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Urgent 2nd Class: Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, and Other Art from Ephemera

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,320 ratings  ·  50 reviews
His internationally best-selling Griffin & Sabine saga is treasured for its blend of lyrical storyline and compelling, imaginative art. Now Nick Bantock gives a short course in visual creativity in Urgent 2nd Class. A tour through the techniques and materials which constitute his signature style, Bantock shares with readers numerous ways ways of using old paper ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 12th 2004 by Chronicle Books (first published June 15th 2004)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Hannah Greendale
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fans of Nick Bantock, and those wishing to emulate his art style, are liable to enjoy Urgent 2nd Class. Fair warning: The book purports to be a guide for replicating Bantock's artistic style, but instructions are minimal.

Chapters are divided into various types of ephemera: stamps, maps, engravings, photographs, etc. More than anything, the various chapters instruct the reader on where to search for such unique items, followed by a few examples on how to maximize their application.

Not everyone
Christina Bouwens
Long a fan of Bantock's work, this was simply the last book he's written that I haven't read, so I knew I would eventually get my hands on a cheaper, used copy and love it. It's not something to just flip through quickly, like a contemporary novel. It's to savour, to sift through, and to contemplate his artistry as well as what creative spark Bantock is either instilling in or nudging forward ... in you. I especially loved the sections on postcards, stamps, inkpad-stamping, and -- for sure -- ...more
Sarah Sammis
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading Nick Bantock's collage based short fiction books for about a decade. The first one I read, The Museum at Purgatory confused the heck out of me but I loved the illustrations. It wasn't until I discovered his Griffith and Sabine series that I really fell in love with his books.

Last year I decided I should read every book of his that I hadn't yet read. The last one on my list was Urgent Second Class. It's part memoir and part collage how-to and completely fascinating.

Bantock goes
Kate Thompson
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fun to peruse, but not much practical detail. Also, some of his artwork I find a little precious - he'll find a neat piece of old mail, for example, put a fake stamp on it and take credit for its awesomeness. That's not really original art, it's more a sign of you having a good eye and liking to collect weird stuff.
Somewhat interesting, but not engaging. I would hardly consider this to be an "art class", as the back-of-the-book blurb asserts.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was exactly what I wanted. I have loved Bantock's artwork and have been curious about creating collages such as his. My interest grew as my own love for botanical prints, worn out paper and stamps thrown together has grown. Art makes me go weak. Learning something about art is just wonderful, this books briefly discusses the various ephemera---from old receipts, stamps, documents, and postcards, as well as some simple methods or suggestions that can be used to create them.

This is not as
Jan Polep
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nick Bantock, author of the "Griffin & Sabine" saga, offers up ways to jazz up your walls, your personal histories, your great American novel...whatever you want to embellish using old letters, maps, postcards, old documents to make art that enhances whatever you are writing. Techniques included but not limited to collaging, rubber stamping, typing, cutting, books and magazines, money, and more. Family history buffs, take note.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fun read from the world of ephemera collage...Bantock has a decidedly irreverent take in his collage art that's highly appealing to me. He devotes a chapter to his creation of "dubious documents": improbable passports, envelopes that look as if theyve circled the world several times, ancient postcards that have apparently traveled thru time from sender to recipient. My favourites are his collection of rubber stamps that play on traditional post office jargon, such as "Armageddon: Last Day Cover" ...more
Apryl Anderson
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm a bit disappointed that my expectations failed me on this one, although I'm not sure why. What more can be said about gathering other people's junk and creating new lives and calling them 'art?' Maybe, "Why am I not doing this, too?" Isn't it obvious? Copying is lame. So what then is my response? The question is too open-ended...

