• Bookshelf

    Bookshelf: Joel Speasmaker

Art

Bookshelf: Joel Speasmaker

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

By investing a majority of his creative lifeblood into print, be it illustration, editions and publishing or art direction, Joel Speasmaker, aka Forest, has built up quite a library of his own. As much for mental stability as aesthetic cleanliness, he categorises his books into their specific fields. These include design theory, philosophy, zines and artists’ books, plus your standard literature. For his selection Joel has pulled out five comics worthy of note from their designated shelves, but he admits: “If you’d ask me on a different day I might have chosen something else entirely…”

The Incal: Classic Collection Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky

There’s a reason this is often spoken of as one of the best examples of the [comic] art form, and at the end of last year, Humanoids released a beautiful slipcased hard-cover edition limited to only 750 copies. With a storyline set in a sprawling science fiction universe (written by filmmaker Jodorowsky), The Incal deals with complex themes through a simple, almost moronic character named John DiFool, and a powerful crystal known as the Incal. All of my major doubts in humanity are explored and eventually conquered, while visually articulating feelings and thoughts I frequently have through the unparalleled artwork of Moebius. A standard edition was recently released, and I highly recommend it, along with any English-translated work of Moebius you might be lucky enough to find.
www.amazon.co.uk/incal-classic-collection
www.wikipedia.org/jean-giraud
www.humanoids.com/incal

Garden Yuichi Yokoyama

A characteristic I look for frequently when reading comics is a feeling of place. I want a strong sense of location, of the environment the characters live in and are interacting with. I want a completely fantastic and imaginary world to feel real. Garden is the newest English translation from manga master Yuichi Yokoyama (published by PictureBox), and I can’t think of a better example of this feeling. Hundreds of unnamed characters enter and travel through a garden-like place, speaking to each other in the most matter-of-fact ways (“It is a T intersection. Which way shall we go?”) as they discover new landscapes and even stranger situations. Like most of his comic works, there is a big influence of imaginative architecture (some of the structures the characters encounter are impossible, yet so weirdly familiar), and the stark black and white is utilised to its fullest (though if you are interested in going further, please take a look at Yokoyama’s vividly colored, and equally masterful, paintings).
www.amazon.co.uk/garden
www.pictureboxinc.com/garden

Pamplemoussi Geneviève Castrée

I think this came out almost seven years ago, but it remains one of the most prized items that I own. It’s part 12" LP and part 68-page book, with a wonderful silkscreened cover and delicate and intricate black and white drawings and paintings throughout. Geneviève is so thoughtful and her work embodies this strong sense of purpose — that everything is so important. Not on a scale of better or worse than others, but that there is so much beauty in the creation of anything, and it deserves this much attention when being made. I love that when you see her perform, you venture back to the recording with a huge new appreciation for what was done before, just like when you see her paintings up close, you realise the thought and incredible detail gone into each and return with a whole new perspective of her work.
www.amazon.co.uk/pamplemoussi
www.genevievecastree.com

Buddha, Volumes 1-8 Osama Tezuka

I could choose to share any of the unbelievable amount of volume work that Osama Tezuka created (Black Jack, Dororo, and Apollo’s Song to name a few), but Buddha stands as my favorite. Taking a popular figure in history and translating real ideas into comic form is a difficult task, and instead of doing so in a straight-forward manner, Tezuka wasn’t afraid to both accentuate the story with characters of his own creation nor add a light-hearted and humorous touch (something I appreciate in all of his work). Yet you are still left with a strong feeling of an appealing philosophy, without quite realising how. This is a good thing. Additionally, Tezuka’s traditional “cartoonish” style is so well done and strong, the pacing is perfect, and at times the panels will expand and astonish you with their artistic greatness.
www.amazon.co.uk/buddha
www.tezukainenglish.com

Elvis Road Elvis Studio

At first glance it’s a beautifully designed hard-bound book, but then you open it up and reveal a collaborative drawing that folds out to more than 20 feet long, filled with the amazing work of Helge Reumann and Xavier Robel, otherwise known as Elvis Studio. It’s not necessarily comics, but its beautiful and intriguing and sometimes disturbing. Every time I’ve opened this up I find different scenes I didn’t notice before. I’ve even had the chance to see the original work in its full stretched out glory and still probably haven’t digested half of it. I’m not sure it’s necessary to mention that in my opinion Helge and Xavier are two of the most exciting visual artists alive today, but I will. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to keep up with them in the States, or even on the internet, for that matter. But it’s worth the effort.
Elvis Road
www.adambaumgoldgallery.com/elvis-studio

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Mark Lazenby is the go-to guy for collage that just works. We last featured the artist two years ago and since then his portfolio of pieced together artworks has exploded with even more impressive works and a real exploration of materials and collage techniques.

