Recently I have been 'reading' a lot of photography books. (But let's just face it... no one actually READS these things. Honestly, it just takes up sRecently I have been 'reading' a lot of photography books. (But let's just face it... no one actually READS these things. Honestly, it just takes up space between the pretty photos.) These books to me are like the adult version of picture books you read as a child. They are really pretty to look at, but also they trick you into learning things.
DAMN YOU BOOKS!! Always trying to teach me things.
About the book itself, I would highly recommend for the frequent library user (or if you work in a public library like me.)
And I wish I had thought of this book before our author because this just seems like the best job ever.
I honestly have no desire to learn Chinese, but I am a big fan of Shaolan Hsueh as a graphic designer. I love that she decided to incorporate two loveI honestly have no desire to learn Chinese, but I am a big fan of Shaolan Hsueh as a graphic designer. I love that she decided to incorporate two loves of hers, the Chinese language and design. The book is pure eye candy, and some of the character designs are quite clever. I have no idea how the book functions as a tool for learning the actually language... this may be why I gave it such a high rating.
I guess I would have to say that this book is worth a look, but I might just leave the learning of Chinese to Rosetta Stone. ...more
I must confess I read Saints before I read Boxers. I found this graphic novel to be more enjoyable after I read Boxers, although I am glad I read SainI must confess I read Saints before I read Boxers. I found this graphic novel to be more enjoyable after I read Boxers, although I am glad I read Saints first, considering the ending was not spoiled for me. I have read other reviewers on here who have said that the author Yang, is a devote Catholic, and I did get that vibe from the WAY he wrote about Catholicism. While he does not seem to relay the idea that all catholics are perfect, he seems to suggest that Catholicism filled a void for a certain type of Chinese, like Four Girl, who did not fit in the confides of their feudal society.
The most powerful part of the novel (view spoiler)[ When Vibiana is murdered by Bao after refusing to revoke her faith and cites the Lord's prayer (hide spoiler)]to me is more moving than Boxers, and Vibiana/ Four Girl's journey to find a loving family is more relatable.
(view spoiler)[ I also found the ending with Bao citing the Lord's prayer to save his own skin at the end an interesting twist, like Yang is saying the greatest heroes/marauders are lost to history. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, if you want a good cry, read this series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Norman Rockwell is what us illustrators consider a success. He is what the art world considers a propaganda artist, in the same vein as Thomas KinkadeNorman Rockwell is what us illustrators consider a success. He is what the art world considers a propaganda artist, in the same vein as Thomas Kinkade; saccharine, kitschy and AMERICAN. He was an illustrator during a time where illustration was not considered “high art,” yet he was a household name. I too must confess that I found him to be a droll and not thought provoking. A “he keeps the masses happy” AKA the Jerry Bruckheimer of illustration. So I am glad that I read this book, because I found that I related to his process and art more than I expected to.
While I found most of this enjoyable, I will say that this book had a tendency to drag on. The author decides to investigate his life year by year, which leads to a 400+ pages of him going and coming from California, marrying women he was not sexual attracted to, and forming unusual strong bonds with men. This ‘attraction’ to men was also another issue I had with the author. While this assumption may be true, the era in which Rockwell lived was one of a male obsession with manliness. This was the era of Sigmund Freud, who never gave a second thought to women other than having ‘penis envy;’ Thomas Eakins was famous for painting active men and boys at swimming holes, playing baseball, etc. I feel that Rockwell was more product of this time frame (which seems like a reaction to the women’s suffrage movement) when intense friendships with men were the norm.
Other than these issues, I found that I learned a lot about Rockwell and a little bit about myself in the process. And isn’t that what reading is about anyway? ...more
In this review, I was inspired to write a personal story about a local pine in my neighborhood. So if you’re looking for a review of the book (and couIn this review, I was inspired to write a personal story about a local pine in my neighborhood. So if you’re looking for a review of the book (and could care less about my story) here it is: The book is about a bunch of old trees in New York City. The author gives account into each tree’s species and its possible history accompanied with a photograph.
