Cristian Grossi – 150,000 results and counting…

I seem to be blogging about illustrators of late and this post is about another one, Cristian Grossi.

His works came to my attention back in June via another WordPress blog Chicquero and a post titled Insect mood. Some of the images were mildly animated (as it were) and I was not sure what I made of that but the illustrations otherwise made a striking impression. The insects incorporated into the fashion, more as accessory than horror-invasion.

Insect mood Cristian Grossi

Chicquero post

He has a website with various sections for his fashion commissions, artworks, commercial/editorials, exhibitions, kids-work and the obligatory prosaic information.

Cristian Grossi website screenshot roBOt

Website Home Page

And if you Google (or are you a Binger?) this Italian Illustrator’s work can be found on Facebook, Vimeo & Tumblr. Or on Twitter if you want his thoughts in bite-size.

But something else you can do with Google (and quite possibly Bing too but I am a Googler so enough already!) is search on images. I did this just now and it returned 150,000 results. Actually when I first thought about doing this a few weeks ago there were 145,000 results returned so they continue to multiply.

Google Image search screenshot for Cristian Grossi

Google Imaged

Now Cristian Grossi may be quite prolific but almost certainly he is not that prolific. Almost certainly there is a core of images which are then endlessly repeated as others have used, borrowed with and without permission, the original works. That is quite an accolade though I think. 150,000 endorsements of your works.

Does Google include every image from his aforementioned website? Quite probably but I am certainly not going to be trawling through the 150,000 images to find that out.

Google Images does though take those images/works/art and dislocates them from their original context. Makes of them a sprawl, but through sheer force of the scale involved, a fantastical sprawl for all that.

In the screen-capture I have provided above of the first slew of results you can see a selection of his works and in their midst two photographs of the illustrator himself – click on the picture again and then on the 1880 x 901 link to see it in screen size if your eyes need it!

Sandra Suy

Sandra Suy, actually

You can also be sure that of the 150,000 results attributed to him that not all of them will be correct. There will be a share of false attributions.

Or yet others listed because of some connection however tenuous to him, such as the one image above which actually is the work of Italian Illustrator Sandra Suy which on the page that features her work lists Cristian Grossi as a ‘Related Post’ (though this particular site does not provide further details about her work).

So there we go – Google lists not just an artist’s own work but works that another artist or critic considers comparable to them.

I assume that these images are not listed in a completely random order, that they are listed by the most popular. Popular of course is not the same as best, but can you prove that?!

And Google popular is not quite the same as dictionary definition popular either rather it means the images that are the most search engine optimised – urgh!

His illustrations can feature blocks of vivid colour or a two-tone palette – I like his work in both but prefer the former and it is those I will feature here.

Little Chimp Society featuring Cristian Grossi

Little Chimp Society website

The first above features also the site from which Google grabbed the image from, this site going by the name of The Little Chimp Society!

Insect mood by Cristian Grossi

Do you agree with me that you would not be disconcerted by such insect interest but instead delighted about how their integration adds to your ensemble? Or perhaps I have witnessed too much film horror and am jaded to its effects!

Unnamed work of Cristian Grossi

Cristian Grossi Unauthorized

I said I would cite the original posting page but the one above gives an ‘Unauthorized Request on Page’ message. Staying with insects, Google refers to its automated searching agent as a Spider – and has saved this image in its web despite the original site either having made the page private or retired from business as it were.

Which means though I present the image to you I can provide you with no further information, not even a name. But do you really need such information anyway, as often extraneous?!

But anyway with Google the image will be awaiting you further along and here it is again present as a triptych – it was from his work with Dolce & Gabbana.

Dolce & Gabbana work by Cristian Grossi

Dolce & Gabbana fashion illustrations

Though much of Grossi’s work is minimalist he can also get busy as with this next featured on The Thumbtack Press – not a WordPress blog though, one of those other ones. Their strapline being ‘Authentic Affordable Art’.

The Thumbtack Press featuring Christian Grossi

As featured on The Thumbtack Press

Titled ‘The Fabulous World of Sfigati’. Sfigati is an Italian word for ‘not cool’ (not cool as in unlucky I understand though think too something has been lost in my Italian translation).

