.UTILITY: The Beginning and the End
In the Bible, God proclaimed himself as being the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Since, we have been describing the beginning and end of almost any subject in terms of the Alpha to Omega, or the A-Z in the english alphabet.
Artist and graphics designer Andy Tuohy is releasing a design-led reference book, A-Z Great Modern Artists, that he says will be “a more accessible book on modern art that would bring these artists and some lesser known names to…those who might be intimated by a more serious book on the subject”.
His rendered portraits of 52 key modern artists in their characterised style will be a launch pad for people to explore the often hard to navigate art world. The 52 modern artists he has included have had a profound impact on the art world. “Picasso and Braques’ revolutionary cubist works completely changed the perception of painting at the turn of the 20th century and in doing so, inspired many others to re-think what art could be.”
Biographies and interesting facts are provided by renowned art historian, Christopher Masters. One such fact is that Roy Lichtenstein begun painting after his son bet him he couldn’t paint better than the pictures in a Mickey Mouse comic.
The fun facts and essential details about each artist, like their significance and impact and where you can find their works helped to “breathe life into each artist’s profile”.
There was no clear approach to how Tuohy begun sketching the portrait of the artists. “I started by researching their art and then my approach became clear as I sketched the portraits out. Sometimes inspiration sprang through a certain image, sometimes from the overall style they were best known for. A very clear example being Mondrian with his geometric black lines and primary colours” he says.
Most A-Z titles are reference books, books you can pick up, go to the section you want and put back down without having to finish it.
Kate Schatz wanted to write a book that would acknowledge the contribution of many strong, intelligent, American women who haven’t made the history books. Rad American Women A-Z offers an array of female role models, “the idea came when my daughter was two…I wanted her to have…something fun and bold but also educational and inspiring” Schatz says.
The book includes women like Billie Jean King, the top female tennis player in the world in 1973 with 30 grand slams under her belt. When former tennis champ, Bobby Riggs, challenged her to the ultimate ‘Battle of the Sexes’ she initially declined as she thought losing the match would set women back 50 years. She eventually gave in and played, winning three sets in a row. Her most remarkable feat was being one of the first athletes to come out as gay and since has been a vocal member of the gay and lesbian community with her efforts acknowledged by Barack Obama.
“With a quick Facebook message, I crowd-sourced a list of nearly 100 fascinating women” Schatz reveals. Its impressive that this book of inspiring women was compiled by the input of regular women on social media. The goal of City Lights Books was to empower readers and foster independent thinking, and this beautifully compiled book, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl encourages positive discussion about remarkable American women.
Both these titles provide an excellent point of reference for key figures in the 20th century, whether it be art or the history of American females. Reference books provide us with guidance of many subjects and allow us to browse at our pleasure, giving a brief scope into a subject and sparking our interest to learn more about it.