Design, Editorial

Art + Design: Launching into 2011

This week has been both exhilarating and exhausting because we just finished “launching” our Fall 2011 line of books. Twice a year our crew of brave editors stands up in front of most of the company and pitches the books slated for release in the next six to nine months. It can be fun—especially when our sales force responds positively to books that we know we love but that haven’t been seen outside of our little circle. On that note, I thought I’d share a few of the projects that received a warm reception at our launch event and see what you think, too.

New York

If you fancy yourself to have a New York state of mind, I think you’ll be intrigued by this. Jorge Colombo is an artist who’s lived in the Big Apple and other great cities for decades. He paints beautiful street scenes of New York, four of which have been featured on the cover of The New Yorker, but there’s a twist. He creates them on an iPhone. He uses a software program called Brushes. You can see some sped up renderings of his art at newyorker.com (worth the jump).

 

 

Jorge goes to great lengths to point out that his art is less about technology and more about the “feel” of a city as grand as New York. I tend to agree. If you didn’t know that his paintings were created on an iPhone, you’d probably still admire them. The technology element adds a layer of intrigue and coolness.

One Red Lipstick, One Hundred Women

This book is the product of the mind—and the eyes—of Alyson Fox. The former Visual Director at Anthropologie, Alyson created a pet project that we fell in love with. She had approached a hundred women and asked them to pose for her camera. These were not models. They were women of all stripes, ranging in age from 8 to 80, and many of them had never had their photograph taken professionally. The only thing that they shared in these photographs was the same shade of lipstick—Revlon’s Certainly Red. Fox describes the body of work as provocative and engaging. It can be by turns brooding and whimsical. I think of the book as a conversation starter. How do these images make you think about femininity and beauty? There are so many deeply held associations with lipstick that Fox’s photographs make us question and perhaps doubt. As a man, I’m moved by the photographs. I’m excited to see how women—the book’s primary audience—react to it.

The Ceramics Bible

A few years ago we published The Printmaking Bible, which quickly became the leader of the pack among printmaking books (both in sales and size—it’s 416 pages!). This is the next book in the stout series, and the title doesn’t pull any punches. It’s a very comprehensive guide to the art and craft of ceramics, covering everything from kilns to stains to molds. There are plenty of clear step-by-step photos, guides to various techniques, and artist profiles (my favorite part, if only because of the amazing pieces they create). This book reinforces for me that big, totemic books can succeed both on practical and aesthetic levels. With hundreds of inspiring photographs and a solid how-to element, it’s well worth the $40 if your goal is to conquer ceramics.

Speaking of new books, Chronicle is hosting a focus group for art, design, and craft enthusiasts. If you’re interested in helping us gain a deeper understanding of this special kind of publishing, take the survey linked here. Thanks!

Matt Robinson
Art + Design

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