Now on to my story. It’s a long one, so just be aware of that…
Like most people born and raised in Michigan, I have a lot of stories about trees. But one story in particular stuck out to me as I read this book.
Back when I was probably about 6 years old, I had this childhood friend named Nicole (who I actually am still friends with after 20 years!) She lived around the corner from me. At the time, we had just recent seen the movie Pocahontas and were obsessed with anything to do with the film. I had even dressed up as her for Halloween that year, albeit I was far from convincing as a blue eyed blonde girl with pigtails. At one point in the film, Pocahontas talks to her spirit guide, a talking Willow tree name ‘Grandmother Willow.’ For some reason, Pocahontas was not alarmed by this, and in fact took to talking to Grandmother Willow on what seems like a daily basis. Grandmother Willow, in our young minds, was pretty much the best thing we had ever seen. A scary talking tree? Sounds like a win for every 6 year old.
Nicole and I decided that our spirit guide/wise sage must be out there for us, because we were basically the same as Pocahontas. I would like to say that our search was far and wide, where we interviewed trees, asking them certain questions like, “If my mom says that eating ice cream before dinner is a bad thing, what would you say grandmother tree?” (And she would say nothing, because she/he is a tree.) But in fact, we settled on the pine trees about 30 feet from my house, on the corner near a very busy street in front of an apartment complex. Relics from the 1950’s, when the old apartment complex was once a ski resort, these trees were planted to give the ‘resort’ a northern feel and to block gawkers from looking into people’s windows. The pine trees were massive, with thick long branches that made it easy for small children to climb very high. Nicole and I settled on one tree in particular, due its lack of new prickly pine needles and sticky sap, but also branches that could hold our weight without fear of breaking beneath our feet. We named her Grandmother Pine.
All summer long we would climb Grandmother Pine, testing the limits of how high we could soar above the ground. Though only about 5 feet from the earth, the tree somehow made me feel that I could see all over the city (at least across the street anyway.) We began to name the other trees surrounding Grandmother pine to Brother pine, Sister Pine. Yes, there was a whole pine family for us to explore. Often we would bring a lunch on warm summer days so we could spend more time among the trees. My mother, encouraged that unlike my brothers I had no desire to play video games inside for hours, would pack some fruit snacks and Capri Suns to keep us well hydrated and fueled.
The residents of the apartment complex did not find Nicole and my behavior, unlike my mother, to be amusing. I’m sure looking back through an adult’s eyes, watching two 6 year old girls climb higher and higher up a tree unsupervised was viewed as a lawsuit waiting to happen. Even as a child, I began to notice that the residents would stare at us as they would walk their dogs.
There was one traumatic day that stopped us from ever going back. It was like any other day, sunny and warm, and perfect day for a picnic, and Nicole and I decided that once again to walk the 30 feet to see the tree we had spent all summer enjoying company with. We sat underneath Grandmother’s braches, enjoying the coolness of shade as usual, when all of a sudden, we spotted several dogs who were running at us, full speed. Now even though I remember being terrified as a child, I do remember that these dogs were tiny, mostly likely, some sort of Pomeranian. The pack of deadly fur-balls leapt toward us (probably because we had food, but to a 6 year old they were out for blood) and Nicole and I quickly scrambled up the tree to save ourselves from the onslaught. We tearfully watched as the dogs viscously picked away at our fruit snacks and Capri suns. After what felt like days, the owner of the fluffy death squad called them back to his side. We took the opportunity to run, full sprint, all the way back home, like Abraham helping his nephew Lot escape from Sodom and Gomorra, never looking back.
We didn’t return for the rest of the summer. Our fascination with Pocahontas had slowly began to wane and I’m sure we began to focus on some other Disney movie. Not until next summer did I go back to visit my Grandmother pine. But by this time the residents had become fed up with kids climbing up the tree. As it turns out, some other children had also taken to Grandmother pine. When I went to visit her a year later she had been maimed; her large sappy branches near the bottom had been chopped off, pocked scars along her truck. I could no longer reach the nearest branch.
