Friday, December 26, 2008

Richard Scarry and this Painting I Made

I made this the other day.

Little House 2

It made me remember Richard Scarry.

I had spent the night in the studio so the next day as I was making my way downtown but the tram was slowing down to a crawl into the station. It took about 30 minutes to get from the last station outside the tunnel from Mission Bay to Embarcadero Station. Another station downtown had a power outage so both the Muni and the BART were both stopped up (If you're not from the Bay Area, the BART is the train I take home to Oakland, Muni is SF's public bus/tram system). So instead of waiting in a station for some unknown period of time I decided to go to a bookstore instead.

It was fucking crazy, cause it was the day before Christmas Eve. But I made my way to a small bookstore on 2nd Street, and I found this book:

It's a compilation book of Richard Scarry's work. You can also get it online here.

This was the image I was thinking about while drawing my painting. I had thought about it all night, so when my commute had slowed down I decided I should find this image. It's from Richard Scarry's "The Best Word Book Ever", which my mother owns, and I looked at this particular image a lot when I was little. I taught myself perspective when I was twelve and would go back to this image and wonder why he never thought to use perspective, or why everything was so off, or why there were no hallways. It truly boggled my mind, and I couldn't really wrap my tiny 7th grade little head around it. Back then, I was just unable to grasp artistic liberties (if you're wondering in 7th Grade all I drew were fighter jets, yeah not so sweet). From then on I didn't really think too much of Richard Scarry.

Growing up the Richard Scarry Book was never in my bookcase, cause it was always understood that it was my mom's and I never really figured out why. But after a while I realised it was one of the books that help teach my mom English. She did come here when she was 17, and it was a Giant Word book. If you were foreign and got dumped into some English speaking country, this would be the book for you to help figure out what everything was. I think there were some slight problems, cause you know, some drawings can be identified by different words to varying degree. I used to refer to all lettuce as salad for a really long time, like until I was 19. But overall my mom's grasp on the English language is pretty spot on for someone whose never took a class until recently.

I enjoyed this image. Someone should make a zine with this title. Earlier in the month Marci bought Gemma Correll's Everybody's Book of Kittens. It's a pretty f-ing cute zine, and the drawings are pretty awesome.

I really enjoyed the foreign city series. Among others he covers Rome, Paris, London and Algeria. The Algerian story is called, "Couscous, the Algerian Detective". It's really weird cause when he wrote and drew that, probably The Algerian War had just ended.

I believed he later in life moved to Europe and raised his family there. A few years ago I wikipedia-d him and, it stated his daughter was a well known New York socialite and found a interview of her that was kind of depressing. You can get this book in other languages if wanted to learn something foreign. But you'd probably have to at least know how to buy something online that's in another language. Uh.

But yes. These were my notes for stuff to draw I made while hanging out downtown.
Painting Notes


Nancy said...

Thought of you two kids when I saw this video (via Cute Overload):


Camilla said...

Ever since you made this post it's been bookmarked in an attempt to remind me to dig out my copy of this book. Last night I was feeling ill and I curled up in bed with it- my copy dates from xmas 1976 and is sadly missing the first 6 pages now (I blame my sister) so I don't have the mouse house or the first couple of pages of food that Hilda the Hippo gets fed. Re-reading it was amazing, there's so many great images in it and I could remember Pierre Bear almost word for word.