Just revised my star rating up to 'amazing' because I can't get this book out of my head. It's just... well... amazing. As the title says, it's a collJust revised my star rating up to 'amazing' because I can't get this book out of my head. It's just... well... amazing. As the title says, it's a collection of essays, arranged by decade. These cover a range of topics, including artists such as Jackson Pollock, the Happenings, and the development of Kaprow's particular view of DIY performance art. Pretty much all the essays are very interesting, with many for me containing serious 'ah-ha!' moments. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this book again and again.
But the absolute best thing about this book? It's one of the best-written books I've read in ever so long. Really just beautifully written. Clear and elegant and well argued and just a joy to read. I don't think I had a single one of those moments when you end up reading the same paragraph over and over and over again because either you could not for the life of you work out what the author is trying to say, or simply because you were so bored by the language that you couldn't take it in. This book is fascinating subject matter hand-in-hand with elegant, clear prose. ...more
I think this is the best book on watercolours I've read so far. I've learned loads from it, even though it gives the impression of being quite light oI think this is the best book on watercolours I've read so far. I've learned loads from it, even though it gives the impression of being quite light on practical content, with only short text sections and a focus on the illustrations. I really liked too that it gives basic technical information for beginners, sections on laying out a picture and more advanced techniques for developing your painting, and even finishes up with a section on pricing your paintings. It's a beginner's book that doesn't assume a beginner will stay an amateur. It imparts a sense of ambition which I really really like and provides at least starting points with which to realise those ambitions. Great stuff!...more
I'm finding it kind of hard to review this book. It's taken me so long to get through that it feels a bit fragmented, plus as I'm reading it for my PhI'm finding it kind of hard to review this book. It's taken me so long to get through that it feels a bit fragmented, plus as I'm reading it for my PhD I've been very focused on things that connect to that (i.e. when he's talking about his work in progress or creative process) which has meant that bits where he's talking about other stuff, like the extended trip to India, became a bit of a slog.
That said, it was an enjoyable read and I think anyone who's interested in Kiefer will find his thought processes very interesting indeed, as well as the little insights into his life - which, I have to say, is not like my life at all, much as I would love to have a tiger :-)
I was surprised, given the title of 'Notebooks', that actually there's not really terribly much in here about Kiefer's work or working process. I feel this book should have more accurately been titled 'Diaries' or 'Journals'. To me a 'notebook' is somewhere where an artist develops his/her ideas into a form which can become a piece, but while there are hints in here of how the artist thinks, it's not really the place to come for revelations about how he works through his ideas to the point of the creation of the artwork. The whole 'Volume 1' business is also a red herring. It becomes clear quite quickly that Kiefer not only has been keeping these diaries for years, if not decades, but that he also keeps other notebooks as well. So this is merely 'Volume 1' of what has been selected to be published and does not indicate any sort of Ground Zero for his development as either artist or writer and in fact 1998-99 seems to be a completely arbitrary starting point.
He does write well, however, and has an idiosyncratic writing style which I haven't come across in any other diaries which is to refer to himself in the second person. This felt decidedly odd at first but I quickly became accustomed to it. The other oddity is that unlike most diaries, he doesn't just write a single entry for each date recorded; instead he notes the time of the entry and sometimes he'll write a single line at 11 in the morning and then a longer paragraph at 5 in the afternoon. He writes quite a lot about the act of writing, and specifically the minutiae of typing on his laptop.
I ended up reading a few entries a night when I went to bed and it's a nice way to read this. When he really gets into an idea, it becomes quite dense and I found I could only read a couple of entries like this before my brain needed time to absorb concepts; but at other times he's merely reporting what's gone on and how he feels about it, which is nice and low-key for bedtime reading. I found his writing style and random observations kept these sections from becoming dull.
So overall, I found it an enjoyable book, and well worth reading for a Kiefer fan. It's not the right book if you don't already know something about his work because you really do need that context, and I don't think anyone who knows his work but has no more than a passing interest will find it fascinating. I suspect my own enjoyment was coloured by my initial expectation that it would contain detailed notes on the development of artworks, which it doesn't really, which feels a little unfair but there it is. I'm actually going back to the start again because I didn't start taking notes until about 2/3 of the way through, when I started the PhD, so I'll be interested to see whether I enjoy it more now that I have a more accurate view of what it is....more
An excellent brief overview of designing (and coding) responsive websites, including some discussion of the Mobile First principle and some great techAn excellent brief overview of designing (and coding) responsive websites, including some discussion of the Mobile First principle and some great techniques to get your pages resizing correctly. Short but very useful....more
This is an excellent book which I come back to regularly to dip into. Should be required reading for every artist of any sort and for anyone who livesThis is an excellent book which I come back to regularly to dip into. Should be required reading for every artist of any sort and for anyone who lives with or has regular contact with artists as it is spot-on about the huge role that fear plays in creative work and how important it is for that work....more
Well, this was a brilliant book. I should probably admit that even though I have a postgraduate design degree, I'm not a designer - I'm a classical coWell, this was a brilliant book. I should probably admit that even though I have a postgraduate design degree, I'm not a designer - I'm a classical composer and web interface developer - but in spite of the title, I think this is a fantastic book for anyone who is aiming to work, or trying to set their own business up, in pretty much any creative industry. The advice, while design-centric, can mostly be easily applied to other creative areas, and it gives a really fresh perspective on finding jobs and self promotion in particular.
One of the things I liked best about this book was that Shaughnessy's advice on how to move forward in your career was all based around sound ethical principles - do good work regardless of what you're being paid, contribute to your industry, help other practitioners and stand by what you believe. All sound advice and it's fantastic to see someone advocating getting ahead by being a good person. Three cheers for Adrian Shaughnessy!
Another thing I liked is that this could so easily be a read-once-and-discard kind of book, but the way the information has been tackled and presented means it's not. Its information can be useful all the way from student through to running your own business, plus the interviews and the chapters on self-promotion and the creative process have relevance no matter where your career is up to.
All in all, a fantastic book - and a very easy read too. A lot of books talking about business can be very dry; this one certainly isn't. And it looks nice too :-)...more
Well, first up, this has been the easiest read of any web book I've ever tackled. I *zoomed* through it. And the information is really interesting. YeWell, first up, this has been the easiest read of any web book I've ever tackled. I *zoomed* through it. And the information is really interesting. Yes, quite a bit of it is common sense; yes, there's some repetition, but I think it's an excellent introduction to how people behave online. It's a book that would be useful not only for people developing social networks, but people attempting to achieve anything online.
It's also - apparently contrary to the title - not just for designers. The design that's being talked about covers every aspect of a site's design - from the initial idea and approach, through system design, form design and graphic design, and I would recommend it to anyone who is working with websites, or thinking of starting up a web project. Excellent examples, easy to read, not too long, plus a wealth of links for further reading....more
I love this book. I found it in the bookshop of the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen and had trouble leaving it there, but ultimately luggage weightI love this book. I found it in the bookshop of the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen and had trouble leaving it there, but ultimately luggage weight won out and Amazon came to my rescue. I find just flipping through it fills me with ideas. The images are beautiful and interesting and I like the interviews too (although there's quite a heavy leaning towards people from advertising - I'd like to see a second volume with a few more people from other creative disciplines - the composers, illustrators, website designers and so on). One of the most interesting things I discovered in this book was how very many of the people interviewed collect stuff. Most of them admit to collecting something, whether it be shoes or scraps of material, or just random things they like the look of. Suddenly my collection of random bits of paper I can't bear to throw away was justified!...more