The Fabulous World of Sfigati - Cristian Grossi

The Fabulous World of Sfigati

Mind, I would have liked it if it were a completely made up word too!

This would make a great wallpaper print. On this particular blog you can buy this and other of Grossi’s works as prints with or without frames.

This next Google image took me to a Tumblr page.

Tumblr images of Cristian Grossi


Finally I don’t believe in vampires – well aside from all the figurative ones – but I do believe in the Carmilla Vampire website layout. The original Google image itself took me to a blog Unmatched Style and a post from January 2010 titled Rosso Carmilla’s Vampire – clicking on the header image then took me to the website.

Rosso Carmilla's Vampire by Cristian Grossi

Rosso Carmilla’s Vampire

Treat Google as a journey not a destination. Well treat it as a destination but don’t forget it can be a journey too!

Séverin Millet in The New Yorker, and beyond

Severin Millet Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

In my last post, well leaving aside my birthday shenanigans, I shared that I came upon illustrator Jorge Arevalo in passing in an October 2012 issue of The New Yorker. Well the same as happened again in a double (October 29/November 5) issue of The New Yorker, and the same section too, the Goings On About Town. This time the illustrator is Séverin Millet.

This image is of singer and musician Regina Spektor. You may already be familiar with her but if not there is much detail about her on her own website which I provide a link to the chase, that is her music,  but basically all you need to know is that she is the niece of Phil Spector but in a rebellious gesture due to his treatment of her Aunt Ronnie she changed her name, just enough so that you would notice but not enough too that you would not forget that she was family.

Okay so perhaps Ronnie Spector never wore Regina’s mother’s jeans let alone had the same blue genes but a spectral heir makes a better story than a near name-sake.

What certainly is not made up is that the Séverin here is the one Lou Reed wrote about in Venus in Furs, a 1967 Velvet Underground musing.

Severin, Severin, speak so slightly
Severin, down on your bended knee
Taste the whip, in love not given lightly
Taste the whip, now bleed for me

Despite pre-dating his birth by a whole ten years. Spooky indeed. At least this is what the website Tricksy Pedia has been feeding me. I would give you its URL but it never remains the same for more than sixty seconds.

Millet’s website though is more anchored. Below a Wikipedia snippet.

Severin Millet Wikipedia bio snippet

There is a larger cv about him than there was for Arevalo – it is a long list and includes Le Monde and Libération among many others.

Home Page o fSéverin MilletAbove is the current home-page. Striking.

I cannot recreate a scrolling effect here but if you do scroll down these works then reveal.

Home Page Séverin Millet

If you click on any of these images more images are then revealed, and some times text too. I am going to concentrate on just one image by way of giving you a flavour.

But before I do that a few other bits of business as it were you might be interested in.

If you like enough his work to the extent that you would pay to own it then there is a store on his site of his work. Well some of it. But is there no greater love than to own the object of your love? A little rhetorical question for you to take away with you.

Also in passing I noted from his own blog one of the above featured works (for a Book Festival in Saint Etienne) has been shown in common-place street settings.

Severin Millet Fete du Livre

Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne – on Tram


Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne Bus Stop

Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne – at Bus Stop

That is a fine way to have your art displayed is it not? Although if my eyes are not deceiving me there is already a tare showing on the bus-shelter display, either by a heathen vandal or the cruel indifference of nature…

Severin Millet OuSo finally moving on. This is the image that I clicked on to reveal the images and works below.

The one that most caught my eye, halted me in my browsing, caused me to stop a little longer was in turn the one below.

What is going on there? The background is purple so clearly they are outside, the purple rain having subsided. I have a feeling they are watching golf, how about you? If the man wearing the tartan flat-cap  does not suggest that then the brimming-with-content woman with the tortoise on her head certainly does. As one man is cart-wheeling with perhaps the fleeting rush of having won a wager they  could be at the races I guess.Ou Severin MIllet

These images are very busy. Overspilling with meaning? Or just busy? They certainly merit a number of revisits.

Shelves - Séverin MilletShelving might suggest organisation yet the contents seem very haphazard – suggesting chaos as much as tidiness.

Séverin MilletThis next merits the word lovely but lovely as such pejorative connotations alas. But look a bit closer and perspective is askew. These flowers are Triffid type giant size or these people hale from Lilliput, Blefuscu and its parts. There is menace too, paradise about to be troubled?

