Across the backdrop of an expansive retro-Scandinavian landscape, Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag has spent the last few years imagining a world of science fiction inhabited by roaming mech robots, dinosaurs, and other technological innovations plopped right onto the Swedish countryside. The digitally painted images spread far and wide across the internet over the last few years, capturing the imagination of legions of fantasy and sci-fi fans who clamoured for comic books and even a feature film. For now, we’ll have to make do with old-fashioned art books.
Stålenhag and Free League Publishing just announced a Kickstarter project for two new books featuring Stålenhag’s dystopian vision of the future that will pair illustrations with short stories written in English. You can explore many more illustrations on his website (just start scrolling), and some are available as individual prints.
For the past 33 years Japanese craftsman Okano Nobuo has been repairing tattered books and reconstituting them to look brand new. When a customer brought in an old Japanese-English dictionary that looked like it had been through a few wars, Okano approached it like an art conservationist repairing a painting. Using very basic tools like a wooden press, chisel, water and glue, Okano reconstituted the book to make it look like it was just purchased.
The tedious job required Okano to take each page—all 1000 of them—and flatten out all the creases with tweezers and an iron. But not everything is repaired. Okano makes some things disappear, like the initials of an old girlfriend. And much like the way a sculptor removes pieces to improve on it, Okano applies a subtractive process to bring the book back to life.
Once the job was done the book was returned to the customer, who presented it to his daughter as she was on her way to college. “It’s not their shape or form but what’s inside them that attracts us to books,” says Okano. For a man who makes it his job to repair the shape and form of books it’s an incredibly humbling statement and is a testament to the value we still hold in physical books. (via Reddit)
Artists and Their Cats from Chronicle Books, edited by Alison Nastasi
Although many have been considered an artist’s muse, none have served as repeatedly as the common feline. Often basking directly beside our world’s famous artists, cats have consistently served as creative companion and confidant. New from Chronicle Books is Artists and Their Cats, a collection of intimate portraits featuring many of the past century’s most recognizable artists and their feline counterparts.
Editor Alison Nastasi writes in the book’s introduction, “Many artists buck notions of a stereotypical temperament, but researchers have long speculated that creative individuals share common attributes—which mirror those of cats.” More than 50 pairs are highlighted throughout the book—cats perched on laps, desks, and even atop heads. Included in the cat compendium is everyone from Basquiat to Matisse with images of Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe in-between. Salvador Dali himself graces the cover with cane and noted Colombian ocelot Babou. Artists and Their Cats is now available in the Colossal Shop.
Seattle-based artist Isobelle Ouzman creates 3D illustrations from discarded books found in dumpsters, recycling bins, and local thrift stores. She adopts these forgotten books as a way to give them a second life, cutting and pasting the books into layered fairy tale scenes instead of letting the novels collect dust or fall prey to the elements.
Ouzman creates her whimsical and monochromatic environments with an X-Acto knife, glue, watercolors and Micron pens. Each work focuses on plants and animals, several layers of winding forestry surrounding her central characters.
Each book can take between two and three months to complete, which is why Ouzman is currently on hold with commissions until October. To submit a commission for her found book illustrations contact her here, or browse the books on her Etsy site. (via Lustik)
In celebration of World Book Day (today!) 7UP commissioned Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff to construct one of his famous book tanks. In this case he began with a stripped down 1979 Ford Falcon which he used to build a new roving library on wheels with an exterior framework capable of carrying 900 free books. Lemesoff refers to his militaristic bibliothecas as Weapons of Mass Instruction, and he drives them around the streets of Argentina giving free books to anyone who wants one, as long as they promise to read it. Watch the video above to see it all come together. (via Designboom)
Barbara Wildenboer produces sculptures pieced together from delicately cut books, thin strips of paper splaying out from each book’s spine. Wildenboer’s found books are often ones containing maps, atlases, and scientific subject matter, sometimes using images from the book as central elements to her pieces. Imagery, words, and sentences become components of the larger designs, as she crafts new visual narratives from the raw material.
By producing visual metaphors, Wildenboer attempts to capture her own wonder of complex systems in nature like fractal geometry and the interconnectedness of all beings. She works across several academic disciplines to showcase how our understanding of life is often mediated through text, stretching the world of each book she manipulates outside of its own cover.
Wildenboer lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, where she received her Masters in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town in 2007. Her latest body of work, “The Lotus Eaters“, toured South Africa after opening at The Reservoir at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein in 2014. (via Colossal Submissions)
“Touching Time And Space: A Portrait Of David Ireland” (2014)
“Linux: The Complete Manual” (2013)
“National Geographic Magazines” (2013)
“National Geographic Magazines” detail (2013)
“San Francisco Phone Book” (2013)
“Photoshop Manual” (2014)
It’s become a fairly common sight: boxes of discarded books, abandoned on the sidewalk. As the onset of digital publishing brings reading material to handheld devices, physical books have become less important. Struck by scenes of shuttered bookstores and books rendered as garbage, San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold embarked on her Crystallized Books project.
By combining borax crystals with weathered books, magazines and computer manuals Arnold grows them into wonderfully organic forms that become artifacts or geological specimens. “The books, frozen with crystal growth, have become… imbued with the history of time, use, and nostalgia,” says Arnold. In selecting books to turn into aesthetic, non-functional objects Arnold revealed that she tries to use found books. But she will sometimes purchase titles, or use books from her own library if she finds them conceptually appropriate. (via The Creators Project)