Written by AnnaDenise on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 18:30
A couple of weeks ago, I got my copy of 'The Exquisite Book' in the mail. The book, published by Chronicle Books, is based on the collaborative game 'the exquisite corps' where one person draws a head, the next a torso, etc. Authors Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvoski and Matt Lamothe invited leading artists and illustrators (including some of my favorites: Julia Pott, Jen Corace and Camilla Engman) to contribute a page to the book as a reaction to the page of the artist that went before them. The setup reminded me so much of Moly_X that I just couldn't resist getting the book to see for myself what a collaboration between a hundred (ten groups of ten) professional artists could bring to a book.
First off, this really is a beautiful book and I'm glad to own it. Each and every one of the artists is greatly talented and all the work is of very high quality. I love the way the groups are ordered and the way the pages fold out just like the Japanese Moleskine notebooks do. It's big, sturdy, and filled with evocative work by inspirational artists. I can see myself picking this book up over and over again for ideas.
But (you could feel that but coming, couldn't you?), I must say I am a little disappointed by the collaborative aspect of the book. Sure, you can tell the artists looked at the work of the person before them, but I see little exchange going on between styles and ideas. Each artists in the book has a very distinct style and flavor (which I assume was why they were picked) and although in some groups there's more of a continuity of flow than in others, the works still feel very separate to me. There are some exceptions, of course, like these two by Ryan Jacob Smith (left) and A.J. Purdy (right).
Still, it would have been especially interesting to me to see artists with an unmistakable personal style trying to achieve a sense of fluidity of style and concept. It doesn't surprise me for example, that the works can be bought separately as prints as well (and lovely prints they are). However, if you're willing to see this for what it is, a beautiful book with a lot of inspirational artwork, this book will make you very happy.
Link: The Exquisite Book on Amazon
Written by AnnaDenise on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 12:00
Yesterday I received a package from Studio Violet in the mail. Any day that involves Studio Violet-mail is a great day of course, and I decided to put the cherry on top by crawling under a blanket on the couch with a cup of tea to enjoy my most recent purchase: the book 'The Life of Mr. Mustache'!
This little book was first published in Swedish, and due to it's success artist duo Camilla Engman and Elisabeth Dunker (aka Studio Violet) decided to translate the story into English. Hooray for us!
I know it's turning out to be quite the book review month over here on my blog, but I just couldn't wait to tell you about this one. The story of Mr.Mustache is written in delightful little rhymes and talks about Mr.Mustache's desire to live a more exciting life (don't we all). He eventually figures out what to do to get over his little midlife crisis and all is well again.
Although the tale is fun, this little book is mainly about the pictures. The images are absolutely delicious. Great photographs, wonderful compositions, taken with great care and an eye for detail (and I know you, like me, love those little details). I couldn't help but shriek 'Eek! So cute!' at every other page. All the things we love about Studio Violet - the gritty yet iconic aesthetics and quirky characters - are in this book.
My only complaints are that the book is too short and on some pages the text is a little hard to read. Still, a definite must-have for any Studio Violet fan, I'd say!
Links: Click [here] to learn more about the book, [here] to find out more about Studio Violet, and [here] to directly purchase your copy of Mr. Mustache!
Written by AnnaDenise on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 09:00
Time for another book review! Yay!
This time I'll be reviewing the Fifi Lapin book. For those of you saying Fifi Que?: Fifi Lapin is a bunny who keeps a fashion blog. She is a beautifully drawn character and always wears the latest runway fashion. Obviously, the woman (or man! who knows!) behind Fifi Lapin has found the perfect way of combining a passion for fashion with their great artistic talent, because the blog is very popular and has been featured in many a (fashion) magazine.
Originally, I wasn't going to order the book online, but when I saw it at our local bookstore, I couldn't resist picking up a copy. No doubt, it's a gorgeous book. There's great photography, beautiful drawings, interviews with famous fashion designers (such as Betsey Johnson, Vivienne Westwood, and Marc Jacobs), and fun fashion and beauty tips. It's definitely more than just a book-version of her blog, and it's a nice book to have and look through. It took me a while to dig in though, because, to be honest... I'm a bit annoyed with the Fifi Lapin persona, haha. I mean, I love the drawings, the advice useful, but I just don't care too much for Fifi's narrative (she talks about shopping spree's with her dad's credit card, her fabulous outings to a gala, or how all clothes look great on her - I'm probably just jealous!). Truth be told, I got over it pretty quickly once I decided to just skip the intros and move on to the advice and designer parts of the book.
For more information on Fifi Lapin, her book, and to order her book, please visit her blog.
Written by AnnaDenise on Monday, October 04, 2010 at 17:30
Last Sunday was one of the rare days on which both Ash and I were in Brussels, at home. I don't even want to say that we've been away and working more than usual, because when Sundays alone at home together occur only once every six months, perhaps there is no usual?
We had luck on our side though, because although both of us still had a ton of work to do, the weather was awesome and Meneertje allowed us to sleep in until 11! After a late brunch, Ash and I walked from our home to the city center (about an hour walk), where we were hoping to sit down and get some work done at my new favorite coffee place. But, alas, as happens more often in Brussels, our coffee place was closed due to important people wanting to talk to other important people and they, of course, deemed it absolutely necessary that all roads and surrounding area be blocked off and closed down. So, no coffee for us, but we decided to check out one of our favorite book stores in the area: the Librairie Saint-Hubert.
