Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

14 FEBRUARY, 2011

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey

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Last month, we featured the whimsically macabre, Tim-Burtonesque work of mid-century illustrator Edward Gorey, who was an oddball character in his own right. Today marks the release of The Strange Case of Edward Gorey — an appropriately uncommon and colorful portrait of the eccentric artist by Gorey’s best friend, Alexander Theroux.

With his unique access to Gorey’s extraordinary wit, intelligence and creative genius, Theroux delivers a brief but lively read that’s equal parts loving memoir and fascinating cultural collectible.

It is a falsehood that Edward Gorey refused to give interviews. Nevertheless, to those acquainted with his hundred or so menacing little books, written as if by moonlight, the very thought of tracing out this eccentric artist (for Gorey was a solitary) might somehow have seemed to recapitulate to a nervous heart the monstrous dread felt in approaching the unholy chambers of the demented Ambrosio or the trap-doored of the satanic Caliph Vatek of the Abassides.” ~ Alexander Theroux

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11 FEBRUARY, 2011

The Universal Now: Vintage Book Plate Collages

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What London landmarks have to do with quantum physics and vintage photography.

Nearly two years ago, we looked at examples of exploring layers of the present through images of the past in Photographic Time Machine. In The Universal Now, UK artist Abigail Reynolds takes this approach to an entirely new, more conceptually elaborate and aesthetically sophisiticated level. She collects vintage tourist guides, then search for photographs taken from a similar vantage point and printed at similar scale. When she finds these matching book plates, she cuts and folds the pages into a single surface, arranging the images in chronological order based on the publication dates of the books, with the first serving as the “base” of the collage.

Tower Bridge 1946 / 1979

Piccadilly Circus New Years Celebrations 1951 / 1961

Sibelius 1985 / 1973

The Universal Now works operate as a resurrection of the unregarded book plates and forgotten photographers that have stood in the same places at a different times, bringing these moments into a dialogue and into the present.” ~ Abigail Reynolds

Big Ben 1935 / 1982

Post Office Tower 1989 / 1999

Waterloo Bridge 1948 / 1966

Olympic Stadium Tower 1951 / 1961

The Universal Now takes its name from the world of quantum physics and its debates about the nature of the time continuum, which only adds to the project’s thoughtfulness and conceptual merit.

More of Reynolds’ inspired work can be found in The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, a fantastic anthology you may recall from pickings past.

Thanks, Amy

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10 FEBRUARY, 2011

Saul Bass on Money, Quality Work & Creative Legacy

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We’re big fans of iconic designer Saul Bass. This triad of interviews, filmed shortly before Bass’s death in 1996, offers a rare peek at the machinery of his creative genius as he shares priceless and often unexpected insight on the tradeoff between making money and doing quality work, his legacy, and the fundamental competency responsibilities of young designers.

I don’t give a damn if the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it IS worth anything — it’s worth it to me. It’s the way I wanna live my life. I wanna make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.” ~ Saul Bass

Learn to draw! If you don’t, you’re gonna live your life getting around that and trying to compensate for that.” ~ Saul Bass

The full 90-minute documentary is available on 2-disc DVD from the filmmaker and designer Archie Boston’s site. Meanwhile, don’t miss Bass’s absolutely fantastic Why Man Creates animated feature, a deeper investigation into the origin of creative impetus.

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