From googly-eyed palm trees oozing California cool to a cheeky yellow thumbs up sign against a backdrop of a bright American flag, artist and designer Steven Harrington has been wafting LA sunshine our way via his cartoonish characters for years now. His work is a staple reference for anybody making Americana-influenced illustration, and spans huge hand-screened prints to limited-edition skateboards, all of which is doused in his sunny, funny style.
Luckily for us he agreed to share some of his favourites with us, giving us a rare glimpse into the printed matter fuelling his creative fire, from Robert Crumb’s sketchbooks and Peter Saul’s conceptual Biro drawings all the way through the spectrum to Picasso’s innovative sculptures. If you’re after some sunshine, step this way!
Tadanori Yokoo: The Complete
Perhaps my favourite book in my collection. This book was first shown to me by Tony Zepeda, my college printmaking instructor. From the moment I was introduced I was in love. Originally printed back in 1978, the colours, paper stock and ink have aged to perfection. Apparently the book was designed by Tadanori Yokoo himself so there are tonnes of behind-the-scenes photos, exhibitions, interviews and sketches. It’s really a masterpiece.
In looking through this book you really get a sense of Pablo Picasso’s genius. The sculptures range from everything from metal, wood, found objects and folded cardboard figures to massive oversized works. There’s so much ingenuity, freedom and inventiveness filling the pages it almost becomes overwhelming.
Peter Saul: Conceptual Art
Filled with graphite drawings made by Peter Saul between 1980 and 2012, this signed and numbered edition of 300 pieces is a real gem. I’m a gigantic fan of Peter Saul’s work, so I was flabbergasted at finding this book published by Picturebox filled with his sketches for paintings.
Henriette Grahnert & Marjolijn De Wit: Lubok Verlag
To be honest I really don’t know much about this book. I purchased it several years ago from Printed Matter in NY at the book fair and it immediately caught my attention at first glance. I’m typically not one for transparencies, vellum, layering in books… but this piece does it so amazingly well you can’t resist. It’s filled with fluorescent eye candy and abstract arrangements, it almost feels like you’re traveling through a painting while it’s being created.
Robert Crumb: Sketchbook 1966-67
One of my favorite Sketchbook publications from R Crumb’s early series. This hardback features beautifully aged full colour illustrations along with black and white ink drawings. A lot of the drawings were initially unfamiliar to me with the first couple of viewings – it almost feels like you’re sifting through Crumb’s private stacks of drawings from the 60s or something.
JRP Ringier Annual Report: Laura Owens (screenprinted and signed)
Beautifully screenprinted book by Laura Owens. You can really touch, smell and feel the fluorescent bright inks in this book. What can I say? I’m a gigantic fan of the tactile, tangible world. The simplicity and directness of Laura’s mark-making creates a very fun and unique book to make your way through.
Sigrid Calon: Letters Become Patterns
Printed with Risograph by Sigrid, this book features the entire alphabet designed as pattern. Spiral bound, the piece is filled with brightly coloured psychedelic patterns from what seems to be the future. I’m a big fan of Sigrid’s attention to detail, mastery of printing, and overall craftsmanship.
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