The gluestick is now in my court.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Straddling the line between retrospective and collage technique instruction, this gorgeous book by Nick Bantock shares some of the secrets of his elaborate and visually stunning work. The visual equivalent of walking through the musty back rooms of a natural history museum.
Sherry (sethurner)
Mar 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, nonfiction
While there isn't much new in this slim book about the way Bantock works in his otherworldly collages, this is a beautifully illustrated book. He discusses some of the ways he acquires and manipulates ephemera, though never gives explicit directions. There is some lovely eye-candy here.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I actually hadn't looked too carefully at this when I got it from the library - turns out it's the same guy who did the Griffon and Sabine books! This was more of his collage and stamping. Aah. Now I have more inspiration for working with my leetle bottles - and wacky stuff. :P
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I just love Nick Bantock. I've admired his work for so long. This book shows a bit of his creative process and offers examples of how to make it your own.
Genevieve Dazet
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Pretty book, but Bantock's egotism got on my nerves pretty quick. I suppose all artists need a healthy dose of that, though.
Beth Wisniewski
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Bantock's books are some of the coolest looking and best stories I've ever read! This one is nonfiction but I adore it just the same!
Johannah Gage
I adore Nick Bantock's art -- The Griffin and Sabine series originally inspired me to try art. I didn't realize that art could be so interesting and unusual. Every time I revisit his books (which should only be read in hardcover) I get a new spark of creative inspiration and energy. Plus, they are gorgeous books that are just FUN.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-journaling
Challenge: Grinchathon July Edition 2019 - Inspired by another reader (7). A simple yet highly aesthetic and balanced presentation of collage art a "visual poetry." What and how to use collected ephemera to combine "the contrived and organic" by the author of the Griffin and Sabine series. Inspired by Instagram/YouTube offerings and aesthetic sense of Paper Tams.
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a great source of inspiration if you like vintage engravings, photography, stamps, postcards, or if you've ever found yourself fascinated by foreign currency! Somehow, Nick Bantock has exactly the same interests and collecting habits that I have, and it's interesting to see how he uses those passions to fuel his artwork!
Sarah Lee
This book had amazing color images that were created by this artist. However based on the title I thought it would give more instruction but it really did not. The author explained a little how he put things together and where he finds his ephemera. Which it had a bit more how-to in it.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very inspirational but not very pragmatic. A lot of ideas--but not very much a way in process other than "have a lot of eclectic ephemera in your house".

Most of it is not modified so much--its more just embellishing on facet.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Nick Bantock fails miserably in attempting to teach anything about his artistic style. This is a tiresome attempt of an artist who seems to care more about his own creations instead of showing the reader, as the book purports, HOW to create their own ephemeral creations.
Maya Louise
Apr 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shallow and stupid
Sep 13, 2020 rated it liked it
less of a how to and more of a look what can be done it is nevertheless gorgeous to look at
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, reference-how-to
The artist who created the Griffin & Sabine saga shares his approach to creating pieces combining multiple elements.

Highly recommended if you are a fan of his work and want to know how he creates, want inspiration, or want ideas for collage source materials. There are some application tips strewn through the book in the captions, but it's not a step by step how to book.

Even if none of those things interested you, you could still flip through and admire his art and his collection of ephemera.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it liked it
This was delightful and at moments frustrating. Delightful to see more of Bantock's wild art experiments, and frustrating because most of his hints on techniques are hidden in illustration captions and not very well explained. But then, I never really expected him to open his 'aladdin's castle' to everyone, and let all the magic fly out. Bantock's art is best experienced in surprise. As a vague road map of concepts this does very well.
Sep 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, art
This is a very cool peek into the working process of artist Nick Bantock, creator of the wonderful Griffin & Sabine saga. It highlights several pieces of Bantock's original artwork--primarily collage and rubber stamp techniques that he uses to create his unique brand of ephemera.Highly inspiring stuff.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
After devouring Bantock's two trilogies, I wanted to see how he presents art from a non-fiction standpoint. This is full of his unique pieces and some good ideas, though the focus on collecting and repurposing ephemera will not help many of us pack-rats at this point. I did like the idea of a charcoal portrait on a book page though!
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is a glance into the mind of a creative genius. He gives examples of his works and explains briefly how they come about. The book is more for inspiration than instruction. I highly recommend his Griffin and Sabine series.
Jose Skinner
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: designers, scrapbookers, creative types
Shelves: read-again-again
Fun to look at, but it didn't go into much detail about how (and why) Bantock creates his collages. It does break down the categories of pieces he might use, and that can be helpful to someone like me who isn't very craft-y. It's as inspiring as if you read his other books.
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
It's a testament to how good this book is that I really wanted to chop it up to use in my collages. Unfortunately, it was a library book and I couldn't. Lots of inspiration and beautiful artwork here.
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Nick was schooled in England and has a BA in Fine Art (painting). He has authored 25 books, 11 of which have appeared on the best seller lists, including 3 books on the New York Times top ten at one time. Griffin and Sabine stayed on that list for over two years. His works have been translated into 13 languages and over 5 million have been sold worldwide. Once named by the classic SF magazine ...more

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