Owen Gent is freelance illustrator based in Cornwall, England. He recently graduated from University College Falmouth and one of his degree show pieces was a beautiful handbound book based on the 16th century Irish folk ballad of Molly Bawn. The ballad tells the tale of a man who goes out hunting for birds and spots something in the bushes. Thinking it’s a swan, he shoots but to his horror discovers that he has killed his true love Molly Bawn.
It probably looked strange to the other folks lined up to meet David Sedaris that I was holding a glossy photo of Billie Holiday. I was happy about it because David Sedaris singing in the style of Billie Holiday is the funniest thing in the world. But that world got cloudy and sad when someone who looked important and official approached me to say, “Oh, he won’t sign that, it’s not his work.” I folded the picture in half and put it in the back of the paperback I brought for him to sign. I was waiting in line to meet him for the first time, even though I’ve been reading Sedaris’ books since I saw Naked on my mom’s bookshelf and she told me I was too young to read it. He’s also been on This American Life more than any other contributor I can think of. His newest book is called Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls and it’s… well… a hoot.
I love bookstores. Nothing compares to wandering the aisles, scanning the shelves, or flipping through art tomes on a meandering afternoon. Yes, many of us lead busy lives and favor the lure of the online book purchase arguing that there’s just as much discovery the further you fall down the “Other Recommended Titles” rabbit hole. But I beg to differ. Holding a book in your hand, feeling a page slide under your fingertips, or even engaging with your local bookseller for recommendations trumps the online experience every time because it’s human. I have hope for the local bookstore industry, though, and even more hope for the future after discovering the wonders of Japan’s Izu Book Cafe.
I discovered the work of illustrator Alexander Wells in the most recent issue of Port Magazine. His illustration work really caught my eye and so I checked out his website to see more of his stuff. It was there that I discovered this incredible series of illustrations he recently produced for The Folio Society’s edition of Isaac Asimov’s highly acclaimed Foundation Trilogy. Released late last year, the books look terrific and Wells’ illustrations really make it come to life!
What do useful everyday objects look like from infancy? How many components link together a camera or chainsaw? These are questions artist and photographer Todd McClellan completely obliterates in his new book Things Come Apart. Taking the closest possible look at the inner workings of enduring design objects, McClellan dissects everything from iPads and telephones to alarm clocks and chainsaws. He then meticulously lays out each item, piece by piece, to give you a different perspective of its usually finished form. Interestingly, the arranged pieces are often more interesting than what they comprise.