Tragic Kingdom: The Art of Camille Rose Garcia
Tragic Kingdom is a 131 pages art book by Camille Rose Garcia, a LA based pop surrealist and lowbrow artist. It chronicles her artwork from 2000 to 2006 and has a illustration chronology as well as 4 separate introductions by Susan Landaver, Daniel Keegan, Doug Harver and Carlo McCormick. The introductions are the usual art critic fodder, I find these really useless for enjoying the art contained in any given book and usually just give a quick read or skip. I’d rather have a book without these introductions, but it harmless to skip through them. So those aside this is a solid book and covers a large amount of Rose Garcia’s work through the years and contains paintings, prints, drawings, and sketches. Out of all her available art books, this one has the largest body of work and is very thorough and covers the broadest range of her work. Camille Rose Garcia work focuses on “everyday violence that supports the current power structure” with the mixer of her childhood spent near Disneyland. Her artwork is very dark yet contain cartoon imagery and does a phenomenal job at combining these opposites aspects of life together seamlessly to create a unique art form of lowbrow. Not to mention the color scheme, unique and filled with whimsy yet creates such a creepy tone. I adore her artwork and love this book, its massive, the dimensions are 27.9 x 35.5 cm and its the largest book I have on my shelves. I love that about it, such a great way to digest art. The layout is very well thought out and I love the see through sketches pages, I have another art book that contains these and for some reason I just love this inclusion. The illustration chronology is very insightful and cute and I loved reading and learning more about Camille Rose Garcia in this way. Very informative and its done in such a great way. Tragic Kingdom was an amazing few hours spent flipping through and her artwork is the type that even after repeat viewing I still find some new emotion or character lurking in the background. I was over joyed when I got this in the mail having had limited exposure to her artwork and its probably one of my favourite art books. I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know what you think of Tragic Kingdom in the comments.
Select photos of Tragic Kingdom:
Somewhere Under the Rainbow.
Somewhere Under the Rainbow is a coloring book by Tara McPherson of her artwork through Dark Horse Publications in 2008. I picked mine up two years ago and am still absolutely in love with it. It’s a coloring book mostly but you also get 4 postcards you can color, a sticker set, and with 24 crayons (the colors are custom created by her) in a cute vinyl bag. I collect postcards and stickers so these extra were amazing for me and they do not disappoint. I’ve included below photos of all the extras. It is hard to see how cute the vinyl bag is so you’ll have to trust me and I have already used two of the postcards. That leaves the coloring book itself and the custom crayons. I love coloring books, and this really doesn’t disappoint. She includes most of her artwork that she made before 2008 and the images used are very similar to her art book, “Lonely Heart“ that she put out in … also through Dark Horse. The quality of the paper is very good and it is easy to use markers or pencils crayons with it. I love that it’s in a ring style book so it is easy to flip pages over and color or if you wanted to take out. I’ve colored a few pages and the experience was really fun, you can make your own creation of her work no matter how weird it may end up looking (I am terrible at color theory). She includes all the details of her original pieces and her artwork translates well to the coloring book format. She even included her comic strip work. I guess the only downside to me was the crayons, the custom colors are amazing and I really love them however crayons by nature don’t work as well as they ever should. And anyone over the age of 5 has advance from crayons to pencil crayons so it was really a missed opportunity to not have them instead. And judging from the adult nature of her work, I don’t think the intended audience is anyone under the age of 15. I think it would be a dream to have the custom colors she made in pencil crayons instead. But buying a pack of pencil crayons is hardly a difficult thing to do so this was not a big issue for me at all. It’s simply wonderful, whether you a coloring book enthusiast, love her artwork and want to try your hand color it, or you want to perfect your color theory it’s a great book to do that with, and the extras are the icing on top. High recommended.
