For illustrators like Milan-based Emiliano Ponzi, working with the written word is a mainstay of creativity. For him in particular, the creating editorial illustration for the upper echelons of objective journalism cannot be as simple a task his work lets us assume; indeed, communicating complex notions is rare with such “judicious use of line” and such immediate graphic effect as Emiliano achieves. Surely, this ability to visualise concepts must arrive from an understanding of words unattainable to us mere non-illustrators? Who knows but perhaps his selection of five books for our Bookshelf feature might shed some light?
John Maeda: Laws of simplicity
He wrote what I feel and I feel what he wrote. By the use of simple laws he explains how simplicity and complexity are part of the same subject and they are complimentary. He quotes many examples of successful products that came up from a clear vision. Synthesis is a fundamental skill first as way of thinking and then in the creation of any kind of design. Surgical!
John Fante: Wait until spring, Bandini
This was strongly suggested by my mother years ago. I took it but I never read it until last year. It is the story of a poor Italian family who immigrated to an imaginary Colorado city. All the family members emotions are incredibly described, you can literally feel them on your skin. It’s a photograph of a wait where everything looks suspended but many things happen inside the plot while waiting for the spring time so they can go outside and start playing baseball again. Touching!
Italo Calvino: Se una Notte d’Inverno un Viaggiatore (If a Winter’s Night a Traveller)
This is a great example of postmodern literature: The main character is the reader that attempts to enjoy the book but, because of different reasons, has to stop all the times and begins other novels. So it’s made by many stories that just begin but never end, It talks about literatures multiple possibilities. I’m curious to know how each story would finish. Brilliant!
Amélie Nothomb: Métaphysique des Tubes
I did a portrait of her for a magazine so I looked at many pictures of Amélie on the web and I found that she wears a lot of strange hats. This book is a visionary description of a consciousness, we can call her “newborn” or little girl but she felt as the Lord. The evolution of “the man” from just being a lost “tube” in the universe to human being that knows the word by giving a name to objects and people. Cathartic!
Gipi: Questa è la Stanza (This is the Room)
It is a comic book by one of the most important Italian authors who is very well known also in France and US. It is the story of four friends from a suburban neighbourhood that find an old garage to play in together as a music band. That room becomes a sort of shelter that protects them from their messy lives outside. With straight dialogues and drawings he represents a frame of happiness/sadness of an anonymous province. Real!
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