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Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie

Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie Cover

ISBN13: 9780981780528
ISBN10: 0981780520
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Throughout the world major fast-food chains are easily recognizable, synonymous, for better or worse, with an American way of life. Far more interesting, however, are the generic fast-food establishments that serve menus that are more or less the same as their corporate counterparts, but not as slicked with marketing.

A subgenre of such eateries, found across the United Kingdom and urban America, is the chicken joint. Offering fried chicken, French fries, burgers and an array of Indian and Middle Eastern-inspired items, these restaurants are countless, though they all share similar qualities. Called such names as Perfect Fried Chicken and Tennessee Fried Chicken, these are not franchises, but individual establishments that happen to use the similar names and looks, though no two are the same. It is these differences that Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie comprises, showcasing a vivid vernacular design culture.

With photographs of menus, logos, lettering and menus, and an interview with the founder of the London-based business responsible for making most of the city’s chicken joint signage, Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie celebrates the varied visual qualities of fast-food signage. On the surface it may all look the same, but the differences reflect a ubiquitous, and humorous, design aesthetic that cannot be ignored.


Celebrates the varied visual qualities of fast-food signage. On the surface it may all look the same, but the differences reflect a ubiquitous, and humorous, vernacular design.



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Grady Harp, March 8, 2009 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
An American Icon Food as Interpreted by Graphic Artists

Housed in a book cover that is hilariously vinyl (so that greasy fingers might not soil the reading inside) is graphic designer Siaron Hughes' richly photographic monograph on the subject of fast food Chicken establishments in the UK and the USA. In an introduction, warm and humorous, Hughes shares his decision to investigate the impression that the popular American dish - Fried Chicken - has on fast food eateries throughout London. The majority of the book is a vast array of color photographs of the signage, menus, and establishments that tempted Hughes' palate. But also sprinkled throughout the text are interviews with some of the eatery owners and decision makers about how to attract particular ethnic neighborhoods to the very American style dish.

For instance, many of the 'chicken establishments' offer chicken kebabs along with other Middle Eastern favorites, yet the chicken items are presented with a nod to their origin, whether that be a red, white and blue graphic or the name of a popular USA chicken-famous town. Hughes has a rather extensive interview with a sign maker, one Morris Cassanova (aka Mr. Chicken) that rings with both bite and humor while defending the use of the American influence to market his product.

The design of the book as well as the choices of placement of signs with menus along side photos of shop owners and the countless images that represent American chicken make for a tasty book that will satisfy not only students of graphic design and sociology, but also those of us with a sense of humor about one of our 'sacred icons' - a lasting food offering even with the advent of 'health foods!' This is a delightful art book with a strong message that will leave the reader smiling and a bit embarrassed about how the world views the USA.

Grady Harp
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Product Details

Low Art, High Calorie
Mark Batty Publisher
Hughes, Siaron
Graphic Arts - General
Graphic Arts - Advertising
Industries - Hospitality, Travel & Tourism
Popular Culture
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.10x6.90x.50 in. 1.00 lbs.

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Excess Culture » Objects
Arts and Entertainment » Excess Culture » Sale Books

Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie
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Product details 128 pages Mark Batty Publisher - English 9780981780528 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Celebrates the varied visual qualities of fast-food signage. On the surface it may all look the same, but the differences reflect a ubiquitous, and humorous, vernacular design.
"Synopsis" by , CN
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