as an automatic or semi-automatic response to the social condition, its pre-war excess energy being co-opted into the War itself, leaving a more enervated second issue once the War is in progress.