Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘culture’

30 DECEMBER, 2011

PBS Off Book: The Magic of Book Art and Papercraft in 5 Minutes

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The architecture of whimsy, or what the progression of time has to do with embracing the possible.

After their fantastic micro-documentaries on typography and generative art, the fine folks at PBS Off Book turn their lens to book art and papercraft — something I’m quite fond of myself. The film features artists Carole Kunstadt, Matthew Reinhart (of Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy fame), and Andrea Dezso (whose forthcoming Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses is looking wicked delicious.)

Books in general are really good at showing time and progression, a ton of books are very good at showing something happening right here, right now. They are depicting these worlds that are almost like a dream, and everything seems very real and very possible… I like to create scenes that want to be explained, because I think about them almost as these springboards for the imagination — you long to go there, you long to be there.” ~ Andrea Dezso

For more book art and papercraft magic, see Spike Jonze’s terrific recent stop-motion love story for book lovers, David Carter’s whimsical pop-up books, the beautiful trailer for Going West, and Gestalten’s excellent fond of Papercraft 2 compendium.

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30 DECEMBER, 2011

Forgotten Bookmarks: The Secret Life of Second-Hand Books

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From Paul Rand to Hitler, or what Jane Austen has to do with shopping lists and Valentines.

If you, like me, love marginalia and the secret histories of second-hand books, you’ll find yourself enamored with Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages — the latest addition to the web’s blog-turned-book success stories based on the wonderful site of the same name by used bookstore owner Michael Popek.

It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people’s bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?”

From actual bookmarks to photographs, ticket stubs, lists, scribbled recipes, children’s drawings, birth certificates, four-leaf-clovers, unsent love letters, and countless other funny, heartbreaking, and odd ephemera, this scrapbook of Popek’s most intriguing finds opens a rare window into the private lives of anonymous strangers through snippets of their life stories.

Captivating, charming, and irresistibly voyeuristic, Forgotten Bookmarks surfaces the intimate relationship we have with books in an entirely new, entirely delightful way.

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29 DECEMBER, 2011

Maurice Sendak on Passion, the Risk of Art, and Never Having Written for Children

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What Herman Melville has to do with the artist’s gauntlet and the sacrilege of sequels.

There are very few creators alive today truly worthy of being called “creative genius.” Children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, beloved for Where The Wild Things Are and other gems, is certainly one of them. This affectionate 5-minute micro-documentary from Tate Modern zooms in on the iconic creator, uncompromising and idiosyncratic and brilliant as ever at the age of 83, to reveal the creatively restless and lovably grumpy workings of his heart and mind.

Herman Melville said that artists have to take a dive, and either you hit your head on a rock and it splits your skull and you die, or, that blow to your head is so inspiring that you come back up and you do the best work you ever did.

But — you have to take the dive. And you do not know what the result will be.

[…]

My books are really books that are impressed and in love with the memory of comics and how important they were to me as a child… I didn’t live near any famous person, I didn’t see Michelangelo go to work in the morning. I just lived in Brooklyn, where everything was ordinary — and yet, enticing and exciting and bewildering. The magic of childhood, the strangeness of childhood, the uniqueness that makes us see things that other people don’t see…

For more Sendak gold, see his rare Velveteen Rabbit illustrations circa 1960.

via Open Culture

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