Sunday, 29 July 2012

Creative Book Art

A 24-foot high work of a woman and her cat

 The other day I was in Times Square in Causeway Bay and the atrium on the second floor had an interesting exhibition -- art pieces made of books.

They are the artwork of Mike Stilkey who has entitled the exhibition "Full of Smiles and Soft Attentions".

Fun piece of a bear playing the guitar on the grass
The biggest piece is a portrait of a sophisticated skinny woman holding her cartoonish-looking pink cat complete with bow tie in her left arm. Or is he a stuffed animal?

It's so interesting to see the colourful compilation of the books that were then painted over. Imagine trying to collect that many books to deliberately paint on!

But there's more.

The exhibition features more book "statues", whimsical images of more cats with flamboyant whiskers, an elephant in a suit wading in the ocean, while a bear sits on the grass and plays the guitar.

One of my favourite pieces is a glass "tank" with a pile of books painted like a shark in the water. It immediately brings to mind Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

Instead of a real shark, the painted one does just fine and in fact Stilkey should make a cheeky comment that no animals were harmed during the artistic process.

A painted shark in a tank... what does it remind you of?
In Stilkey's exhibition biography, it explains the Los Angeles native not only paints on books, but also album covers, vintage papers and book pages. He also uses a variety of ink, coloured pencil, paint and lacquer.

His work is described as alternatively whimsical and melancholy, evoking the styles of a range of artists including illustrator Edward Gorey and Egon Schiele, an expressionist.

Full of Smiles and Soft Attentions
Until August 5
Times Square
Causeway Bay

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