First of all, apologies all round for the lack of posts of late. I have been in a bit of a blogging funk. However, I have now made a full recovery and am keen to recommence blogging activity!
So, this morning I was doing a bit of impromptu spring cleaning of a particular cupboard that I have been skillfully ignoring for maybe 4 years. It is full of novels, cartoon books and art books I haven't looked at forever. It was a revelation! I found so many gems and books dear to my heart that I got quite emotional and had to stop half way through and have a sit down. One of the best finds was a book of short stories by John Cheever. It is absolutely enormous at 892 pages and packed with 60 or so stories. If you have not read the works of John Cheever, you could do worse than spend a lazy weekend getting acquainted him.
In this fine book is one of my favourite short stories ever which was made into an equally fine movie staring Burt Lancaster called The Swimmer. This is how the story begins:
"It was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying, 'I drank too much last night'. You might have heard it whispered by the parishioners leaving church, heard it from the lips of the priest himself, struggling with his cassock in the vestiarium, heard it from the golf links and the tennis courts, heard it from the wildlife preserve where the leader of the Audubon group was suffering from a terrible hangover."
It is a mystery story (sort of) set in an upper class suburb of New York. Neddy Merrill, the protagonist, appears one day in the yard of a neighbour's/ friend's place which has a large pool. The friends have not seen him in some time and they exchange friendly chat. Ned swims the length of the pool and realises that it would be possible to swim back to his home using the pools of his friends. We then follow him through the back yards and swimming pools of this wealthy neighbourhood. The interactions with his neighbours and Ned's own reflections reveal more and more of Ned's past until finally he reaches his home and all is revealed.
Anyway, I know what I'll be doing this hot, humid, steamy weekend: taking it easy and reading my rediscovered John Cheever short stories!
I was surfing the web the other day and I came across the work of Portuguese illustrator Bernardo Carvalho. Bernardo illustrates children's books and owns a design company, Planeta Tangerina, with fellow illustrators Madalena Matoso and Yara Kono. I think he's pretty cool and I look forward to hunting down some more of his work!
Nan Lawson is surely the queen of cute, quirky, nerdy art, yet she is so much more than that! Her whimsical prints seem to be very personal: they are full of purpose and thought and love. I think this is what makes them such a hit! People want in on the love! I have been an admirer of Nan Lawson's work for some time now, so over the holidays, I decided I'd ask her if she'd do an interview for my blog. Imagine my delight when she said she'd love to! Without further ado then, I present Nan Lawson...
Tell us a bit about yourself. Hello! My name is Shannon, but my nickname is Nan. I'm an illustrator living and working in Los Angeles. I live with my boyfriend and two cats in a cozy craftsman apartment that I like to decorate in my spare time.
When did you first decide to become an artist? My first real decision to become an artist was when I was in college. I knew I wanted to create things. I studied film making there, which is a great way to learn how to write, act, and create visual art. My decision to become an illustrator came later when I was working a boring day job. I started my Etsy shop as a creative outlet and that's where my illustrating really took off.
What are a few of your favorite things? I love to watch great movies and television shows. I am always inspired by the characters I see in them, and find myself drawing them more and more often. I also love great interior design. A clean and well decorated space is a beautiful thing to me.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment? I've always loved Ashley G's artwork, and I'm a big fan of Vera Brosgol and Emily Carroll. All three are great lady illustrators/cartoonists. I'm also pretty obsessed with anything by Jon Klassen.
What are your top five favourite movies at the moment? The Royal Tenenbaums, In The Mood For Love, Moulin Rouge, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Harold and Maude
Where do you see yourself in ten years time? I hope to still be illustrating and making a living off of it. That's the most important thing to me. Maybe I'll have branched out to do more editorial work and licensing at that point. I'd love to be living in a modest home with my boyfriend (perhaps husband by then?) in Los Angeles.
...and it's Monday! We had some wild weather here yesterday in Sydney. I actually got caught in it on the way home from a walk I was taking with my boyfriend. It started raining very heavily just as we were in the park near our house, so we had to shelter under some fig trees. Even though we had brollies we were still getting quite drenched. So, we then hot footed it to the nearest bit of man made shelter and stood under an awning for a minute or two. From this location we saw a huge bolt of lightning (accompanied by an ear splitting crack of thunder!) strike a rail line a couple of meters away. It was quite frightening to say the least! We then scampered home...
George Lepape (1887 - 1971) is best known for his exquisite illustrations for revolutionary fashion designer Paul Poiret. However, he also created divine illustrations for fashion houses such as Worth, Lanvin, Paquin, Doucet and Beer . In addition to his fashion commissions, he drew the very first Vogue cover and his illustrations for Harper's Bazaar, Gazette du Bon Ton and Vanity Fair are still loved and admired today.
This first image of his from a Vogue cover in the 20s is perhaps my all time favourite!
This is Peter Finch. The Peter Finch above is no relation to that other Peter Finch who was famously very angry and wasn't going to take it any more (if you can tell me which movie that quote comes from, I'll be suitably impressed!). This Peter has many interests. His favourite, though, is singing his heart out at dawn and dusk.
After a fairly cool start to summer, I think it's finally decided to be hot. Very hot. Here's hoping we don't have several days of 40 plus degree heat like we had last year. That sort of heat can really take it out of a person!