Category Archives: Art & Design

A penny for your thoughts …

Have you ever seen an artist’s work and wondered “what’s the thinking process behind this?” Here are some selections from the New Book shelf that give a look inside the heads of some idiosyncratic visual thinkers. In some the artists themselves reflect on their creative process.

cartoonistsComics About Cartoonists by Various, Craig Yoe, Jack Cole

 

What’s cooler than comics about cartoonist? NOTHING! This is mind-blowing, full-color hardback book collects rare comics about real and fictional cartoonists – created by the greatest cartoonists in the world! Read comics about cartoonists by the top illustrators and creators in the field: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jack Cole, Dick Briefer, Winsor McCay, Chester Gould, Sheldon Mayer, Milton Caniff, Ernie Bushmiller, Basil Wolverton, Siegel and Shuster, Will Eisner, Elzie Segar, and Harvey Kurtzman! Plus, more by Charles Schulz, George Herriman, and a 1940s comic about Walt Disney! It’s a veritable “Who’s Who” of great cartoonists, drawing superhero, horror, funny animal, funny people, war and romance comics… about cartoonists!

c62eff642da6d50f9c39c1c9b2143315Photographers sketchbooks

by Stephen McLaren, Bryan Formhals

 

Find out how Alec Soth constructs his projects, why Trent Parke relies on old-fashioned Polaroids and hand-made books, and how forty-one other photographers experiment with new and old technologies, turn their photo-diaries into exhibitions, and attract audiences of millions via online platforms.

This book celebrates the creative processes of the modern photographic era, in which blogs and Instagram streams function alongside analog albums and contact sheets, and the traditional notebook takes the form of Polaroid studies, smartphone pictures, found photography, experimental image-making, and self-published photo-zines. Each photographer presents his or her sketchbook: several pages of images that convey his or her working methods and thought processes. These intimate, one-off presentations are accompanied by engaging interviews that reveal how the simple act of pressing a shutter can capture and express a fully realized personal vision.

Three essays by the authors explore subjects at the cutting edge of contemporary practice. Designed to satisfy the most demanding of image junkies, this is an indispensable resource for anyone with an interest in photography or the creative process.

 crumb picThe weirdo years

by Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb 

 

All of Robert Crumb’s work from his very influential Weirdo magazine. Widely considered to be some of his best work ever. Weirdo was a magazine-sized comics anthology created by Robert Crumb in 1981, which ran for 28 issues. It served as a “low art” counterpoint to its contemporary highbrow Raw. Early issues of Weirdo reflect Crumb’s interests at the time: outsider art, fumetti, Church of the SubGenius-type anti-propaganda and assorted “weirdness.” The incredibly varied stories include TV Blues, Life of Boswell, People Make me Nervous, The Old Songs are the Best Songs,Uncle Bob’s Mid-Life Crisis, Kraft Ebbing’s’ Psycopathia Sexualis, Goldilocks, The Life of Philip K. Dick, and many more. Also within are several photo strip stories featuring Crumb himself and various of his trademark well-built women including his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb in tales such as Get in Shape and Unfaithful Husband.

Drawn to Drawing-cropDrawn to drawings by J.V. Lord

 

John Vernon Lord was born in England and worked as an illustrator author and teacher. He is known for illustrating many classics of children’s literature and fables, and for his own book, The giant jam sandwich.

Drawn to drawing features selections from Lord’s notebooks including sketches of the urban scene, ideas for his commercial work, and copious doodles done in academic meetings during his years as a teacher. His drawings are packed with imaginative incident and compositional surprise.

creative blockCreative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists

by Danielle Krysa 

 

Creative block presents the most crippling—and unfortunately universal—challenge for artists. No longer! This chunky blockbuster of a book is chock-full of solutions for overcoming all manner of artistic impediment. The blogger behind The Jealous Curator interviews 50 successful international artists working in different mediums and mines their insights on how to conquer self-doubt, stay motivated, and get new ideas to flow. Each artist offers a tried-and-true exercise—from road trips to 30-day challenges to cataloging the medicine cabinet— that will kick-start the creative process. Abundantly visual with more than 300 images showcasing these artists’ resulting work, Creative Block is a vital ally to students, artists, and creative professionals.