Trees have deep meaning to communities. Sometimes we plant them and watch them grow, into old age, where they outlast us for generations. These trees are relics of a past human imprint, a moment in history. Sometimes we forget that great trees may be all around us, like next to a freeway in New York City or 30 feet from your childhood home. So I highly recommend New York City of Trees to anyone who is interested who has ever spent a summer climbing a tree. ...more
Before I read this book I was like an infant learning to walk. Now after completing David Rees' instruction manual for sharpening pencils I feel as thBefore I read this book I was like an infant learning to walk. Now after completing David Rees' instruction manual for sharpening pencils I feel as though I could run a thousand miles. Thanks David for showing me the artisanal craft of a sharpened pencil. And may I never use an electric pencil sharpener again....more
I remember the first time I visited the Chicago Art Institute. It was a blistering hot summer day and my mother and I had just spent several hours seaI remember the first time I visited the Chicago Art Institute. It was a blistering hot summer day and my mother and I had just spent several hours searching for inexpensive parking (which does not exist in the Loop.) We had made the trip down from Grand Rapids to take a tour of the school located near and in the Art Institute. To me, this was the epitome of what I wanted to be after high school, a coffee drinking, Wicker Park living, city dweller with a canvas strapped to my back as I sneered and tourists who crowded MY streets as I was trying to get to class.
Thankfully, this is did not happen. I ended up at a liberal arts college studying painting with professors who did not see me as a potential threat to their own careers. But I always wondered what my life would have been like if I had chosen that path. Would I be a different person? Would I still live in Chicago? Would I be a successful artist by now (this would probably still be a no)?!?
If my life turned out like Harold Knishke’s, I think I may have enjoyed my life in Chicago.
Harold Knishke wanders around downtown Chicago one summer day after being told my his flute instructor that he was the worst flute player ever. THE WORST. His tutor even offers to buy Harold’s flute off of him so he is never tempted to pick up his instrument again. As Harold walks, he recalls last night when his friend Geets crawls through his window, bringing him Guinness and a banana, in honor of the dead gorilla named Bushman. In a chance meeting, a beatnik girl sitting on the steps of the Art Institute tells him that he needs to look at a painting inside. “It does things,” she claims. Harold does indeed stare at the painting and as he does he is transformed. The world to him looks a little bit off; better, but off. Through more chance meetings Harold enrolls in a life drawing class and decided that he wants to be an artist, he just isn’t sure if he knows what one is yet.
Surprisingly deep for a children’s novel, Bushman Lives! covers some pretty complex themes. Ranging from political systems like socialism, to the philosophies of art, these concepts were handled in a simplistic and understandable way. Harold contemplates what art is and what makes a great artist. (Sad to say, but sometimes I don’t even know what great art is.)
In the end, we never learn if Harold decided to be an artist. But what we do know is that Harold made a decision that changed the course of his life.
If I learned anything from art school, this is the kind of painting I want to create; with or without a Chicago Art Institute Education. ...more
I will first start this review by saying WOW. Now when I mean wow, I mean it in the sense that Ken Perenyi's life is like watching one of those crazyI will first start this review by saying WOW. Now when I mean wow, I mean it in the sense that Ken Perenyi's life is like watching one of those crazy documentaries on the history channel, which you are pretty sure are fabricated, but it is just so FASCINATING (and you can't find the remote to change the channel anyway.) Ken lived near ANDY WARHOL and even sold a fake painting to him! Roy Cohn saved Ken from getting evicted from his apartment! Ken tricked Sotheby's into buying one of his paintings and it sold for $700,000 in an auction! This is only a small part of Ken Perenyi's life, and it all started by chance.
At the age of 17, Ken is living in the hometown of Frank Sinatra (Hoboken, New Jersey) and he happens to meet two artists who live in a large house that is dubbed 'the castle.' From that moment on, Ken meets famous artists, actors, and writers that sets him on the path of becoming a painter. He begins to copy 19th century dutch paintings and learns he has a knack for reproducing them to the point that they are indistinguishable from the original.
If you are like me, at this point you are asking yourself why he didn't just make his own paintings. If Ken is that good and painting (which he is) he should have no trouble making a legitimate living?
