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Moby-Dick in Pictures

One Drawing for Every Page

Kish, Matt

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Moby-Dick in Pictures
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Inspired by one of the world's greatest novels, Ohio artist Matt Kish set out on an epic voyage of his own one day in August 2009. More than one hundred and fifty years following the original publication of Moby-Dick , Kish began illustrating Herman Melville's classic, creating an image a day over the next eighteen months based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition. Completely self-taught, Kish refused to set any boundaries for the artwork and employed a deliberately low-tech approach in response to the increasing popularity of born-digital art and literature. He used found pages torn from old, discarded books, as well as a variety of mediums, including ballpoint pen, marker, paint, crayon, ink, and watercolor. By layering images on top of existing words and images, Kish has crafted a visual masterpiece that echoes the layers of meaning in Melville's narrative.
Publisher: Portland, Or. : Tin House Books, 2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 1935639137
9781935639138
1935639129
9781935639121
Branch Call Number: 704.9498133 K616m 2011
Characteristics: xii, 552 p. :,chiefly col. ill. ;,21 x 26 cm

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Inspired by one of the world's greatest novels, Ohio artist Matt Kish began illustrating Herman Melville's classic, creating an image a day over the next eighteen months based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition.


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Jul 28, 2012
  • scathing_haiku rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is Tin House's second go-around for the picture-for- every-page-of-a-megalithic-book idea. The first was a project by Zak Smith for every page of Thomas Pynchon's novel, "Gravity's Rainbow", which, despite being very cool, still smacked of gimmick, an experiment in exhaustion, which makes sense, given Smith's preferred milieu of insatiable sex-on-the-brain, but if Smith was madly in love with the actual book, I didn't sense it.

I was excited/wary, then, of Matt Kish's take on Moby Dick, a
book I've read forward and backwards and upside-down. Would he give it a similar treatment, audaciously working in abstract female figures and floating nipples into what is probably one of classic literature's distinctively least sexy novels, exciting as that might have been? (Answer: Once in a while!) Even if he didn't, would he capture what I feel in the book? And how many ways can you draw a whale?

I was delightfully - *ahem* - blown out of the water. Matt Kish appears to be as madly in love with the book as me, and many others. He gives it a sort of finely-wrought zinester's treatment, a geeky, overcaffienated masterpiece of merry obsession, perfectly befitting Melville, whose mania for disseminating every angle of whaling put off readers until an audience for abstract, esoteric madmen was invented by the modernists. And Mr. Kish can indeed draw a whale in many, many, many ways. See for yourself.

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