These are the final two featured works. I will leave them for your own thoughts to first form. And because well I don’t know what to make of them.

Séverin Millet - 2 worksI do not know what the meanings are in general and have been thought-doodling. But part of me does not want to know.

Like listening to Arias sung in Italian and you do not know Italian and they sound other-wordly, exotic even, perhaps profound but when rendered understood in your own mother tongue the words may reveal as clunky and the meaning prosaic.

Revelation dissolves. Mystery preserves.

Jorge Arevalo in The New Yorker, and beyond

Jorge Arevalo Illustration of Audrey Tauto France

Audrey Tautou

I came upon Jorge Arevalo, well I nearly passed him by. If you read or have ever read The New Yorker then you will know that in amongst the endless words which you pretend you are swimming with but have long-since drowned, in amongst all these words are occasional pictures and photographs of which to serve as some relief from those words but are as often and quite rightly demanding our attention too. I must admit I usually but glance at them eager enough to keep up with those words but on this occasion I was distracted enough by an illustration to decide to explore its creator’s work further.

This particular issue was the October 22, 2012 one and the illustration in question was not even attached to a written piece but in the Goings On About Town which I usually rush through as not actually best placed to gad about New York what with being on the other side of the Atlantic and all. More particularly it was in the Movies Opening section illustrating ‘Nobody Walks‘.

Nobody Walks Jorge Arevaldo IllustrationWith the web an easy enough task to delve deeper and or wade wider and his own website  was quickly stumbled upon. It greets us with a photograph of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin). Clicking on we see his illustrations. There is not much detail on his website and perhaps there does not need to be.

His site does detail his clients, the list is not that long but again perhaps it does not need to be including as it does in addition to the aforementioned New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

He has a number of books published of his portraits and illustrations too – I am not going to detail them as I have enough to gabble on about here. But if you like what you see here and want more of his work then there are links to his publications on his site too.

Juliette Binoche by Jorge Arevalo

Juliette Binoche

I’ve not included all the photos as what would be point of that when you can visit his site on his own terms and what-have-you, but instead a list of those not featured here who you may want to see illustrated in this fashion – Kate Moss with and without Pete Docherty, Chet Baker, Kate Hudson, Sasha Grey, Martin Scorsese, Lady Antebellum, James Franco, Kanye West, Jonas Brothers, Garrincha, Jane Reno, Jackie Kennedy, James Brolin, Elijah Wood, Chloe Sevigny, Pharrell Williams, Grace Coddington, Stacy Peralta and Alexander McQueen. A lot. Or enough.

Meryl Streep by Jorge Arevalo

Meryl Streep

Miles Davis by Jorge Arevalo

Miles Davis

The ones I have included I have kept my responses, bubbles of thought to a minimum  –  as I’m not you and you’re not obviously me therefore and it follows you will respond in your own unique way so I don’t think you are much interested in my view overmuch. We are all narcissists together on the world wide web after all. But anyway bravely, foolishly I include a few of my thoughts in words however invisible they may be to you between Arevalo’s portraiture.

Amy Winehouse by Jorge Arevalo

Amy Winehouse

Disgracefully I have never written about Amy Winehouse – her music, her voice, her life – what’s that about (?) but then I read your blogs dear subbers and you’ve not written about her either – what really is up with that?

I like the unfussy statement of Arevalo’s portraits. A kind of a doodle but super-charged in full colours.

Mad Men by Jorge Arevalo

Mad Men – y’know those Ad Men

Mad Men by Jorge Arevalo
More mad men…

Mad Men by Jorge Arevaldo
Mad Women…

His time frame stretches from Dean Martin to Miley Cyrus, the young at heart Dean to the old head on young shoulders Miley …

This picture of the Olsen Twins captures their innate spookiness well I feel.

The Olsen Twins by Jorge Arevalo

The Olsen Twins

The next of the singular time-defying Grace Jones and it looks like she is singing I’ve Seen that Face before!?!

Grace Jones by Jorge Arevalo

Grace Jones

Some of his illustrations are a bit more busy but no less bold.

