Friday, May 1, 2009

Opening tonight at SF Center for the Book

Curated by Thacher Hurd, this is the second in a series of children's book exhibitions. This show explores the creative process in the work of six critically acclaimed illustrators: Elisa Kleven, Remy Charlip, Maira Kalman, David Macaulay, Chris Raschka and Brian Selznick.
I think that writing and illustrating children’s books has to be one of the hardest things to do. You need to draw, as it were, from within a child’s mind and to be in touch with things as children see them. But you also have to be a good enough enough of an artist to capture the child's interest and stimulate his imagination. But when the books are done right – as these artists demonstrate – the result is enchanting and insightful.

Of course, if you go tomorrow (May 2nd), you can see both the exhibit and catch their garage sale. There will be letterpress paraphernalia, metal type, press furniture, bookcloth, metal type, and any other sale items we find before then. Everything priced to sell!

David Macaulay has written some of my favorite illustrated history books. I never get too old to appreciate his “behind the scenes” books on how things work. As an artist, I particularly appreciate this comment from his speech when accepting the Caldecott Award in 1991:

“I honestly think all of us would be better off if everyone took the time to draw, if for no other reason than the better we see, the more inevitable curiosity becomes.”

Chris Raschka has said, "I always try to treat the book itself as the artwork. I don't want you to stop while you're reading one of my books and say, 'Oh! What a gorgeous illustration!' I want you to stop at the end of the book and say, 'This is a good book. "

I’m sorry to say that I don’t always follow his advice. I found myself stopping to look at the beautiful and clever illustrations and thinking that this art work – overlooked in the mainstream art scene – is often a lot better than what I see on gallery walls.

The artists describe their creative process
links to various artists web sites:

Opening reception: May 1st
Showing through- Fri Aug 07
San Francisco Center for the Book: 300 De Haro St.

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