You don’t often get a personal look into the brains behind a famous online publication, but this is your lucky day. First a royal baby, and now this! Cool Hunting is a blog that’s pretty dominant in the art and design world. They seem to cover pretty much everything that’s cool, be it bikes, shops, design, illustration, art, films, food, booze…I could go on. So what better people to ask to recommend us some ultra-cool books than the people that make the website happen?! Picking one publication each (well, in Evan’s case, two) to tell you about, here are the Kings of Recommendation, The Content Excavators, the Cool Hunting staff…
John Pawson: A Visual Inventory. Josh Rubin’s Pick.
A selection from the over 250,000 images Pawson has amassed through his design research, the book is a masterpiece unto itself. His attention to detail and ability to filter down to the essentials is inspiring. The fact that he has published the by-product of his work as an architect is something I can relate to as Cool Hunting was originally a by-product of my digital design work.
Peggy Treadwell: Working Couple’s Cookbook. Evan Orensten’s pick.
I love this 1971 cookbook for its awesome illustrations by the now famous commercial artist Romero Britto, and for its simple but very unique premise – recipes that two people can cook together.
Edward Gorey: Amphigorey. Evan Orensten’s pick.
This compilation includes fifteen of Edward Gorey’s illustrated works. Though I have most of the books, I love having all of them in one book that I can reference and enjoy.
Danish Porn. Greg Stefano’s Pick.
While my first inclination was to choose Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End or Rudy Rucker’s Wetware due to my lifelong sci-fi and cyberpunk obsession, Danish Porn jumped to the top of the list. Written by the same gentleman who put together Danish Tattooing, Danish Porn chronicles the rich and dynamic history of the pornography industry in Denmark from nude postcards traded in the shadows during the 1800s to more contemporary lewd acts. This book has been sitting on my desk for over a year and whenever I have some down time I flip through the pages to explore a different era of Scandinavian eroticism. Well researched and extremely comprehensive, the book provides some fascinating insight into the evolution of pornography with plenty of supporting imagery.
Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Graham Hiemstra’s pick.
Above all else, I appreciate graphic designer James Victore for the sheer size of his balls. Victore is outspoken and to the point, and really good at what he does. Because of this, much, if not all of his work is influenced by personal experience and more than a bit of passion, giving his work a certain strength few others are able to achieve. Plus I dig that he signs his illustrations like an artist would.
This book takes a career-wide look at some 48 of his more renowned projects and their often emotionally charged backstories, offering a rare look inside the mind of the man himself. And even if you can’t read, his unique illustration style is more than enough entertainment in itself.
Paul Fusco: RFK Funeral Train (signed edition) Karen Day’s pick.
When I saw one of the photos from Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train series enlarged and on display at Pulse Fair in Miami a few years ago, I couldn’t stop staring at it. A visibly poor family is lined up along the tracks, and all five of the shirtless children are standing at attention and look as though, while they likely didn’t understand the politics at that age, they could understand that the passing of Robert F. Kennedy was a huge loss for the nation. There’s so much emotion present in these images, and together you not only get a genuine glimpse at the times, but you can really see that no matter the color of their skin, religious pursuits or yearly income, Kennedy’s assassination affected everyone, and they were eager to salute and show their respects as his coffin traveled from New York to Washington, DC on that hot summer day. To me, this is an extremely honest portrait of America in 1968.