The Black-Eyed Peas by Jorge Arevalo

The Black Eyed Peas

Charlotte Casiraghi by Jorge Arevalo
Charlotte Casiraghi, some minor European Royal

So if this has wetted your appetite, piqued your curiosity, stirred wonder in your hearts…you know what to do.

The Jelly Fox – Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy E4 LogoLike Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger recreating The Jungle Book. Or a William Blake inspired party-time.

Noel Fielding's Luxury ComedySo describes the associated web-page for Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy from production company Secret Peter showing on E4, the new comedy from one half of The Mighty Boosh, the eponymous Noel Fielding, but though the other Boosher, Julian Barratt, is absent the spirit of Boosh is still very much at play.

Not just its spirit though but also some of the Boosh actors. Michael Fielding (is he more than a name-sake to Noel I wonder?!) who played Naboo turns up here as Noel’s anteater butler – yes you read that right! And Rich Fulcher who played Bob Fossil turns up as William Jessop celebrating his one hundredth birthday and being visited by the ghost of a flea. This may start to give you a feel for what this Luxury Comedy is about – or not.

We are warned that it contains adult humour – in the UK that means only suitable for those over 18 – if you are 17 and British sorry but then this is not for you! Though this show may well not be for you however old you might be – more of that later. It may just as well have warned us that it contains childish humour and that if you are serious-minded-adult-type to watch at your peril.  For Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy is for the child in all of us, if, that is, your inner child was expelled from Kindergarten…

Incidentally to establish that you are indeed eighteen and beyond, Channel 4 make the serious demand of you that you click in a box on their online player confirming such and you are then cheerily beckoned in, not a bleary burly bludgeoning bouncer in sight. Anyone seventeen and younger will naturally be deterred by this. Okay that’s enough sarcasm.

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - The Jelly Fox cast

The cast awaits you

The Luxury Comedy starts in musical fashion with the entire cast however significant however insignificant welcoming us to them and their show.

This second episode, The Jelly Fox, then cuts to Noel Fielding in black leather jumpsuit and Aladdin Sane style face-paint dancing around to a nineteen sixties rock song (I could have just said ‘the 60’s’ couldn’t I as I doubt most of you are familiar with the rock music of the 1860’s).

The rock music so alluded is from 1960’s psychedelic group Lysergic Casserole who recorded just one album which ‘no-one has ever heard of’ and described by Noel Fielding as ‘the best band ever’ but then explaining that

they disappeared having took so much LSD they got trapped in their own guitar case

And the episode proceeds from there. There is no linear way to refer to this episode as it is beyond transcription if not description. You will either get tuned in to its own particular madness or look upon it aghast and askance before tuning out toward the lesser insanity of the BBC News at 10 or James May’s Things You Need to Know – James May is very likely in fact Noel Fielding’s TV Uncle – I do not know if that is helpful or pretentious of me – or both.

We see Lysergic Casserole’s guitar-case-trip as they experience Orson Welles having a romantic dinner with a cheese-cake, and then Welles pulling a skipping rope out of his…well I will let you use your own imagination here!

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy Lysergic Casserole

Lysergic Casserole – the amount of times I have spelt this wrong over the years

Their music like all the music in the show is provided by Sergio Pizzorno of British rock group Kasabian – I was sceptical when I first heard of this collaboration not thinking Kasabian’s rather masculine swaggering feet-firmly-on-the-ground music would best serve Noel Fielding’s head-in-the-clouds whimsy – Mercury Rev or Polyphonic Spree would have been more fitting I felt – but Pizzorno’s music sits very comfortably with Fielding’s madcap visions.

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - Diamond Back

Diamond Back

Later Noel Fielding decides to rescue Lysergic Casserole from their Guitar Case bound fate by erecting a ramp made of Ryvita! – it is not just their freedom he has in mind though, he considers that they might make a second album and he could be their manager! But his snouty nosed butler reminds him that the sixties was a half-a-century ago and like Austin Powers their respective mojo’s might not adapt to the transport to the present day…alas they and their Harley’s trajectory is toward the guitar-case of the rock-star they call Diamond Back – Diamond Back having risen from the swamps of Putney, his father a pet-shop junkie and his mother, well she had a hundred eyes. Clear? I hope not.

Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy has comedy and music, that at least is established. It also has art. Much of the art is provided by Fielding but not all of it. Animation is provided by the show’s director Nigel Coan. Coan is another Boosh connection having provided its animation too.The Luxury Comedy sets are art and there is one scene where Noel Fielding himself is producing art. The most striking and impressing aspect of the program is its look – its visual swagger.

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - Keep off the Chest

Artist at work – can you see what it is yet?

And as noted in one scene we see Fielding painting on canvas – we can assume this was done in real-time and condensed into TV-time – Rolf Harris used to do this kind of thing, well not quite this kind of thing!

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - press-ups

The finished work

If this show is going to work for you you have to take it on its own terms. Concepts like narrative development and dramatic conventions are only going to get in your way. You have to go with its flow, let it get into your blood and nerves, let Noel Fielding get inside your head. If you are not prepared to do that then the Singing Detective and Celebrity Juice are also scheduled alongside it – their own particular brands of madness may be more accommodating of yours. Though these allusions to other channels imply a world before time-shifted TV of  +1 channels and endless repeats, of online players and PVR’s, and as if the most of you would be watching it during its first E4 Broadcast Thursday evening’s at 10 o’clock!

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy with Andy Warhol

With his cleaner

I alluded to the Boosh lineage but not all of them are from that particular ancestral tree. For example Noel Fielding’s cleaner Andy Warhol. Yes that Andy Warhol. Well is there another Andy Warhol?! He is played by Tom Meeten. In this episode he is planning a vacation with Picasso and Keith Haring and has organised a cleaner replacement going by the name of Frida Kahlo! His suitcase was given to him by Jackson Pollack and his rucksack is borrowed from René  Magritte – not at all art for art’s sake this! – Fielding comments about the Magritte rucksack ‘Yeah it’s a nice design but probably gets a bit annoying’!

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy René Magritte Rucksack

René Magritte Rucksack

Though this episode is called The Jelly Fox it is only in the second part of the show that mention is made of him! We see Little Chrissie and Spoon Snake and their crew on their way to meet The Jelly Fox. And who or what is the Jelly Fox? Well

he gives you what you need. He lives in a blue-fabric castle with creases in it. He will give you a tablet that dissolves in wine. To wipe away your past…

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy with Dolly

Dolly and the Warhol-cum-Kahlo Cleaner

We then cut back to Noel Fielding and another new (ir)regular character Dolly. Dolly is played by Doll Wells. Dolly has given him a face-painting of David Bowie. Except that she has painted a Tiger. We then see cleaner Frida Kahlo except that it is Andy Warhol wearing a dress. He wants to wear a dress in public but is uncomfortable in doing so, so passes himself off as Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo! – the usual cowardly recourse of the man in denial of their transvestism! Dolly advises him that he should not be ashamed of this. She then advises that she dresses up as a Fireman and a Baby and calls herself a Firebaby! Noel then wants to know whether she dresses with a fireman top-half and nappy or romper suit and a helmet. She explains the latter, obviously! He considers it a joke, she a serious concept. They then argue over this point. Getting nowhere they decide to consult Hawkeye – the complex technology that resolves the flight of balls in Tennis and Cricket not Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce of M*A*S*H* fame!

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - Hawkeye

Hawkeye declares

If only all dilemmas could be resolved this way! Hawkeye decides it is a Concept, and that is an end to it!

It is only at the show’s end that we actually encounter the Jelly Fox – the term plot-spoiler has no impact on a show like this but I won’t reveal it all the same.

If you should be watching this on the 4OD online player you may note a ‘More Like This’ option – but other than its previous episode there is almost certainly nothing more like this on E4 or any other TV channel currently….and I am thankful for this.

Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy happily revels in its own wild imaginings. I am happy to revel along in it too – and I don’t have to take anything to do so. The whole psyche-shifting experience is all perfectly legal!Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - The Jelly Fox

Dreams – like Vanessa Dakinsky and Natalie Shau

Vanessa Dakinsky - home pageDream II Natalie Shau MadreNot I have a dream. Not play dreams of Genie. Not sweet dreams are made of this with all of us looking for something. Sour dreams then? Getting closer, already way to close. Nightmare. Wake Up.

Seeing the worst in things. Projecting your own internal horror to the world around you.

