Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

29 NOVEMBER, 2011

The Curious Sofa: A “Pornographic Horror Story” by Edward Gorey, 1961

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A naughty illustrated tale of mad mid-century matinees.

I have an epic soft spot for Edward Gorey, mid-century illustrator of stories about mischievous children, mean grown-ups, and curious creatures, whose work influenced generations of creators as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Tim Burton, and who even eleven years after his death managed to delight us with one of the best children’s books of 2011. In 1961, using his anagram pen name, Gorey published The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary — a delightfully dark quasi-pornographic (that is, without actual nudity) quasi-horror (without actual blood and gore) “illustrated story about furniture.” Though none of the drawings are overtly sexual, plenty of innuendo and strategically placed tree branches, urns, room dividers, and other props ensure your imagination stays on the frisky side.

The story continues with charmingly naughty illustrated tales of Alice’s encounter with a “delightfully sympathetic” maid, a pool party of the unusual variety, a backseat reading from the Encyclopedia of Unimaginable Customs, some “remarkably well-set-up” young men from the nearby village, a terrace romp, and — it wouldn’t be Gorey otherwise — an out-of-the-blue, matter-of-factly death in between.

And then, of course, the “curious sofa” makes its much-anticipated cameo.

You’d have to read the rest to find out why Alice is so appalled and what happens next.

Wonderfully naughty in that nicely Goreyesque way, The Curious Sofa is like a children’s book for grown-ups — roguishly risqué grown-ups. And if this is the kind of thing that gets you creatively excited, don’t forget the charming Ancient Book of Sex and Science, a racy side project by four Pixar animators.

HT @MiaFarrow; cover photograph courtesy of VikingBanna

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28 NOVEMBER, 2011

Do! A Minimalist Handmade Pictogram Book in the Style of Indian Tribal Art

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Beautiful visual storytelling from the Warli tradition, hand-crafted by local artisans.

From Indian author Gita Wolf and the fine folks at Tara Books, makers of beautiful handcrafted books, comes Do! — a lovely set of action pictures rendered in the elegant minimalism of Warli tribal art. Each page depicts a basic verb (“work,” “play,” “fight”), illustrated in a style that blends the white-paint-on-brown-paper technique we’ve seen in Nurturing Walls, a pictogram-driven visual language reminiscent of the ISOTYPE of the 1930s, and a word-image minimalism akin to Blexbolex’s.

Like all Tara books, his gem is silk-screened by hand in Tara Books’ fair-trade workshop in Chennai. The pages themselves emit the rich earthy smell of artisanal craft, printed on rough recycled craft paper the color of paper bags and painted in a style that mimics the lime and chalk artwork traditionally created by the women of the Maharashtra region on walls washed with cow dung, mud, and paint.

Each image in every copy of Do!, more than an educational introduction to English verbs for young readers, is thus an original print to delight the creatively voracious of all ages.

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28 NOVEMBER, 2011

25 Celebrated Saul Bass Title Sequences in 100 seconds

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Supercutting the visual legacy of the greatest graphic designer of all time.

To celebrate the release of the highly anticipated and altogether fantastic Saul Bass monograph, one of the 11 best art and design books of 2011 and among the most important design books ever published, Art of the Title editor Ian Albinson put together this brilliant brief visual history of Bass’s most celebrated work, which influenced generations of designers, animators, and visual storytellers alike.

The featured films, in order:

Carmen Jones (1954)
The Big Knife (1955)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
Vertigo (1958)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
Spartacus (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
West Side Story (1961)
Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
Nine Hours to Rama (1963)
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
Seconds (1966)
Not with My Wife, You Don’t! (1966)
Grand Prix (1966)
That’s Entertainment, Part II (1976)
The War of the Roses (1989)
Goodfellas (1990)
Cape Fear (1991)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Casino (1995)

On a related note, don’t forget this wonderful 2-minute history of film title sequence design.

via Doobybrain

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