There’s a lot we love about animator Makoto Shinkai, whether it’s his pertinence for slow narratives or his obsession with melancholic atmospheres. But Shinkai is as much a master of creating stunning backgrounds as he is a storyteller. The Garden of Words, a short film about a lonely teenage boy and his relationship with a 27-year-old woman, is one of Shinkai’s better known films, and one of the best things about the film are all the gorgeous background shots of rainy Shinjuku. Rain is a major theme of the whole film, and Shinkai manages to turn slick streets and drenched gardens into scenes that have a life of their own.
The Garden of Words: Memories of Cinema is an art book that compiles all of Shinkai’s stunning background art for the film. At $75 a pop, it’s only recommended for hardcore fans, but we included a few images above for you to gawk at from afar. If you haven’t seen the film yet, watch the trailer.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, March 28th, 2016||No Comments »|
If you’re fascinated by art and how the human brain works, you’ll love Cecilia Ruiz’s The Book of Memory Gaps. Although short, the book’s 15 vignettes will capture your imagination as Ruiz shows you what it’s like to live with different neurological disorders. After spending a few minutes in their shoes, you’ll walk away with a great appreciation and compassion for those who suffer from invisible disabilities.
There’s a melancholic air in Ruiz’s words that’s paired with her haunting, dreamy illustrations. Her characters are always portrayed alone, which hints at the isolation that many people with neurological disabilities and mental health issues often feel. While funny and offbeat at times, Ruiz’s novel ultimately forces you to realize how difficult it is to manage a disability when it’s your very brain that is “broken.” But instead of rudely putting people with disabilities on display, The Book of Memory Gaps offers explanations. It won’t answer all your questions, but it’ll leave you feeling enlightened.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 8th, 2015||No Comments »|
Remember those pop-up books you used to read as a child? Who am I kidding…? Remember those pop-up books you still can’t help but to look at every time one crosses your path? If the pop art of those classic children’s books impressed you, then the work of visual artist Thomas Allen is about to float your boat, and then some. Combining pulp fiction cover art from vintage books and flattened landscapes created from those same bindings, Allen produces scenes of action and emotion that turn something read into something real.
Book art has never been so cool, and despite the current trend of digital reading, Allen’s artistry provides that much more reason to remain loyal to the paperbacks we grew up on. Technology wins a lot of battles, but not this one.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, April 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Emory Douglas was just a college student when he joined the Black Panthers as their art director. Inspired by revolutionaries from across the world, his bold illustrations became the party’s visual identity. Most of his art was created for the Black Panthers newspaper, a visually rich publication that made art its central focus. The idea was that by using art, the Panthers’ message could be easily understood by everyone, regardless of economic background or reading level.
Although the Black Panthers disbanded in the early ’80s, Douglas’s art lives on. From books to art exhibits, Douglas’s art is as much a history lesson as it is a mirror of society’s repeated mistakes. The above images are a selection of curated works taken from Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Weirdly enough, despite being more than 30 years old, his art seems more relevant today than ever before. If you’re a lover of history or revolutionary art, Douglas is an artist you must know.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, March 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
For years I’ve always had a habit of tearing pages out of art books. I would tear the pages out and frame them or use them for decoupaging projects. I never realized you weren’t supposed to tear the pages out until a friend asked me, while flipping through one of my tattered coffee table books, why all the pages were missing. “Oh, well, there’s some there…and there,” I said as I pointed around the room. So SHARE, a new art book published by New Heroes & Pioneers, seems specially made for people like me.
Featuring art from 50 international artists, the book is “shareable,” allowing you to easily tear out art with the help of tearable marks on each page. You can tear out all the pages and tack them to the wall or leave them all in the book, but ultimately the premise is to share. To fulfill the book’s purpose, it is encouraged to tear out a page and give it to a friend, fulfilling the participatory aspect of the project. If you live in Sweden, you can buy the book here. For the rest of us, you can check out art featured in the book via their Pinterest.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, February 25th, 2015||No Comments »|
Renowned British Egyptologist Dr. Raymond Faulkner painstakingly translated one of the key pieces to understanding ancient Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife; this work is known as The Papyrus of Ani to Egyptologists, but in popular culture it’s known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead.
This papyrus was part of The Book of the Dead, a collection of writings that served as magical guides through the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians placed these different pieces of writing in order to help the deceased survive the trials and tribulations that were part of their journey into the afterlife. If their soul managed to make their way through the afterlife’s adventures, including the weighing of the heart ceremony where the jackal-headed god Anubis judged if you were a good person in life or not, then you gained entry into the ancient Egyptian version of heaven.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, March 4th, 2014||No Comments »|