I'm going to try something for a while and see if it gets annoying. There's a load of stuff back there in the Ace Jet Archive. I love going through it every now and then. Like these superb Dutch stamps. Well worth re-visiting. Well, I think so anyway.
I don't know if anyone remembers but a while back Michael Russem from the Kat Ran Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sent me the rather marvellous Eric Gill, Notes on Postage Stamps that revealed (well, OK, maybe just hinted at) Gill's fundamentally bad attitude to the commissions presented to him.
Michael's done it again. This time sending Postage Stamps by AIGA Medalists. It's a fascinating review of some of the most interesting winners from the last hundred years or so. It includes such luminaries as Lucian Bernhard, Dwiggins, Lester Beall, a collaborative set involving Herb Lubalin, Josef Albers, Armin Hofman, a stunner from Thomas Geismar, my personal favourite from Herbert Bayer…the list goes on…Chermayeff, Glaser, Bass.
We ate a lot of mackeral over the summer. Way back at the end of July Noah and I climbed aboard Quinton Nelson's Motor Boat, The Brothers, and ventured out from Donaghadee Harbour to pit our combined wits against a shoal of the slippery silver blighters. And just like lasts year's more corporate expedition our superior intelect won out bagging twenty nine. Quinton's fish tracking sonar might have played a small part too I guess.
The adventure was recorded on Instagram in more pictorial (and gory) detail. A surprising aspect of the trip though was the spooky mist that discended upon our return to shore, at the time I wrote, "…It made the water inky black and shrouded the few boats moored by the jetty in grey cloud so their colours seemed more vivid than normal". The photos below capture it to a certain extent…and there's a few more on Flickr.
Hidden for fifty years, over one hundred examples of pamphlet cover art from Ireland's Catholic Truth Society are brought together between the covers of Vintage Values, a new book from Veritas Publications in Dublin.
Printed between 1920 and 1960 the pamphlets covered the essential, thorny issues of the day like, "Should my daughter be a nun.", "Modesty and Modernity", how "Nobody Loves a Tease" (nobody!) and the moral dilemma of how to respond should one find oneself in the company of The Wishing Gnome. And let's face it, who hasn't? Bloody wishing gnomes.
If that wasn't enough the CTS considered it their spiritual duty to protect their kind even further, publishing instructions outlining the correct way to respond to a Jehovah Witness, when he or she comes a'knocking at your door, how to survive when an agnostic moves to your village and what happens when Sister Felicitas wins a bicycle.
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.
Forgotten summer type. From that day in Italy when we took the train from Lucca to Florence and we all sat down in our seats and Karen turned to me and said, "I'm feeling a bit peckish", expecting me to pull out a snack when in fact I hadn't earlier shouted, from one to room to another, that, "yes, I have packed the crackers", but had in fact said, "yes, I have packed the plasters", and we all looked at each other and our four stomachs rumbled in unison as the train rattled along the tracks – the city and its snacks an hour or so ahead of us.
The new library in Birmingham opened in September. It looks pretty good. Loads of photos here. And there's a thing from BBC Radio 4 here featuring the architect. The old one (pictured here) was famously described by Prince Charles as looking more like a place to burn books than read them. I can remember loving that place. It felt special. It felt important. There's talk of tearing it down now but not everyone sees the necessity; there are other people that love that brutal building. A lot of them can be found hanging around here or on Twitter at @keeptheziggurat.
If you're a fan of architectural brutalism show your support.