A juxtaposition of images could be banal but incites in us panic of the strange, against the stranger, feeling the worst even if that moving biped with a teapot for a head is the sweetest of creatures if you just took the time to get to know him, her, it, whatever…if you could just get past the tea coming out of their spout you might find that even if they are not someone/thing you would invite home then they are still an interesting conversationalist at the very least.

My own dreams involve flight – literal flight and of fancy too – becoming invisible, physically stronger or faster, even occasionally I choose to be a wittier version of myself – or so I imagine in the fevered moments of my sleeping…usually though my dreams are like a sleeping soap not much different to my day routines – occasionally a character from a TV program might show up in one of its scenes and which will feel quite unremarkable at the time and shows clearly I watch far too much TV. I have even had a few bloggers show up in my dreams of late. Really! It might have been you! And again clearly demonstrating that I am spending too many hours reading the diverse ramblings – sorry, articulate observations – of bloggers.

Vanessa Dakinsky Helium

Helium by Vanessa Dakinsky

But if my dreams do drift from the banal and it seems as if I am to encounter creatures or shapes that will frighten and unnerve me, a sense of foreboding, then frankly I am a spoil-sport, I know then that I am dreaming and I wake up. I do not wait around to get a good look at the menacing creature coming toward me, so as to stare them in their predatory eye or even to run and hide that much the better to experience the impending horror all the better to record it in my waking hours with the end to make art of it.

Is that what Vanessa Dakinsky and Natalie Shau do? In the name of their art suffer their dreams so as to make life of them again upon their expectant canvas? Or do those who have dreams they cannot make sense of go into art or music or fiction-writing or some other flight from reality profession whereas those who have prosaic dreams – or worse swear to you that they never dream – go into accountancy or news-reading or grave-digging. You can’t be cursed with a dark imagination and dig graves for a living, right?! And if there are any grave-diggers perchance reading this I am happy for you to give me the heads up and put me straight.

Both these artists were featured this week on My Modern Met…and some of the words used to describe them are predictable enough if also unavoidable – juxtaposing, surrealist and here I am hundreds of words about nightmares in and I have yet to mention Alfred Hitchcock or Lewis Carroll.

If I had to set up a Dakinsky versus Shau showdown because modern media likes that sort of thing then I would say Dakinsky is the more compelling artist, Shau the more compelling nightmarist.

Natalie Shau

Hunter’s Dream – Shau

And that perhaps both should see a therapist. But then that might cure them of their art. But again I’m only an unlicensed pop-psychologist so don’t pay too much heed to me.

Both are new names to me, perhaps they are to you too. I am not going to spend too many more words on them as their art does speak for itself. What a cliché. And one I always use when posting about paintings or photography too. Then I will say that art is subjective and you don’t need me to make up your mind for you and that I will just post up the artworks and be done. That is probably what that ‘WordPress Writing Helper, Copy a Post as an existing template’ is for.

I will then go on to add ‘But then what is the fun in that?! in regard to myself usually giving you some of my thoughts anyway. I have blogged too many posts! But hey sometimes the best comments aren’t always the most original ones. I’ve not said that before – ends blog-post wiping the easy stain of cliché off his hands feeling a little more content with himself.

Pleasant dreams.

Vanessa Dakinsky oil on canvas self

Vanessa Dakinsky – self-portrait

Natalie Shau - Dream II - My Leda

Natalie Shau – My Leda

A Book on One Page…

A Book on One Page - BronteA Book on One Page invites us to overturn a conventional wisdom and to judge a book by its cover. Well, sort of.

A Book on One PageA book on One Page is an idea, concept and website courtesy of Spineless Classics. I don’t think you need me to spell out the idea – okay a cheap pun but at least I did not follow it up with a winky emoticon!

They came to my attention via a Tweet back in December – okay Christmas Day – yes I was on Twitter on Christmas Day! The tweet was from Wired Magazine – Wired being a print and online magazine about technology and its place in our lives or in their own words ‘the first word on how technology is changing the world’ – yes I know we live in an always-on never-sleeping connected world but what’s the deal with always having to have the first word anyway, or indeed any word – sometimes silence is all that needs to be said – but I have digressed!

A Book on One Page - Wired TweetThe tweet as you can see was a link to a more detailed article on the Wired Website.

