I just got an email from Russell from Designers & Books. In October they launch a Kickstarter to re-publish Depero's Bolted Book. So, nothing really important then. (Oh my god! They want to re-publish the Bolted Book!).
We were researching illustrators recently, for a project we might be working on. Can't say much about the actual project but it could be amazing. While I was digging around, I remembered Eyvind Earle.
Artist, author and illustrator, you might know Earle's work for Disney from around the 50s; he worked on background illustrations and styling for things like Sleeping Beauty.
Earle died in 2000 but he left behind a stunning legacy of artwork. You can see lots of it here and watch a revealing autobiographical video. I think it's his serigraphs (screen prints) that are the most remarkable. Astonishing work.
The latest book of Nigel Peake's labourious drawings is a story book. In The Dark is a sombre story although it's not until you get to the very end of the book (unless you've cheated and taken a sneaky peek) that a rather subtle explanation is suggested; the drawings (and I presume the narrative) were completed over two consecutive winters; one spent in Austria and the other in Switzerland.
The story takes a boy on a slightly spooky journey through and beyond the woods; a journey that leads, ultimately, to an enlightening experience (I won't spoil it for you). But there's a bleakness to the story and the monochrome drawings that, perhaps, is not surprising given the regions in which the story was rendered…or maybe that's just Peake for you. Either way, having only enjoyed Peake's art before, it's great to see written narrative joining his linework.
I See The Promised Land is the graphic-novelisation of the life of Martin Luther King JR and is published by South Indian independent press Tara Books. With prose from African American writer and griot Arthur Flowers and beautifully illustrated by Patua scroll artist Manu Chitrakar, the comic-like format does nothing to undermine this harrowing account of the Civil Rights Movement's rise.
In fact, the colliding traditions – the relatively modern graphic novel format and the ancient African form of oral storytelling – bring the story to life in a way that feels new and relevant.
The peaceful land of Punctuation is filled with tension overnight
When the stops and commas of the nation call the semi-colons ‘parasites’
In 1905, German poet Christian Morgenstern wrote a poem, In the Land of Punctuation. It told of an escalating fracas between certain marks and the bloody battle that ensued. It's a grim (and witty) tale.
Now translated into English by Sirish Rao and brilliantly illustrated by Rathna Ramanathan, Morgenstein's poem has a whole new lease of life thanks to Tara Books.
Tara Books is a publishing co-operative in Chennai, Southern India. A group of writers, designers and artists, they produce beautiful books for both adults and children. Often politically or socially driven, Tara is a fierely independent group dedicated rich content.
Fingerprint, for example, is both surprising and impressive:
When designer and artist Andrea Anastasio visited the United States some years ago, he was fingerprinted (like everyone else) by the airport immigration authorities. This moment — both banal and ominous — stayed with him until it worked its way into his art. The result is Fingerprint, a visual fable that celebrates resistance to state surveillance and control. The artist’s fingerprints, screen printed onto the pages of the book, create progressively complex patterns and sequences, transporting the fingerprint from the world of forensics and law into the freeing world of art and imagination.
Screen printing the book makes each fingerprint feel like the artist has applied his inky fingers to each leaf; prints stand off the sheet just enough. And where they are overlayed you can literally feel the build up of colour. But as the synopsis suggests, the pages tell a story. At first, one of oppression as a single black fingerprint becomes gradually overwhelmed by others but as the book progresses a more optimistic sense develops. A brighter future.
It's a beautiful, appropriately tactile and thought provocing book.
Wood & Pulp is a Brooklyn-based exhibition of new work by Scotty Albrecht and Damion Silver. Featuring collage, assemblages and works on paper, the collection shows, "…intricate use of found objects and carefully wrought wood and paper". The work of both artists display a strong influence of their design backgrounds. It's Albrecht's work you can see here but take a look at their individual websites for more from both.
I think it must have been during Thursday morning that someone tweeted a link to an Alexander Chen Google Glass video experiment. I'm afraid I can't remember who it was. The video was pretty cool but I got completely distracted by these two other pieces Chen created. Chen is a Creative Director at Google Creative Lab in New York. You can read a full bio here on his site.
Baroque.me (2011) by Alexander Chen.
Baroque.me visualizes the first Prelude from Bach's Cello Suites. Using the math behind string length and pitch, it came from a simple idea: what if all the notes were drawn as strings? Instead of a stream of classical notation on a page, this interactive project highlights the music's underlying structure and subtle shifts.
Conductor (2011) by Alexander Chen.
Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA's actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli's 1972 diagram.
Issue three of GF Smith's Naturalis Works series, designed by StudioMakgill, is all about experitmentalist duo Based Upon:
Based Upon was founded by twin brothers, Ian and Richard Abell. They had long felt the instinctive desire to work together on something important, and when they chanced upon an undiscovered material, their destined collaboration presented itself. They heard about Liquid Metal, a substance that had been developed by an Australian company. It was being used and marketed as a skin to mimic metal, but Ian and Richard saw it through very different eyes. To them, its potential as a creative medium was fascinating.
I'm pretty sure it's the last in the series, which is a shame; each has been great in both design and content. GF Smith's website explains them all.