Category Archives: photography

‘Nutcracker’ illustrations in the Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature

Just received my contributor copies of the Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature!  It is a large, bright anthology of classic children’s stories, adaptated by various contemporary artists and illustrators. Edited by Russ Kick, out now from Seven Stories Press.

Graphic Canon of Children's Literature, cover

Graphic Canon of Children's Literature, book

It was VERY hard to choose which story to adapt, but I finally decided to go with “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. I have always loved the Tchaikovsky ballet, the costumes and the characters. While researching, I learned that the ballet was actually based on the short story by Alexander Dumas, which was actually a re-write of an earlier version by E.T.A Hoffmann, a German writer and composer. The original, written in 1816, is much darker, stranger, and more interesting than the later Dumas version. So of course I had to illustrate the original :)

These began as brush and ink drawings, which were digitally colored for the publication. I later decided to make the images into screen prints. You can see the original handprinted editions on my etsy page

The Battle between Dolls and Mice, detail

The Nutcracker and Doll Kingdom, spread

Seven-Headed Mouse King and The Battle between Dolls and Mice, spread

The Capital

CPC 25th Exhibit: Thank you & photos

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to the opening at EXPO 72 for CPC’s 25th Anniversary Exhibition. Such a magical night!

opening night
photography © Jeff Lassahn 2014

opening night
photography © Jeff Lassahn 2014

cpc 25th, group
group shot of some of the artists… I stole this from somewhere online (because we look adorable!!), apologies for lack of photo credit

The exhibit included one of my new works (below), which I haven’t had a chance to post yet.

The piece is called “Moth”, from a new collection of prints exploring colors and patterns as inpired by insects and seasons.

It is 24″ x 21″ four-color screen print on Stonehenge. Please click through for larger views.

glisic 'moth' 2014

glisic 'moth' 2014

glisic 'moth' 2014, detail

For more details and purchasing info, please visit my etsy shop

The framing was done by my very talented friend and artist, Liz Born, of Pilsen’s awesome new printshop & framing studio, Hoofprint Woorkshop. These guys truly rock!

The exhibition is on view through February 28th, 2015, at EXPO 72 Gallery – right across the street from the Chicago Cultural Center

Karl Blossfeldt’s Beautiful Plants

Every summer, I visit the Newberry Library Book Fair, an incredible used and rare books festival which takes places at The Newberry Library in Chicago. I save up money and spend most of it on as many books as I can carry back home.

I’ve recently been looking at one of the books that I picked up at the fair. I wanted to share it with my students, then found myself completely immersed in it (this happens a lot). It’s a beautiful collection of over 100 full-page photographs of highly magnified plant forms. They are characterful and lively; with a little imagination, one could find faces, bodies, architecture, and plenty of inspiration in the simple, graphic structures.

The book is “Art Forms in the Plant World” by Karl Blossfeldt. It is not a rare book and can be acquired online inexpensively.

Below are a few of my favorite pages scanned from the book. Click to view larger.
Blossfeldt, Pumpkin Tendrils
Pumpkin Tendrils

Blossfeldt, horsetail shoots
Varied shoots

Blossfeldt, Bourgati's Eryngo Leaf
Bourgati’s Eryngo Leaf

Blossfeldt, American Horse-Chestnut
Small-flowered American Horse-Chestnut

Blossfeldt, Weeping Forsythia
Weeping Forsythia, young shoot

Blossfeldt, Scorpion weed
Scorpion-weed panicles

Blossfeldt, Winter Horsetail Shoots
Varied shoots

American Folk Art Museum in New York

A few small gems from a quick New York trip…

One of my favorite places was the American Folk Art Museum. I was looking for something similar to Chicago’s Intuit , which is one of my all-time favorite museums. Turns out the Folk Art Museum has free admission. It also turns out not many people have heard of the place. It’s too bad because it’s got some really incredible gems. The exhibit, “Jubilation/Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined”, featured selections from the collection, everything from traditional crafts to more recognizable names.

AmericanFolkMuseum

I took photos of stuff I hadn’t encountered before:

ShirleyMcLaren

This painting particularly struck me for some strange reason. It is by Jamaican artist Sidney McLaren, who didn’t begin painting until much later in life. It reads: “Sidney McLaren – Artist at 84 yrs. old. Life is What One Makes it. No Two Men Alike.” (1979)

This one is titled “Roaring Lion, Guardian of the Temples” by Augustin Lesage (1938):
'Roaring Lion, Guardian of the Temples', Augustin Lesage, 1938

Lesage, a miner in France, started hearing voices while working underground, and began to paint under their direction. “My guides have told me: ‘Do not try to understand what you are doing.’ I draw the figures they make me draw. I pick the colors they make me pick and mix colors without knowing what I will end up with.”

Last one:
Strange Fruits

‘Strange Fruits’, by Ulysses Davis, made in the 1970’s in Savannah, Georgia. It doesn’t translate well in the photo, the actual sculpture is very beautiful and fantastical in real life. It was made at the height of the civil rights movement. The title comes from a 1937 poem by Abel Meeropol – later transformed into a protest song and sung by Billie Holiday:



The next day I ended up at the Rubin Museum and walked around. There was a really great exhibit of Illuminated Books, such as this beautiful Gospels Book from 16th century Armenia, with earrings and metalwork tacked onto it:
ArmenianBook

There was so much more and I wish I could devote a whole day to writing about it all. I also visited Printed Matter, which was a real treat.