  2. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  3. List

    I’m known for my sweet tooth and ability to consume an obscene amount of cakes, sweets and biscuits in one sitting, so it’ll come as no surprise that I was instantly drawn to Will Cotton’s sugary scenes of candy-laced lands.

  4. List

    Time and again Amy Woodside gets in touch to let us know about new projects she’s cooked up and time and again we’re powerless to resist them. The New York-based artist is focussed to a fault on her fine art practice where iconic letterforms emerge from meticulously registered screen printing and frantic flourishes of spray paint. Where first she caught our eye with multicoloured wordplay, the constant reduction and refinement of her process has resulted in a new series’ of totemic words like ‘Hero’, ‘Cash’, ‘Hoax’ and ‘Like’, pre-loaded with cultural context and double meaning, writ large on the canvas. What’s the meaning behind them? The interpretation is up to you, but Amy always seems to be critiquing pop culture with its own visual vernacular and playing fast and loose with our ambiguous use of language.

  5. List

    The Dutch/Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal is best known for his digital artworks that often take the form of webpages but as he told us at our 2013 creative symposium Here he is increasingly interested in exploring his fascination with light and colour in real-world scenarios. Most recently this has taken the form of his hyper-colourful abstract lenticular paintings, which are made up of layers of different frames and so appear to move when viewed from different angles.

  6. List

    There’s a wonderful, undulating beauty to Alain Delorme’s series that initially tricks the viewer into thinking they’re seeing flocks of starlings choreographing themselves against iridescent skies. On closer inspection though, rather than capturing mass avian movements the Parisian photographer has replaced them with a myriad of plastic bags.

  7. List

    Way back in 2011 when we first posted the work of Frank Magnotta It’s Nice That was a very different beast – we’d only give you one image to check out and the rest was up to you. So when I stumbled across Frank’s work again this week it seemed essential that we show you a whole lot more. To be honest there have been few updates to his site in the past three years but the work is breathtaking, pulling together pop culture references, architectural precision and some serious Americana and combining it into stark surrealist landscapes. At times grotesque but always engaging, Frank’s graphite artworks are still some of the finest around.

  8. List

    Jean Jullien is many things. Artist. Illustrator. French. Recent emigre to New York. It’s Nice That favourite. So hot right now. He’s also the final artist to have a show at Kemistry Gallery’s current east London home before it closes its doors early next year (although as has been reported it has some excitingly ambitious plans).

  9. List

    American artist James Rieck paints models, but not in the way you might expect. In his huge colourful canvases he takes figures from adverts and recreates them four or five feet wide, capturing their clothes, their postures but not their faces.

  10. List

    These painted scenes from Paige Jiyoung Moon are so wonderfully intricate, a new detail pops out each time you see them. Capturing domestic scenes like people drinking coffee, friends watching a film or a family eating lunch together, it’s the mundanity of what Paige paints that makes her miniature worlds so inviting as the viewer tries to pick out some sort of irregularity.

  11. List

    It’s been a whole two years since we last posted about the marvellous work of Lynnie Zulu and we’re happy to have the illustrator’s vibrant world colouring our dull Monday once again. Her latest body of work is on show now at No Walls Gallery in Brighton and is a fantastically lively exploration of the female in all her glorious forms.

  12. List-tatiana-bruni_-the-drunkard_-costume-design-for-%e2%80%98the-bolt%e2%80%99_-1931_-courtesy-grad-and-st-petersburg-museum-of-theatre-and-music

    We’re no ballet aficionados, but we wouldn’t usually associate drunkards, typists and factory workers with the grace and poise of the discipline. However, as these beautiful gouache painting by Tatiana Bruni show, there’s much more to ballet than tutus and swan lake, with her angular figures, bold colours and sometimes grotesquely postured characters. The paintings show costume designs for Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt, and are going on show at London’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design alongside a series of period photographs. The ballet itself was bold and striking in its use of real hammers, machine-inspired choreography, aerobics and acrobatics, and the costume images are equally as dynamic, inspired by “the aesthetics of agit-theatre and artist-designed propaganda posters”, according to the gallery. The sense of movement is palpable, whether in the graceful billowing dresses or the staggering legs of our brightly-coloured drunkard, working against the geometric rigidity of the style to beautiful effect.

  13. List

    The announcement that David Lynch is to release new episodes of Twin Peaks in 2016 was, unsurprisingly, met with internet-breaking levels of excitement. Soon, every Tommy, Dale and Henry Spencer was walking around their independent coffee shop knowingly harping on about their “damn fine cup of coffee” and popping that heartbreaking Angelo Badalamenti theme on the office stereo like they’d actually watched every episode back in 1990, when they were five.