Monday, October 17, 2016

Open Words & Pictures

I had planned to get in plenty of Open House NY & Gowanus Open Studio visits this weekend, but other activities got in the way.  I did, however, get to a couple of events.   On Saturday I made it to the Municipal Building Library, on Chambers Street, where a sale was taking place, and spent a good hour rummaging in boxes of de-accessioned books.  It was important to maintain self-control in these circumstances - did I really need a set of fire chief manuals, or a small 60's volume on New Jersey's Financial Crisis?  I came away with four books: Stud Terkel's Division Street (who could argue with this choice?), Academy Lectures on Lie Detection (1957), a 1970's journal on New York arts, and a copy of truly dreadful love poems inscribed to Ed Koch.  I also got three beautiful poster-sized blow-ups of city photographs, of Chinatown in 1936, and work on the Williamsburg & Queensboro bridges.  And then it was a walk home across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Yesterday, towards the end of the Open Studios weekend, I stopped in at MadArts, at 18th & Fifth, where a visit to award-winning artist-illustrator Sean Qualls' studio was a real highlight.

Part of what fuels my art (and illustration) is the desire to shine a light on those who have been forgotten by history, underrepresented or misrepresented. My goal is not to merely tell their stories but to reframe them and their lives. By reframing, I mean looking at people and events from a different vantage point and thereby changing the way we perceive them, reminding us that identity is perception and therefore malleable, not static. 

Qualls' illustrations are bold, multi-textured and visually sumptuous, and it's exciting to see up close the process by which his picture book art is created.  More on his work here.

from The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko, illustrated by Sean Qualls

No comments: