Monday, June 07, 2004

The Art of Nick Bantock

Nick Bantock made a splash with his Griffin and Sabine books. I've only read the first two, but it wasn't the story that was the most intriguing part of these books, it was their tactile nature and the beautiful art. As children we love picture books and pop-up books and books with bunnies that are actually fuzzy. But as adults we put away these childish things, a pity for us really since I think we lose something by doing so. That's why I think the Griffin and Sabine books were so popular, lovely art coupled with things we could touch--letters and envelopes and cards. Now Bantock has a book out called Urgent 2nd Class. This book is a sort of how-to so you can do art like Nick. In Bantock's introduction he says,

Urgent 2nd Class is a handbook for those who wish to learn how to embellish and tamper with old documents, envelopes, and other ephemeral scraps. It's intended purpose is to bring into focus an art form that has barely been identified, let alone described. I hope this volume begins to remedy that lapse, as well as encourage and stimulate innate creativity.
The book is broken into short chapters Faux Mail, Stamps, Engravings, Maps, Drawing, etc. Each chapter begins with a brief, and I mean brief, explanation of what Bantock does with each of these items. This is followed by several pages of pictures of his own pieces. If the reader doesn't have prior artistic experience, she will look at the pretty pictures and never lift a finger to try and create her own. Those who have some artistic leanings may find themselves inspired. If you are a fan of Bantock's art, the book is worth your money. If you are a fan of Bantock's stories and the experience of reading them, then this book will likely be a disappointment for you.