New books: Focus on photography

The new book shelf features quite a few beautiful  photography books. Here is a group, each one depicting the texture of daily life in a very different location: New York City, mid-20th century;  Naples, Italy; Braddock, Pennsylvania  and Southern California.

vivian-maier-a-photographer-found-book

Vivian Maier: A photographer found
TR659.8 .M35 2014

Vivian Maier’s story—the secretive nanny-photographer during her life who becomes a popular sensation shortly after her death—has, to date, been pieced together only from previously seen or known images she made and the handful of facts that have surfaced about her life. During her lifetime she shot more than 100,000 images, which she kept hidden from the world. In 2007, two years before her death, Chicago historic preservationist John Maloof discovered a trove of negatives, and roll upon roll of undeveloped film in a storage locker he bought at auction. They revealed a surprising and accomplished artist and a stunning body of work, which Maloof championed and brought to worldwide acclaim.

fink_render

 Larry Fink on composition and improvisation / introduction by Lisa Kereszi.
TR140.F56 A4 2014

In this book, Larry Fink—well-known for his layered pictures in social settings—explores composing photographs and improvising within a scene to create images with both feeling and meaning. Through words and photographs, he reveals insight into his own practice and discusses a wide range of creative issues, from connecting with the subject in front of the lens to shaping a vision that is authentic. Photographer Lisa Kereszi, a student of Larry Fink, provides the introduction.

Sultan

Larry Sultan : here and home / organized by Rebecca Morse ; essays by Philip Gefter, Sandra S. Phillips ; artist’s writings and quotes by Larry Sultan.
TR647 .S90 2014

Larry Sultan: Here and Home is the first retrospective of California photographer Larry Sultan (1946–2009). The exhibition includes more than 200 photographs ranging from Sultan’s conceptual and collaborative works of the 1970s to his solo works in the decades following. Sultan never stopped challenging the conventions of photographic documentation, exploring themes of family, home, and façade throughout his career. Five major bodies of work are represented including: Evidence (1977), made collaboratively with Mike Mandel; Swimmers (1978–81); Pictures from Home (1982–92); The Valley (1998–2003); and Homeland (2006–2009). The show is augmented by a “study hall,” with documentation and ephemera providing a glimpse of Sultan’s modes of inquiry as an artist and a teacher.

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 Latoya Ruby Frazier : the notion of family / essays by Dennis C. Dickerson and Laura Wexler ; interview by Dawoud Bey.
TR681.F28 F73 2014

In this, her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political—an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region. Frazier has compellingly set her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work documents her own struggles and interactions with family and the expectations of community, and includes the documentation of the demise of Braddock’s only hospital, reinforcing the idea that the history of a place is frequently written on the body as well as the landscape.

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Gomorrah girl / Valerio Spada.
TR681.Y6 S63 2014

“Gomorrah Girl shows the problems of becoming a woman in a dangerous, crime-ridden area,” says Spada, who studied in Milan and has worked as a fashion photographer. “At age 9 they make themselves up as TV personalities and dream of becoming one of them. At age 13 or 14 they often become mothers, skipping the adolescence which is lived fully everywhere else in Italy.”

The story comes together in the book’s innovative design—Spada’s own documentary photographs, along with a smaller book of photographs detailing the police investigation, are bound together. Captions offer details into the personal tragedies suffered by the subjects alongside stone-cold factual information provided by police evidence. “At first glance, Gomorrah Girl may seem to be an unassuming even haphazard book,” says Larissa Leclair, a photography curator/writer and a judge in this year’s contest, “but as each page unfolds, the viewer is challenged by layers of meaning.”

