Published March 25, 2010 by Molly
Christoph Niemann’s illustrations are one-shot poems. You wouldn’t think it’d be possible to pack so much meaning / delight / humor into such simple images, but you’d be wrong. Niemann’s blog for the New York Times is called Abstract City, and it offers a running visual commentary on all things metro.
Published February 25, 2010 by Molly
The thing about collage is that anyone can do it, but few can do it well. The crucial thing is to balance artful non sequiturs with a kind of coded story, balancing visual with narrative interest. Mary Virginia Carmack is a master of the medium, crafting gorgeous enigmas from paper cut-outs. We detect a hint of Man Ray and a killer sense of color, but mostly a sensibility original enough to turn each image into an illustrated dream.
Published February 24, 2010 by Molly
Ephemera Assemblyman is exactly what it sounds like and four times as cool. Curated by a twenty-six year old Californian named Joel, the website is a repository of well-chosen, odd and beautiful images images posted with tidbits of information designed to tease out their subtleties.
What sort of image, you ask? The kind of image that looks like it emerged from between the pages of a university library book that hasn’t been checked out in sixty years and stands gathering dust in the stacks. Or maybe the kind of image dug up in a box in the attic, or acquired on eBay or…who knows? That’s sort of the point. Joel excavates the images so that you don’t have to.
Among the best include illustrations from The Annotated Dracula, the collages of Wilfried “Sätty” Podriech, Slovenian film posters (above), theater posters, hypnotist posters, avant-garde stationary, and Russian Revolutionary periodicals. But honestly, you could spend hours tooling around the site. Be a pal and share it with your friends.
Published December 1, 2009 by Graham
Clearly, the colors that Peter Burr uses are alarming. Perhaps it’s because they’re warning you about the difficulty of extracting the razor-sharp hooks of Burr’s mesmerizing art out of your delicate retina. Whether he’s animating, puffy painting, collaging, or music-making in his cell phone grunge group Hooliganship, Burr goes all out, producing work so violently chromatic and beautifully blatant, it loops all the way back around to the realm of the the exquisitely subtle.
Check out some of Burr’s animated work on either excellent volume of the Cartune Xprez DVDs.
Published October 19, 2009 by Molly
Some artists make pictures; some artists create a visual universe that is unmistakably theirs. Guess which category Valero Doval falls into. Born in Spain, Doval studied in Valencia and relocated to London to continue his work, which ranges from Volkswagen and Paul Smith commissions to collages of bird-plane hybrids.
His output is as varied as his clients. Typical Doval subjects include zeppelins, ghosts, pets, and haunted houses––none of it rendered in any form you’ve seen before. With a visual allegiance to geometric forms and rich color, Doval’s work escapes the curse of cutesiness that can attend pet-themed art–yet still manages to have an adorable aspect to go with its visual punch. Always a balancing act, as they say.
Published August 31, 2009 by Molly
No survey of classic kid’s book illustrators would be complete without Eric Carle, whose best-known work The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 29 million copies since it was published in 1969. Wowza!
Like all stellar children’s illustrators, Carle’s work is colorful, ingenious and recognizable at fifty paces. The artist layers hand-painted papers to form his signature collages of pandas, frogs, cats and bears. The most memorable aspect of Carle’s work, however, is not exactly an aesthetic value. More than any other illustrator, Carle fills his work with love and warmth––qualities as magnetic on the page as they are difficult to capture.
Born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York to German immigrants, Carle recalls tramping through the woods with his father and examining the wonders of nature, a feeling he tries to recapture in books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Normally when you love something dearly––a song, a painting, a pair of pants––and find out that millions of other people feel the same way, a certain sense of intimacy with the product is lost. Part of Eric Carle’s magic is that this is never the case with his books. No matter how many copies of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear make their way across the globe, all the joy and love of Carle’s inventions remain firmly intact.
Best of all? Carle keeps a delightful blog for those seeking a bit of his magic on the internet.
This is part four of a series about classic children’s book illustrators. Previous subjects include Richard Scarry, Clement Hurd and Tomi Ungerer.