Book Concept, Writing, Design & Illustration, 2007-2010
This book represents a culmination of research, graphic design, and even sculpture projects. Though the text itself is not my ‘voice’ (it’s written in a complex style that is almost like a 19th century sermon – it even has numbered paragraphs like a bible, although they count down to zero), it’s a really important work for me.
First, it satisfied my desire to write a book, which I’d had for 10 years, since arriving at art school age 19. Second, it unites all the things I was exploring at art school with the new direction I was taking. Lastly, it includes a lot of illustrations, which offers a good example of my freehand technical drawing, observational drawing and sketching.
Among the book’s various themes, the starting point was the concept of a sphere turning inside out without breaking. In mathematics, this phenomenon is called ‘Sphere Eversion’. It falls under an area of maths called Differential Topology – which basically means shapes ‘n’ stuff. Topology is algebra projected into 3D, and for every topological function there are numerous 3D visualizations and sculptures that occupy University Mathematics departments, science museums and even art galleries.
Sphere Eversion – this apparently useless concept is actually the solution to a complex mathematical problem called ‘Smales Paradox’.
In art school, I was fascinated by this idea. I applied the concept to the idea of an egg turning inside out, and developed a 2D graphic representation…
The highlight of art school was being chosen for an exchange program, to the Cooper Union school in New York. While in NY I visited a major art gallery – I forget which one! – where I saw a display cabinet. Inside the cabinet was a collection of various objects, one of which was a perfect replica of an isolated egg yoke. It was plump, shiny and yellow. I was inspired to turn my 2D concept into 3D…
I consider the ‘everted egg’ to be an alchemical symbol for the nature of reality – revealing itself in a continuum yet neither completely nor in isolated pieces. This provided rich material for a book, which talked around analogues for this idea in politics, the natural world, art, design, music and philosophy, uniting things that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other.
For instance, it talks about the phenomenon of animals featured in fast food restaurant signage, apparently happily eating themselves – dead/undead/refusing to die.
In the next moment, it mentions ancient iconic sculpture, like the famous Venus De Milo, which are complete in their incompleteness – they’ve been damaged with limbs missing, yet they’re whole works of art.
And a few pages later, it discusses the strange phenomenon of slashes and dents being intentionally designed into car bodywork – preempting the car’s actual damage.
In trying to categorize the book, I would say it’s a pataphysical artist’s stream-of-consciousness.