Interaction Design students tackle the Library

Fall Semester, 2014

During the summer of 2014, librarian Caitlin Kilgallen reached out to MFA Interaction Design chair Liz Danzico with nothing more than a vague notion that the library could use some help and Interaction Design could probably do something for us.  Liz connected us with Prof. Alex Wright‘s Research Methods course.  It is a half semester 7 week course.  The students learn usability testing, conduct field studies, create surveys and learn how to frame and solve problems.  The library became their client.  The class was divided into 4 groups with each group responsible for a library stakeholder: undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and librarians. Each group identified a cohort which was a guide and tool as they examined and evaluated the library’s physical and digital presence.  At the end of the semester the designers gave 4 presentations (one for each group), showcasing their findings and offering solutions.  The presentations were impressive and thoughtful.  It was a very rewarding experience with many areas for library improvement being identified.

Spring Semester, 2015

Building on their work in the Research Methods course, IxD students continued their work with the library in Prof. Jennifer Brook‘s UX Fundamentals class during the Spring semester. In this class, students tackle design problems with concept sketching, mapping, and wire-framing, primarily for screen-based experiences and occasionally for physical spaces. Librarians Caitlin Kilgallen and Phoebe Stein visited the MFA Interaction Design studios for research and facilitation meetings with the graduate students. The students were again split into four teams, each working on a different design problem within the library experience. Three of the four teams worked on website-specific improvements, building wire frames and user experiences for the library homepage plus specific tasks like placing holds, accessing their user accounts, and using the library’s federated database search tool. The fourth team focused on improving the entrance experience in the physical library space through the creation of an interactive kiosk.

do-feel-say

Group B’s Do/Feel/Think/Say chart.

Over 2 sessions, the four teams elicited responses from librarians using a “Do, Feel, Think/Say” approach. For each user experience, like using the homepage, librarians were asked what we wanted our users to be able to Do on the homepage, what we wanted them to Feel after using it, and what we wanted them to Think or Say about the homepage. Each response was recorded on a sticky note, and librarians and students used colored stickers to vote on what they thought were the most important features to be incorporated into the new designs.

Presentations

On February 19th, librarians Robert Lobe, Caitlin Kilgallen, Phoebe Stein, and David Pemberton visited MFA IxD again to view the students’ design presentations. Each group gave a 15-minute presentation of their research findings on the library experience, and demonstrated their redesigns with wire frames, task walk-throughs, and images.

wireframes

Library homepage wire frame from Group A

useraccount

Group D’s design solution for library user accounts

Group C's interactive kiosk map.

Group C’s interactive kiosk map.

The SVA Library is currently working with a developer to redesign the library website, and this collaboration with the Interaction Design department has greatly helped to steer the design focus of our new homepage and how users will interact with the library.

Books to Improve Your Writing

Because art students have to write papers, too, here’s a sampling of books on writing at the SVA Library.  Need more help? Ask a Librarian!

index

How to Write Anything by Laura Brown / PE1408 .B8573 2014

A practical guide to everything you’ll ever need to write—at work, at school, and in your personal life, including college essays, cover letters, sympathy notes, wedding toasts, and much more.

 

 

 

a08-1The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White / PE1408 .S772 2005

This much-loved classic will forever be the go-to guide when in need of a hint to make a turn of phrase clearer or a reminder on how to enliven prose with the active voice. The only style manual to ever appear on bestseller lists has explained to millions of readers the basic principals of plain English, and Maira Kalman’s fifty-seven exquisite illustrations give the revered work a jolt of new energy.

 

index (2)

Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers by Laurie Rozakis / LB1047.3 .R69 1999

The experts at Schaum’s are at your service-ready to help you with concise, complete, step-by-step instructions that will make writing research papers a breeze, not a burden. The clear, concise guidelines and in-depth instruction in this book will show you how to write high-quality research papers that will help you succeed academically and in the professional world.

