For those of you who might be interested in these kind of things, I’ve included a couple of the books that can be found, usually wedged under a tub of ink, within the studio. When all the screens are cleaned and the prints are drying in the racks these smudged books are my usual means of filling time. They act as both inspiration and a gentle reward at the end of the repetitive printing process. Here are two that I have gone back to regularly over the last month or so.
In the Sweet Bye Bye - Margaret Kilgallen
As far as I am aware the only book dedicated to the brief life and work of the US artist Margaret Kilgallen. I can’t remember where or when Kilgallen's work first caught my eye. Possibly it was the film of Kilgallen herself painting upon the trains of San Francisco. The film captures Kilgallen, along with her husband Barry McGee tagging their way across the freight trains of the US and decorating them with her folk tinged imagery. ‘In the Sweet Bye Bye’ captures the spirit of her work and documents her distinctive images across the galleries and walls of the US through photos, paintings and sketchbook pages. With her sign-makers eye for typography Kilgallen was drawn to the beauty of the wavering line, the hand made and a fascination with the imperfect. ‘In the Sweet Bye Bye’ is well worth a look if you can find it, if not seek out the film ‘Beautiful Losers’. Here, along with a range of others, Kilgallen discussed her interests and explored why she made art.
The Great War by Joe Sacco
Having enjoyed Sacco’s brilliant journalistic account of his visit to Palestine during the late 90’s I have followed his career as America’s foremost journalist/cartoonist with great interest. His latest book, published late last year by Jonathan Cape, captures the nightmare reality of the first day of the battle of the Somme in all its breathtaking and unflinching detail. A wordless, 24ft panoramic ‘The Great War’ is slightly more stylised than his earlier work, (cleaner in its line work perhaps) but this only enhances the attention to detail and the respect with which he handles his subject matter. With its nod in the direction of the Bayeux Tapestry, the format of the book, that of a concertina style binding, allows the viewer the opportunity to extend the panoramic to its full 24ft. Initially it is a quiet, contemplative experience that is suddenly transformed through the unfolding of the pages into a swirling mass of soldiers, horses and destruction. Sacco’s fantastic panoramic never fails to render me speechless both as a historical document and through its visual ambition.
Added to cart