There, I discovered the work of Miroslav Sasek. I must be the last person on earth to discover his genius (Sasek has been dead for a while now), but I am absolutely IN LOVE with Sasek's work. For those of you unfamiliar with him (as I was until today), Sasek (º1916-1980) was a Czech illustrator and painter, who published his 'This is...' children's book series from the 1950s until the 1970s. His books were so popular that they were turned into movies during the 1960s, and the books are now being reissued.
We purchased a copy of Sasek's first book 'This is Paris' - a beautiful, vibrant book of illustrations about, well, Paris. The book shows the magical side of Paris and guides you past important landmarks, depicts typically Parisian lifestyle and character and does so with a healthy dose of witty. If you ever get the chance to pick up one of Sasek's books, I would definitely recommend you do so.
Ash and I did get our latte's in the end. Of course, there would have been no need to walk all the way downtown for that, as we ended up sitting down at the Coffee Company near our house. Yumm. What a perfect day!
Written by AnnaDenise on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 23:00
Last week, my colleague D. and I got to work super-early so we'd be able to leave early to go see the Moomin exhibit at the Belgian Comic Strip Center not far from our office. The center is housed in an impressive Art Nouveau temple by architect Victor Horta (one of my favorite architects here in Brussels) in downtown Brussels and really is worth visiting just by itself.
When I was little, I used to love the Japanese TV adaptation of the Moomin comics, Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka, so it was wonderful to see the original drawings and paintings the talented Finnish artist Tove Jansson made during her lifetime. Although the exhibition space felt a bit cramped (so many drawings! so little room!), I have gained a new respect for Jansson's work after having the opportunity to see her original pencil sketches and inked drawings up close in the exhibition. Some people seem to get every line just right, every time.
Sadly enough, the second part of our trip to the center was a bit of a let-down. My colleague and I had hoped to pick up some Moomin books and gear on our way out in the gift shop, but either they had just sold out of everything, or the museum lacks business-sense, because the shop carried exactly two of Jansson's books and both of the editions were in French. No Moomin-gear in sight either. So, I ended up taking a French edition of The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My home because someone had reccomended the book to me for its outstanding cutout work.
And indeed, the book is just lovely. Someone told me that Jansson was only allowed to use two colors per spread, but that she got creative with the cutouts to enhance the book's coloring and sense of depth. Very inspirational and awe-inspiring!
Link: Belgian Comic Strip Center, Brussels
Written by AnnaDenise on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 16:00
Hahaaa, raad eens wie er vakantie heeft? That's right, moi! Dus kom ik lekker hier om jullie RSS-readertjes vol te stouwen met random informatie, want that's what I do in mijn vrije tijd. Nou ja dat, mijn 200 RSS feeds lezen op mijn nieuwe *kuch* iPhone (hier in België dus nog best wel hip), mijn vriend aan de Star Wars helpen (ik heb dus serieus vijf jaar lang 'the force'-grappen gemaakt die hij niet begreep (#nerd)) enne, me laten voeren door vrienden die helemaal naar Brussel komen om voor MIJ te koken (dit gaat een vereiste worden vanaf nu, denk ik).
Ennn zo nu en dan lees ik ook nog wel eens wat. Zo kreeg ik net op de valreep voor de kerst mijn eerste Uppercase magazine binnen én het artist book dat zij over de Zweedse kunstenares Camilla Engman hebben gemaakt.
Ten eerste: Ik ben verliefd op Uppercase magazine. Uppercase magazine wordt gemaakt door Janine Vangool en Deidre Martin en een boel vrijwilligers. Janine (curator, editor, uitgever en vormgever) begon in 2005 een galerie (Uppercase) in Calgary (Canada) en het blad komt voort uit haar werk voor de galerie. Het blad is geweldig mooi vormgegeven, prachtig kleurgebruik en goed gedrukt op stevig papier. Een abonnement op dit blad kost omgerekend tachtig euro voor vier afleveringen, maar dit zie je er gelukkig wel aan af.
Ten tweede: Ik ben verliefd op de Uppercase publicatie over het leven en werk van Camilla Engman. Wederom prachtig vormgegeven en er zitten een boel extra dingen bij (prints, kaarten). Daarnaast ben ik erg van het format onder de indruk. Het is het eerste boek in deze 'suitcase'-serie, dus ik ben benieuwd hoe de volgende boeken zullen zijn, maar dit boek is een perfect kijkje in het leven én de praktijk van de Zweedse kunstenares. Je stapt met dit boek écht even haar wereld en haar werk in. Het papier, de verhalen en de kleuren vormen samen een bijzonder fraai en verfrissend artist book.
Mocht je dus nog geld over hebben na de kerstdagen of gewoon überhaupt rijke stinkerd zijn, stuur mij je geld. Want ik ben natuurlijk reteblut nu. Of je kunt een kijkje nemen bij Uppercase en hén je geld sturen in ruil voor mooie blaadjes en boekjes. Dat kan natuurlijk ook... (*haaaa*ondankbare zwijnen*tsjoe!*)