For more of her artwork check out here website: Tara Mcpherson
Check out below of photos of the extra items and select pages of the coloring book:
Hi-Fructose: Volume I
Hi-Fructose Volume 1 is a 256 page hard covered collection of the magazine’s volumes 1-4 at $35. It showcases “an eclectic mix of underground artists, pop surrealists, emerging and rediscovered countercultures, and awe-inspiring spectacles from around the world”. The book is a compilation and a ‘best of’ with 52 artists featured like Jeff Soto, Ray Caesar, Mark Ryden, Junko Mizuno, and Space Invader. Now that we got that outta the way, let us start with what I like about this collection from Hi-Fructose. The faithful translation from magazine to book is done wonderfully, for the first 4 additions I only own 1 of them; but quickly comparing what’s in the collection book and what’s in the magazine it appears to me almost identical. Even better without ad space and the usual structure magazines takes. The collection seems an improvement in flow and just in general the reading or flipping through experience. From my understand of their term “best of” it does mean maybe certain articles or not all images made it into the book but they aren’t missed when artist’s work is even bigger or spanning the whole page not just a section. It easy comes across as an art book more than a magazine. Sure there is the same articles featured from the magazine (and if you hadn’t notice in my previous reviews I don’t like too many words in my art books) but the images are so large is dwarfs the print and makes is secondary. I absolutely love it. It is amazing read and great to just flip through, especially when you keep in mind 99% of these artists don’t have their own art books for you to enjoy. And being able to enjoy the hardcover and not trying to keep you magazine volumes in pristine collection is another improvement in my opinion. As well for those of us to live in areas where getting magazines like Hi-Fructose is not always possible or easy, it’s a great way to enjoy their content. Even better they throw in a few perks for you too. I got both this and Volume 2 at the same time so I don’t remember anymore which perk went with what book but I got a set of stickers, a postcard from select artists. The real only negative I could think about this book is that since it’s a collection of a variety of artists, you may not enjoy every one, or agree with how much room certain artists get over your favourite one and minor issues like that. Purchasing only select volumes would really only be the other alternative but at the price the collection is a better deal to just buy it and even though Hi-Fructose does sell previous volumes in their store, the older more sought after ones are often sold out.
In my opinion, if you are into pop surrealism and modern art movements it would be a great addition to your reading list. You will have fun flicking through it and reading the interviews with the artists, especially since you will save yourself from having to seeing all the advertisements that go hand in hand with magazine publications.
For more information about Hi-Fructose magazine click: here!
Below are select pages from the book:
“Lost Constellations” – by Tara McPherson
Lost Constellations is the 2nd book featuring Tara McPherson art, its hard covered, 8.5″ x 11″ with 112 pages. This book showcases her art from 2009 and her first book Lonely Heart in 2006. I love her unique sense of fun, and its great that she shows you all elements of her art career, showing you the paintings and the posters that come from it as well as her sculpture work and comics. This is the middle book in her series, so far she’s put out one every 3 years, 2006, 2009 and 2012. She goes pop surrealism painting on a variety of materials as well as silk screening posters for contemporary rock bands. Her color pallet is very unique to her and her style and I love the imaginary she uses in her work. She is one of my favourite contemporary artist, and she seems like a very down to earth artist who is not full of themselves or her success. I am always genuinely surprised that more people do not know of her, considering musicians seek her out to do posters for their concerts. There is some downside to Lost Constellation as its not covering a long period of time the work featured is sometimes repetitive. Its more a complete look at what she’s been doing instead of showcasing just her best pieces. She alternates from full pages pieces to showing one side sketch drawing with the other one being the painting completed. I like this style and she uses it for all of her three books, however on Lost Constellations it feels a bit more repetitive and the same old same old; I did not get this feeling with her other two books. Perhaps having less pages would make it seem a bit tighter and less formulaic. It is really nice to see her sketch work, especially on the posters she does for bands but when it happens on almost every page it almost gives an impression to me like there wasn’t enough complete pieces to show. Her vibrant art, works best when its side by side another painting, and not a black and white sketch. However its genuinely nice to see her before sketches, it just doesn’t work as well in Lost Constellations as it does in the other two books. I really enjoyed it and if you are a fan of hers, its a must have, however if you are new to her art I suggest buying her one of her other books first to get into her world.
*for a compelte look at Lost Constellations click below, and more of her art check out: Tara McPherson