I could in fact simply include one such image for you to understand all that needs to be understood about said A Book on One Page site and service but I like to let you know my thoughts and feelings about things too. I just cannot help myself. That is why I blog – to unburden myself on the unsuspecting blogosphere – okay moving on!

In essence what this site is providing is full text novel posters. As with many ideas on the web they are copied quickly and there are other websites offering similar services. Of those that I have seen A Book on One Page produces the better art in my view – yet other sites dispense with the art altogether reproducing only the text in poster form.

This site and company was set up by the aforementioned Carl Pappenheim. The Wired article explains how he came to set it up

Pappenheim created the first Spineless Classic as a last-minute Christmas present for his mother. Having watched “architectural drawings roll off the presses at a friend’s printing company,” he figured that he could fit 100,000 words on each poster-size sheet. The reaction to the resultant poster led to the creation of the company, and posters are now available to be shipped worldwide.

I noted on LinkedIn he describes himself as Owner at Spineless Publishing Limited and does not detail much about his art background. Perhaps because he has customized his CV as it were to a particular audience. He has also his own website which works as a hub and portal to his other online endeavours. However I could not find much more in the way of his artistic output.

The advertising strapline for his A Book On One Page site is

Imagine a whole book on a single sheet. A bold art print on which, up close, you can read the full and complete text of your favourite classic work, right from “It was the best of times” to “a far, far greater thing”.

Further and greater detail about them can be found on their website – on their About Page, no really!

A Book on One Page - categories

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I’m not even going to comment on!

The collection of books on show covers best-sellers and classics but is still quite a modest store. Chances are your favourite book if you wanted to buy it so framed in this format is not available. They are though adding to their library all the time, additionally we can suggest new books via their site contact form.

You might consider that the books so chosen would concentrate on the slimmer volume end of the literary canon but you would be mistaken. Large volumes such as The King James Bible, War and Peace & The Wealth of Nations are among their tomes – though as you might imagine the larger the volume the higher the price tag.

Choosing an image to illustrate a book is no easy task. How to alight upon just one that captures the complex narratives and ideas of a book.

A Book on One Page - Ascent of ManA case in point is Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species – there are two versions available on this site – one with a single finch and another with the Ascent of Man theme – the latter works better for me not just because a more familiar and iconic image but because it is a more striking and resonating image. The finch on the other hand feels a less compelling image and work of art. You of course may feel quite the opposite. As said it is subjective which is why the choice of image as noted is no easy task – I guess though this being a web-store more than an art-gallery it will be commercial sales that will determine which images will endure rather than the preferences of the artist himself.

This Ascent of Man image is one of the poster books which actually is not A Book on One Page but A Book on Two Pages – and works well like that too – as long as you have the wall-space!

A Book on One Page - F Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

The Complete Robert Burns is also available – it is illustrated by the Scottish St Andrews National Flag – he is a poet very much of the Scottish national (ist) consciousness but the flag inclusion here feels a too obvious and cheap choice out of place with his body of work – Scotland was at the heart of him but there was much more to him than that. As a piece of art too it feels tending towards opportunistic tourist gift-shop knick-knack ‘art’.

Not all of these books on one page include art images at all – the Complete Works of Shakespeare for example includes the words of every one of his plays and every one of his sonnets – it is not available on one sheet either or even two rather five – should you want to purchase this bard’s work you will definitely need a large room to hang it.

I include images of other Books on One Page that I think did work and would consider ponying up the readies for.

If the prices are beyond your respective purses and wallets there are also versions available as jigsaws and postcard-sets. I don’t do jigsaws but understand near-completing them only to find a piece is missing is a source of quite substantial angst compounded even more then if you are wanting to finish your Complete Robert Burns jigsaw so as to then read its poetry and prose!

I guess this alternative range of mediums may be extended in time – if not to the usual mugs and bookmarks then perhaps to duvet covers and rugs – even wall-paper?!

These works are available to purchase online but if you prefer to see close up and smell and touch the art you are buying first they are for sale at retail locations. Currently though you would need to be resident or visiting in just three countries – the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

Any literary works you would like to see done this way?

A Book on One Page - MilneA Book on One Page - Robert Louis Stevenson