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Regulars / Bookshelf

Martina Paukova’s Bookshelf features childrens’ illustrations of Japan’s most-wanted criminals and more

Today, our regular Bookshelf segment plays host to illustrator Martina Paukova. Featured on the site many a time, we’ve followed Martina’s career from her MA graduation in 2015, to her first solo show at the Book Club last June. Racking up clients including The Guardian, Converse and illustrating a great many number of editorials since we first wrote about her back in 2015, Martina’s satisfyingly ordered illustrations continue to go down a treat.

We’ve asked the Slovakian illustrator to share five titles from her bookshelf which have proven influential or important to her practice in some way. These books chart her life from the nostalgia of her parents’ house, to her studies in London, and onto her current residence in Berlin. And without spoiling anything else, here she is to introduce her favourite titles.

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Milan Polášek: Joga

I took this book from my parents’ house. It chronicles Milan Polášek, a famous yoga teacher from the socialist era. The book itself is to the point, peaceful, practical and unpretentious and has a strong communist aftertaste. The language used, along with the cut-out photos are absolutely to die for.

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Jane Noraika: New Food for Thought

This small, worn-out and sticky cookbook is an absolute must-have in my collection – both from a creative and nourishing perspective! It is vegetarian and it just works. I often feel that Jane uses the same formula that one uses when making a picture for her recipes! The rough taste profile is laid out, the direction for the recipe is established, the means of flavour and colour are picked, an experimental touch is included, multiple herbal patterns added in and voila! Tasty and colourful vegetarian food arises. It’s creativity at its best.

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Takayuki Yamamoto: Most Wanted

This book is so connected to my life in Hackney. When I lived there, I shared a space with three boys from Seattle and was gaining speed with my work. The book was given to me by my friend Stefan and it travels with me wherever I move, it has to! It is a selection of drawings of the most wanted criminals done by elementary school students and collected in a book by the Japanese artist, Takayuki Yamamoto. Leafing through it is so liberating. It’s another must-have for every adult.

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Janwillem Schroder: Plan and Play, Play and Plan

This book is the newest thing that I bought on a whim. I’ve had it for a few weeks now and still haven’t opened it. I don’t even think this book is for me! I guess we all have a book like this, probably many books like this. Something about it has made me intrigued though, let’s see. I will read it.

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O. F. Bollnow: Human Space

Space fascinates me. Us functioning spatially, being limited by the space, having spatial boundaries, dealing with the physicality of space and intimacy or security within it. I haven’t opened this book in months but somehow find it so crucial – it investigates and dissects the space around us. It questions how we perceive, orientate and live within the space. It layers philosophical, anthropological and behavioural angles, overall a very meditative and calming language. Worth reading and re-reading!