Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: Olly Moss' Silhouettes From Popular Culture!

I always get a buzz when pop culture icons leak into the art world. As an unrepentant narcissist I want to see the influences of my youth reflected all around me. Artist Olly Moss’ first book of collected works does exactly that. Silhouettes From Popular Culture toys with the conventions of Victorian silhouette, portraiture turning beloved pop profiles into classic works of art. This style provides a very simple way of capturing a recognisable likeness and much of the fun to be had while perusing this book is seeing just how many of these characters you can successfully identify.

And did I mention that it was published by our good friends at Titan Books who were kind enough to hook us up with a copy? Join me after the jump to find out more!

A slickly-presented small hardcover, we’re treated to a series of opposing portrait pairs, sometimes linked (e.g. Mario and Luigi) and sometimes disparate (e.g. Bill Cosby vs. Heath Ledger’s Joker) (although they are both flamboyant dressers who act insane).

These are also interspersed with the occasional group. Do you recognise these guys? It took the one on the top right to finally make it click.

Admittedly this book works best for people of a certain age. At 36 I could identify the fast majority of them. My girlfriend at 28 could pick out most of them as well, but I think anyone too old or too young is going to struggle. I don’t know if my grandparents, for example, or even my young sisters, hold Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf in especially high regard. Personally I would like to see Teen Wolf added to the curriculum in schools. That said, there are certainly characters represented from within the last ten years. Pan from Pan’s Labyrinth instantly springs to mind.

The downside is that if you can’t identify a silhouette it becomes incredibly frustrating! Especially if it’s somewhat familiar... it’s like forgetting the melody of a song. No list has been provided (which I think is a good choice) but it means that this pair... the one pair I can’t identify... has been haunting me. Check this out and relieve me in the comments section if you have the answer...

I know that’s going to be immediately obvious to someone.

Moss covers a huge range of subjects from television, movies, animation, video games, and even toys so there’s not a lot of targets he’s missing. Most noticeable omission for me personally? Robocop! Come on, Olly. He’s half man, half machine and all cop! That deserves our respect.

As rampant as digital delivery becomes, you will never replace the art book. There’s still something wonderful about seeing art professionally printed on actual textured paper. It’s an experience and a level of detail that never feels present when viewing images online - even when it’s something as deceptively simple as a black and white silhouette.

More Olly Moss and more art books, please! This one’s a keeper.

You can find out more about this book right here at Titan's site!

1 comment:

  1. John Locke and Benjamin Linus from Lost mate