 

indexYour Research Project: A Step-by-Step Guide for the First Time Researcher by Nicholas Walliman / LB2369 .W26 2005

In this new edition of Your Research Project, Nicholas S.R. Walliman has made this bestselling book even better with the addition of a number of new features whilst retaining all the benefits of the original. New features include: more elaboration on the differing needs of masters and PhD students; a new overview of the entire research chronology from start to finish; student checklists throughout; a new chapter on research ethics; new sections on critical reading skills and compiling literature reviews; examples from a wide range of disciplines and a student glossary.

Archival Highlights on Display

At the start of every semester, archives staff curates and displays items from the Milton Glaser Design Study Center & Archives and the SVA Archives in the vitrine located across from the circulation desk at the library entrance. Items in the vitrine highlight thematic topics or patterns within particular collections that might not be apparent from their provenance-based organization.

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The current installation showcases an overview of the items held in the archives at SVA. It includes works by David Mazzucchelli, Pablo Ferro, George Tscherny, Louise Fili, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar, Tony Palladino, Seymour Chwast, Eileen Boxer, James McMullan, and Mel Bochner, as well as the student publications Passion and FreeMan. For a complete description of the items on display, see Vitrine 05 Various Media.

Take a look the next time you’re in the library, and for more collection highlights, visit Container List, the archives blog.

Previous installations:

  1. SVA Identity Materials: logo evolution and associated materials from the school since its founding as the Cartoonists & Illustrators School in 1947. (Spring 2013)
  2. Chermayeff & Geismar corporate symbols (Fall 2013)
  3. Tony Palladino’s book jackets (Spring 2014)
  4. Product photography by Henry Wolf (Fall 2014)

 

Graphic Novels – NEW BOOKS

Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs 

PN6733.J33 S24 2014

Join a pair of young newlyweds as they descend deep into a mysterious forest, encountering unknown creatures and unimaginable landscapes. Amongst the unusual flora and fauna, they discover within themselves something more strange and terrible than any sight their safari has to offer.

“What at first seems like a familiar story trope — an older, rich lout and nubile, young wife go on safari led by a macho, knowledgeable guide — becomes under Jacobs’ hands something altogether strange, haunting, unexpected and altogether extraordinary.”                               — Chris Mautner, Comic Book Resources

“Presenting nature as a pitiless arena for survival of the fittest isn’t the most original of scenarios, but Jacobs’ presentation is wonderfully fresh and drolly humorous – a genuinely personal vision … [he] is a cartoonist gifted with tremendous imagination and one-of-a-kind visual acumen.”                                                                             — Rob Kirby, The Comics Journal

Safari Honeymoon, as an exemplar of the next generation of comics storytelling, takes the medium to a different place, a place that may be best analogous to poetry.”                                                                                — Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

Jesse Jacobs was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, and now draws comics and things from his home in London, Ontario. In 2009, his books Small Victories and Blue Winter were short listed at the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning. He received the Gene Day Award for best Canadian Comic Book Self-Publisher of 2008. Even the Giants (AdHouse, 2011) marked his major publishing debut after several award-winning, self-published titles. He has worked on the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, and his work has appeared in the acclaimed Latvian comics anthology š!, as well as the 2012 and 2013 editions of Best American Comics published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

Only Skin by Sean Ford

PN6727.F63 O55 2012

This is the debut graphic novel from Sean Ford, published by the ever-exciting Secret Acres. It follows the lives of two orphans in what could easily be a post-apocalyptic world, but is actually modern rural America. The same desperation and unease that marks Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is also present here, with some unexpected and surreal interjections of the supernatural that make for an unpredictable and thoroughly engaging narrative. It’s all rendered in a style that recalls Dylan Horrocks and Craig Thompson, establishing Ford as a strong contender for the best new artist to emerge this year.                                                         — Gavin Lees, Bleeding Cool 

Sean Ford s Only Skin is just the sort of comic book I like reading. Not only a tale of quirky surreal horror, intrigue, adventure and exquisite humor, this book has a great amount of heart.                                                                                                                    — Farel Dalrymple, of Omega the Unknown and Pop Gun War

Sean Ford creates a world that s both eerie and warmly mundane. Not an easy feat.                                                                                                                                                 — Alison Bechdel, author of the best-selling graphic memoir

Here is a 2012 Comics Reporter interview with Ford.

 

Last Days of the Immortal by Gwen De Bonneval & Fabien Vehlmann

PN6747.V44 D4713 2012

Gwen De Bonneval’s beautiful illustrations and stunning vision of the future had me studying every page for minutes on end.                                                                            — Rich Johnton, Bleeding Cool 

Subtle, mature, and inventive, French team De Bonneval and Vehlmann deliver deliberate science fiction that evokes the classic books of the 1950s and 1960s, with a particular kinship to Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time.           — Publishers Weekly

In the distant future, Elijah is a member of the “Philosophical Police,” who must solve conflicts that arise out of ignorance of the Other. Two species are fighting a war with roots in a crime committed centuries ago, and Elijah must solve the crime and bring peace between their species, while also confronting his own immortality in a world where science provides access to eternal life. In a world where death no longer exists, why do so many want to give up on life? Serious, heavy-duty science fiction, with shades of JG Ballard, Gattaca, Solaris and THX 1138. Translated from the award-winning French graphic novel.

 

Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu: Vol. 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu. Volume 2 by Junko Mizuno

PN6727.M59 L58 2013

Adventures of a space alien in search of love in an off-kilter Tokyo, Pelu, the cute and fluffy gigolo from outer space, is back, determined to find himself true happiness in the form of a human bride.

Pelu’s quest to have a child continues to unfold across a surreal Tokyo cityscape populated by mythological creatures, loveable losers, living puppets, nymphomaniacs, and a visitor from Pelu’s own home world. Will Pelu finally gain the confidence to woo a bride? Can Pelu finally find a girl willing to stick around long enough to have his baby?

Artist Junko Mizuno unleashes her unique graphic storytelling sensibilities on a tale that’s frequently adorable, sometimes grotesque, and surprisingly moving.

Junko Mizuno is a Japanese artist known for mixing the adorable with the abhorrent. Born in Tokyo, she rose to acclaim with the publication of her original manga, Pure Trance. Mizuno has written and illustrated several subsequent books, and she regularly creates rock posters for cult bands like The Melvins and The Swans.

Mizuno’s style has been called “gothic kawaii,” because her dark themes are often cloaked within cute visuals. In addition to books and posters, her art has been made into clothing, housewares, designer toys and Swarovski crystal figurines. Mizuno exhibits her work internationally, and she is a frequent guest at comic conventions worldwide. Junko Mizuno currently lives and works in San Francisco.

Find out more at www.mizuno-junko.com

 

 

How to Whistle – RIP Lauren Bacall


Last week saw the passage of Lauren Bacall at the age of 89. Bacall’s career started off with a bang, starring in a Howard Hawks film, To Have and Have Not (see above and below) opposite her future husband,Humphrey Bogart.

On set for [To Have and Have Not], Bacall developed her trademark gesture, “>The Look.” Oddly enough, it began as a defense against nerves: Bacall had to keep her chin pressed against her chest to keep from shaking until just before the cameras rolled, causing her to begin every shot bringing her gaze upward. The project launched Bacall toward her reputation as a leading lady in the film noir genre.

To explore Bacall’s career – noir and otherwise – here some places to start:


Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not /screen play by Jules Furthman and William Faulkner ; directed by Howard Hawks. – V-F H384 To DVD


The Big Sleep / a Howard Hawks production – V-F H384 Big DVD


Dark passage / V-F D384 Dar DVD


Dogville / written and directed by Lars von Trier.


Ready to Wear / produced and directed by Robert Altman. – V-F A475 Rea DVD


Key Largo / directed by John Huston – V-F H877 Key DVD


Lauren Bacall by myself / Lauren Bacall – PN2287.B115 A35 1979