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Bookshelf: Inside the bookshelf of fantastic illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You should never judge a book by its cover, and equally you should never judge a man by his bookshelf. WRONG! You can totally do both, I do it all the time. In the case of wonderful illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie, one look at his creaking bookshelf held in pride of place over his computer, tells you all you need to know. A closer peek into the actual contents of these shelves reveals oodles about the artist’s value of research, his love for fine draughtsmanship and his passion for the designs in nature. Take it away Bjorn…

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

David King: Red Star Over Russia

This book is “a visual history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the death of Stalin." It’s hauntingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. I love the (perfectly reproduced) poster designs and amazing book covers of course, but the incredible photographs really give you a sense of the hope, the chaos and the brutality of the time. It’s almost as if you were there. I keep returning to it again and again.

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    Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

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    Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

In the introduction Steven Heller calls Push Pin Studios “the Beatles of illustration and design,” so I guess their influence in the field cannot be understated. This book focuses on the The Push Pin Graphic, a promotional leaflet or “almanac” that the studio sent out to advertising agencies with impressive frequency between 1957 and 1980. I guess this was a way for them to really cut loose and experiment. I just love Seymour Chwast’s wood-cuts and Milton Glaser’s pen drawings. I often leaf through this book in the futile hope that some of the freshness might rub off on me.

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    Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

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    Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

I picked this book up at the Astrup Fearnley museum in Oslo about 12 years ago, after being completely blown away by Leonard’s solo exhibition. His paintings, graphic rural landscapes with scattered industrial debris and machine parts, are often framed in really massive, almost architectural frames that form part of the artwork. I don’t know anything about him except that he lives and works in Arendal, southern Norway. His internet presence is zero, so I guess he’s too busy painting. The book got water damaged a few years ago and I meticulously blow-dried every page!

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    Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

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    Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

When I was first introduced to the Swede’s work over a decade ago I thought it was a bit too crude. It didn’t take long for me to come around though. A bit like when I first started drinking coffee. Now of course, I think he’s a genius. This is one of his kids’ books: Three stories about Sailor and his dog Pekka. They read a bit like old cartoon strips and the pace is incredibly unhurried which give them a lovely nostalgic feel, only shook up by the inclusion of bizarre characters and random turn of events. Jockum manages to balance intricate drawing with incredibly raw and naïve scribbles to great effect. I try to capture some of his unpredictability in my own work, although I could never be as confident.

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    Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

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    Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

I guess everybody knows this book, but it was an obvious contender as I’ve been very inspired by it the last few years and used it on many a project. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t know what is more impressive, nature itself or Ernst Hackel’s ability to draw it. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this book!

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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