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Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Pageby Matt Kish
In 2009, Matt Kish had an idea, a dream, a plan. Every day he would read a page from Moby-Dick, choose one passage, and then create an image based on the text for all 552 pages! A year and a half later his epic quest came to an end, and Portland's Tin House agreed to publish the whole collection. Moby-Dick in Pictures feels like a psychological journey, with Kish playing the role of both Ishmael the Chronicler and Ahab the Obsessive. I feel lucky just to be an observer on this extraordinary ride.
Synopses & Reviews
Refusing to set any boundaries, Matt Kish uses a wide variety of materials, including found paper, ballpoint pens, markers, paint, crayons, ink, and watercolors to create art inspired by lines from every single page of the 552-page Signet Classics edition of Moby-Dick.
A hallmark of the project has been his use of pages torn from old, discarded books. Layering images on top of existing words and images, Kish has crafted a work that aptly echoes the layers of meaning in Melville's narrative. His approach is deliberately low-tech, a counterresponse to the increasing popularity of born-digital art and literature. Kish spent nearly every day for 18 months toiling away in a small closet converted into an art studio. In order to easily share each image with friends and family, he started the blog One Drawing for Every Page of Moby-Dick and posted art and brief posts about the process on a daily basis.
"Not so much honored as reimagined, Moby-Dick in Kish's hands is the vertiginous immersive experience Melville intended." Bookforum
"[A] wondrous compendium...sometimes vibrant, sometimes somber, Kish's images are relentlessly fresh and eye-catching...Even the least visual readers will feel energized by Kish's artistry and his obvious passion for Melville's work." Library Journal
"Conjuring the frenetic energy of tempest-tossed waves so integral to Moby-Dick's setting, the artist's bold, full-page drawings in highly saturated colors illustrate passages he's called out, but also extend the narrative to suggest that modern-day man hungers to fulfill his self-proclaimed destiny every bit as much as the legendary whalers did....clearly infused with an intense joy that only comes from following one's heart." ForeWord Book Reviews
"I'm in love...with Kish's art work....Who knows, Matt Kish may be the impetus to finally read Moby-Dick." Contemporary Literature
"Woven of equal parts visual mastery and creative bravery, Moby-Dick in Pictures is a treasure in and of itself, one that not only pays homage to Melville, but also reimagines what it means to embark on a modern-day epic voyage of creative restlessness." The Atlantic
"Kish has done something really fascinating [in Moby-Dick in Pictures]. He has not only re-imagined Moby Dick for a modern audience. He has also slyly, almost imperceptibly, yanked this nineteenth century novel into the twenty-first century, underlining its relevance for the post-post-modern world. These illustrations are not simply a sideshow to the novel: they are a well-thought out pleasure that enhances the enjoyment and understanding of Melville's work." The Rumpus
"The overall impact of Moby-Dick in Pictures is stunning..." The Oregonian
Inspired by one of the worlds greatest novels, Ohio artist Matt Kish set out on an epic voyage of his own one day in August 2009. More than one hundred and fifty years following the original publication of Moby-Dick, Kish began illustrating Herman Melville's classic, creating an image a day over the next eighteen months based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition.
About the Author
Matt Kish was born in 1969 and lives in the middle of Ohio. After stints as a cafeteria cook, a hospital registrar, a bookstore manager, and an English teacher, he ended up as a librarian. He draws as often as he can, often with whatever he can find. He has tried his hand at 35mm black-and-white photography (with real film and real chemicals), making comics and zines, a bit of collage, and lots of pen and ink. Moby-Dick is his favorite novel.
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