For a 1954 Cheever story from the New Yorker archives. Thanks AD Jordan!
Speaking of the magazine’s archives, I read Ridgway’s Goo Book last night, it’s excellent.
After a few hours of smalltalk I tuned out of the immediate conversation and listened to the ones beyond my reach. I focused on a cluster and moved closer—its half-formed shape soon dissolved and broke into words and pauses. I thought if I could divorce myself from all conception of language & communication at will I could watch these soundshapes like in one of Ballard’s sonic installations. Well, I couldn’t do that, so I had loads of wine and guacamole (which was excellent) and next day tried to approximate my brief disengagement in vector form.
It will be the opening page of Yellow Zine 5: smalltalk, which you can still preorder for ~20 more hours.
Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter and/or helped to spread the word!
So I designed & illustrated the Centennial Edition of James Joyce’s “Dubliners" for Penguin Classics.
Early on I decided against writing any blurbs & bios, instead I wanted to approximate Joyce’s techniques in visual arrangement, medium and form. I started with an infinite crowd frozen between movement and paralysis, for the back cover I played with various links between the stories and designed the flappy layout accordingly: it opens with the beginning of “The Sisters” and closes with the ending of “The Dead,” at which point you dear reader should be in tears.
"Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger."
I remember being lulled by the narrowing sweeps of the book’s final passages and feeling that the 27 slowly sailing through the tenderloin is no longer the same 27, not sure how, just the vague sensation of a translucent film newly pasted between the vision and the brain, ineluctable modality et all. Joyce’s imagery is already complete in its universality and exactitude making any attempt at illustration pointless by default and no, I’m not just dissing myself, I only wanted to put a link to these brilliant Joyce covers by Peter Mendelsund.
Great big thanks to Paul Buckley (his Penguin 75 is a must-read) for the assignment and for allowing me to do the entire design, I’m deeply honored to be in the company of all my cartooning heroes: Seth, Sammy Harkham, Ivan Brunetti, Jason and many others. In fact I think I’m the only one in that company who doesn’t have a book. Yet.
For the spread I referenced Pirosmani and a few other Georgian painters, for the spots I followed Gideon’s perambulations, and for the recipes I drew some goofy vegetables and herbs.
I always try to find a personal connection to an extensive assignment like this one, and having a well-written text and a relevant theme justifies my slightly torturous process (yes, each little shape is hand-drawn with brush & ink). Speaking of process, I recently had a video chat about it with Matthew the Horse.
In my youth I’d endured a great deal of such daylong feasts, brought on by my immigrant family to distract us from the reality of Russia of the 80s-90s. Both our steaming brightlit kitchen and the vast grey outside instilled in me the doubling sense of alienation that I still carry around in my breast pocket. During my last trip to Moscow, after a customary daylong feast, I wondered at the foreignness I suddenly felt about the place, as if I was visiting an exotic land after reading about it for a bit too long. I realized that the last five years distanced the country of my psyche that I still live in from the country that remained, distanced it enough to make me feel like I was taking a tour of an ineptly choreographed reconstruction of my own past. It was that, or plain indigestion.
Thanks AD Walter for the assignment and for the typographical treatment!
Here’s a t-shirt I designed for a local foodtruck-herding network.
I thought it would be nice to force myself out of my comfort zone and put together a clean three-Pantone print in Illustrator which I’ve never done before. Unfortunately it didn’t get printed too well (see exhibit 3), apparently the vectors I sent them were fit "for silk screen printing… not for screen printing." Yes, I know…
At the event I watched processions of expectant faces stretch out before the trucks for hours. From my Russian childhood I associate lines with desperation and fear—a raise in price/futility doesn’t change a thing—it’s still people waiting in line for food. Will Self likened foodism to ”coprophilia in advance," and yes, they were languidly thumbing their twitterfeeds in bathroom lines too.
Then I spent my dinner token on a regrettable burrito and went home.