If there is an overall theme to this book I would say this: Fate is a funny thing (thank you Mumford and Sons for that great lyric.) Somehow, where we want to be and who we want to be is not where we end up. Ken wanted to be a legitimate artist, but fate is a funny thing.
But I will warn you: I actually hate Ken Perenyi. He is not a good guy. He writes the book as if what he is doing is divined by God himself, (although he steals, lies and cheats his way into a fortune.) And on top of not liking Ken's smug attitude, the novel was like reading a really long essay by a high school senior. Ken's writing style is so direct and bland sometimes it felt like I was back in Edinburgh and eating that flavorless roast beef, and waiter asks, "Can I get you anything?" And I reply, "Bring me ALL the SALT and PEPPER you have."
If you can handle these two negative elements, its an interesting read if you are fascinated by those that live extraordinary lives.
I found that this book listed everything I already knew about the creative process and how to be a working artist. Don't get me wrong here, I thoughtI found that this book listed everything I already knew about the creative process and how to be a working artist. Don't get me wrong here, I thought it was an amazing book and was putting togther in a creative manner. I mean I gave it four stars! But maybe it was just me and the art school I graduated from but all these "secrets" were recited to us daily by all my professors. Move away from home and travel a lot? WHAT?!? Mind blowing. Carry and sketch book and have interests in things other than art? CRAZY TALK. I guess I shouldn't be harsh; this book could be very inciteful for some. I do recommend this to non-artists especially. Those people for some reason think that art and the creative process is easy and fun!...more
If anyone is unclear about what a hipster is, then look no further than this book! But honestly, as a disenfranchised artist, the novel was a glimpseIf anyone is unclear about what a hipster is, then look no further than this book! But honestly, as a disenfranchised artist, the novel was a glimpse into the dilemma that we art students face after college. Our professors want us to be avant-garde and to challenge the art world, but if we do not fit into the art student mold, we are dismissed. After school, I think the key to being an artist is to make. I thought this book captures that sense of pointlessness we can feel when our lives are stagnant. But we are not unchanging. Even the little things are meaningful and shape our future selves. The journey is always more rewarding than the destination. Anyway, I highly recommend this book (though it may just be me). ...more
So when I decided to read this book, my friends laughed at me. "Really?" they would say, "A book about color?" Anyone who has ever seen my paintings kSo when I decided to read this book, my friends laughed at me. "Really?" they would say, "A book about color?" Anyone who has ever seen my paintings knows that I love color. So I figured a little investigation into the history of the palette would enrich my perspective of the colors choices I make. In a sense this book did provide a sort of enlightenment to the process; but for me the most intriguing aspect of Victoria Finlay's journey was the actual travel itself. I could not help but be jealous of her world tour in the search of ancient color. Finlay traveled to Afghanistan both pre and post 9/11 in search of Ultramarine, and I'm not sure how she did it (let alone survived it!). However, the book can be a little dry at times, (which is why I gave it a three) and it is NOT for everyone, but for us artsy types, this is a recommended read. ...more
A few years ago when I was still in art school, becoming a professional artist was like a fairy tale. Like Cinderella, a fairy godmother (art critic)A few years ago when I was still in art school, becoming a professional artist was like a fairy tale. Like Cinderella, a fairy godmother (art critic) would use her magical powers to transform you into a real respected artist. So would begin the life of balls and auctions, Venice Biennales and Art Fairs. The life you once knew (which included painting in a small room with no ventilation and barely making enough money to buy supplies) would be over, and everything would be given to you like a princess. But the difference between becoming an artist versus becoming a princess is that (obviously) several people somehow achieve this fairy tale, and I just didn’t know how. So when Goodreads recommended this book to me, I thought I would be a chance at a glimpse of what I could possibly achieve someday.
“Seven Days In the Art World” is an examination of the contemporary art world and the people who inhabit it. From art auctions to art school critiques, the book focuses on the subtle aspects that make this world so unique. With my background, it was easy for me to pick up the book and be fascinated by it. I could see if someone had no passion for art how this book could be a snorefest. But if you are like me, and enjoy reading about people who have successfully pulled off this fairy tale life, this IS the book for you. ...more