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Art

New Fictional Self-Help Titles Present Existential Messages on Faded Book Covers

August 24, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Johan Deckmann (previously) presents existential notions of life, love, and self-doubt as self-help titles on hand-painted books. The fictionalized novels contain no words on their pages, however their size often directly correlates to the messages on the front covers, such as his series of blue books, which read “Good ideas” on the smallest, “Mediocre ideas” on the mid-sized work, and “Bad ideas,” on the largest.

The Copenhagen-based artist is also a practicing psychotherapist who recognizes how language can be a powerful tool in both art and therapy. “The right words can be like good medicine,” he explained in a statement for the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen. His chosen phrases are both humorous and wise, often cutting to a deep truth with just a handful of words like his title “How to search forever for what is already inside.”

In addition to books, Deckmann also paints poignant messages on record sleeves, wooden boxes, and briefcases. He recently had an exhibition at the Arp Museum in Remagen, Germany titled “It Takes Time, It’s Risky and It Might Last Forever” which closed in mid-July. You can see more of his works on his website and Instagram.

 

 



History Photography

A New Book by Alison Nastasi Looks at the Affectionate Relationships Between Writers and Their Cats

August 20, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In a follow-up to her best-selling book Artists and their Cats (previously), Alison Nastasi has penned Writers and Their Cats. The new book features photographs of writers past and present with their feline companions. Ranging from Elizabeth Bishop to Haruki Murakami, Nastasi’s book looks into the domestic lives of forty-five renowned novelists, poets, and journalists from around the world. Each short and sweet profile includes reminiscences on the roles writers’ cats have played in fueling creativity, providing comfort, and even getting interview subjects to open up. Writers and Their Cats will be published by Chronicle on August 21, 2018, and is available for presale in The Colossal Shop.

Gillian Flynn, photography credit: Peter Hoffman/Redux

Left: Jirō Osaragi, photography credit: Akira Ishii/Courtesy Osaragi Jirō Memorial Museum. Right: Helen Gurley Brown, photography credit: Bettmann/Getty Images

Ray Bradbury, photography credit: Topfoto

Alice Walker, photography credit: Peter Hoffman/Redux

Left: Jorge Luis Borges, photography credit: Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos. Right: Judy Blume, photography credit: Bettman/Getty Images

Mark Twain, photography credit: Underwood & Underwood/New York Times/Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

 



Design Photography

Look Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries in a New 560-Page Photo Book by Massimo Listri

August 16, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All photographs © Massimo Listri / TASCHEN

Italian photographer Massimo Listri has spent decades traversing the globe to document the spectacular architecture, sculptural elements, and furnishings of historic libraries. His new book, The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, includes views inside such rarefied locations as the Palafoxiana Library in Pueblo, Mexico and the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, France. Listri also includes descriptions and histories of each library. The 560-page tome is published by TASCHEN and available on Amazon and the TASCHEN website.

Klosterbibliothek Metten, Metten, Germany

Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, France

Biblioteca do Convento de Mafra, Mafra, Portugal

Stiftsbibliothek Admont, Admont, Austria

Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbria, Portugal

Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rome, Italy

Strahovská Knihovna, Prague, Czech Republic

 

 



Art Design Illustration

A Pop-Up Homage to Caspar Henderson’s Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Maria Chernakova

July 30, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Russian designer Maria Chernakova, who uses Mary Komary as her professional name, created a unique pop-up interpretation of one of her favorite books. The original beloved tome by Caspar Henderson, titled The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, is a comprehensive guide to the natural history of real animals that are so fantastic they seem to be a product of mythology. In Chernakova’s imaginative interpretation, pop-ups, hand-drawn illustrations, and charts and diagrams depict charming aquatic animals from the nautilus to the axolotl. She created just one copy of the book, which is divided into two volumes and contains a total of ten pop-up structures. You can see more of the St. Petersburg-based designer’s commercial and personal work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Botanical: A Collection of Impressionistic Plant Specimens Captured Against Greenhouse Glass

July 27, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Samuel Zeller began photographing greenhouses in 2015 after making a spontaneous trip to the Jardin d’hiver on his way home from work in Geneva, Switzerland. He was instantly fascinated by the blurred quality of the botanical specimens when gently pressed against the rippled glass, and began documenting this effect in greenhouses across Europe. His collection of images from the last three years have recently been compiled into the book Botanical, published this spring by Hoxton Mini Press.

“What I’m doing right now is very much influenced by my past,” Zeller tells Colossal regarding the plant-based series. “I’ve always enjoyed going to museums, and I developed an attraction for painting, specifically Impressionist ones. In ‘Botanical’ I tried to re-create this painterly feeling by capturing a refracted reality.”

When viewing the images, an intimacy can be felt between Zeller’s lens and the glass-guarded ferns, florals, and succulents despite the physical barrier that separates them. You can see more of his plant photography on his Instagram and Behance. (via Feature Shoot)

 

 



Art Design

Color Problems: A Republished Tome Reveals the Color Wisdom and Poetics of 19th-Century Artist Emily Noyes Vanderpoel

July 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In 1901 artist and historian Emily Noyes Vanderpoel (1842-1939) published the painting manual Color Problems: A Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color under the guise of flower painting and decorative arts, subjects that were appropriate for a woman of her time. The study provided an extensive look at color theory ideas of the early 20th-century. Her research-based techniques were later used and circulated by men without mention of her name, and are now commonly used in art curriculums. Many of the included studies predict design and art trends that wouldn’t occur for several decades, such as a concentric square format that predates Joseph Albers’s Homage to the Square by fifty years.

In addition to color lessons and guides, the 400-page book features an extensive collection of her original and intently poetic methods of color analysis, from detailing the color relationships in quotidian objects like a found teacup and saucer, to color swatches of wool sorted by a color-blind man. There is also a watercolor series that poignantly observes the nuanced color of her private moments, such as the bruised colors found in a shadow on white ground or the inherent tones of woods that lay on the edge of a meadow.

Vanderpoel was vice president of the New York Watercolor Club, an organization founded in response to the American Watercolor Society’s policy to not accept women as members. Despite the history and visual wisdom detailed in her color guide, the tome never received the audience it deserved. Brooklyn-based publisher The Circadian Press along with their collaborators Sacred Bones Records aim to change this with a new print of the 118-year-old guide. The project just raised funding for more than five times its initial goal on Kickstarter, and plans to go into production in the fall.

Update: Color Problems is now available in the Colossal Shop.

 

 



Art Illustration

A Centuries-Old Art Form Hides Within the Gilded Pages of Antique Books

July 17, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Martin Frost creates paintings in places that people can’t see, or can only find if they know exactly where to look. The UK-based artist is a fore-edge painter, which means he produces elaborate designs and scenes along the edges of gilded books. The works are discovered only when you fan the pages in a certain way, and become hidden by the book’s gold edges as soon it is closed. “It is a discrete painting,” Frost tells Great Big Story. “It is only there when you know how to unlock it.”

Vanishing fore-edge painting dates back to about 1660, but didn’t become popular until the 18th-century. Frost has practiced the rare art form for the last 40 years, and as far as he knows, is the last commercial fore-edge painter in the world. You can view more of his hidden paintings, in addition to a series of illuminated miniatures, on his website. (via Great Big Story)