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Charlotte Mei’s Bookshelf (detail)

Work / Bookshelf

Ceramicist and illustrator Charlotte Mei’s Bookshelf unites Picasso and Akira

Now I’m not saying that the Bookshelf feature should act as a barometer of how much we want to be friends with the people we feature, but if you can’t identify niche interests in a kindred spirit by way of their favourite publications, when the bloody hell can you?

London-based ceramicist Charlotte Mei’s work is a perfectly chaotic collision of illustration and clay – all ceramic selfies, illustrated plates and smiling toast tiles – and her Bookshelf is an extension of this refined eclecticism. Her top five includes Jesse Moynihan’s Forming, Lord of the Rings, Akira and a healthy dose of Manga, making her the coolest, nerdiest potter we know. Here she is!

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Ikegami Ryoichi and Koike Kazuo: Crying Freeman

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Ikegami Ryoichi and Koike Kazuo: Crying Freeman

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Ikegami Ryoichi and Koike Kazuo: Crying Freeman

Ikegami Ryoichi and Koike Kazuo: Crying Freeman

This comic is about a Japanese potter who has a run-in with a Chinese mafia and becomes an assassin. Perfect for me, as it combines my interests in pottery and crime. I picked up these comics in Book Off, a giant Manga store in Kyoto. I spent some time with the Manga course at Kyoto Seika University while I was studying illustration at Camberwell, and in the evenings we would go and raid Book Off for bargain Manga.

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Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira

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Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira

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Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira

Akira is a sci-fi graphic novel about biker gangs in Neo-Tokyo. I first saw the animated adaptation when I was about 12, along with other classics like Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell. They really got me into Anime and Manga, and have remained a really big influence. For me they represent a hey-day in Japanese animation and films like The Matrix, Inception and lots of modern sci-fi have been heavily inspired by Japanese Anime and Manga.

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Georges Ramié: Picasso’s Ceramics

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Georges Ramié: Picasso’s Ceramics

Georges Ramié: Picasso’s Ceramics

Seeing Picasso’s ceramics for the first time comforted me and made me feel really happy. I was studying illustration at the time and had a lot of doubts about what I could bring to the medium – I’m not a very technical ceramicist, but I loved using clay, and really wanted to use it to tell stories and evoke feelings. My friend Lewis bought me this book, and it is such a celebration of clay, the easiness of his brushstrokes and unconstrained content.

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Mould Map 3

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Mould Map 3

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Mould Map 3

Mould Map 3

This book, published by Landfill, both celebrates and pushes the boundaries of the comic book tradition. It features lots of artists, each of whose contributions have their own voice, but feel connected in their approach to modern disillusionment and connection/disconnection. It is beautifully printed and finished and offers a really refreshing approach to narrative art. 

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Jesse Moynihan: Forming

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Jesse Moynihan: Forming

Jesse Moynihan: Forming

This is the second of Jesse’s Forming books. I first saw his work in his capacity as a storyboard artist for Adventure Time. There are moments in the series which make your mind bend and send you through the looking glass a bit, one of the things that makes AT so much more than a cartoon for kids. Reading Jesse’s comic it seems probable that many of these ideas come from him. His stories, which deal with reality, relationships and metaphysics, are simultaneously supernatural and very human.

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Jesse Moynihan: Forming

J.R. Tolkien: Lord of The Rings

I wrote a book report on Lord of The Rings when I was 12 which got displayed in the library, so I am still a bit smug about that. The way Tolkien presents mythology, obsessively detailed histories and maps, lineages and species really turned me on to sci-fi and fantasy as a kid. I feel like reading this shaped my taste more than any other book and made me into a massive nerd.

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Charlotte Mei’s Bookshelf

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Charlotte Mei’s Bookshelf