Friday, 10:00am
7 November 2014

Books received #11

Paul Graham, Rian Hughes, Modern Toss, The Art of Noir and Nude’s take on underground graphics

Here are a few books that have caught our attention in recent weeks.

Paul Graham’s Does Yellow Run Forever? (Mack, £30, €35) is a beautiful hardback A5 photobook with a velvety golden cover. With no written introduction, the book weaves together photographs of people sleeping, rainbows in Ireland and ‘cash for gold’ shopfronts in America with the aim of questioning value-systems and desire – the images, say the publishers, span ‘from reality to dream and illusion’.

Spread from Paul Graham’s Does Yellow Run Forever? showing Golden Pawn Shop on 138th street in the Bronx, New York.
Top: spread showing contemporary prints by Grégoire Gullemin from The Graphic Art of the Underground.

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Spread from Paul Graham’s Does Yellow Run Forever? showing a rainbow in Ireland.

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Cover of Does Yellow Run Forever? by Paul Graham. 

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The Graphic Art of the Underground: A Counter-Culture History (Bloomsbury, £29.99) by Ian Lowey and Suzy Prince aims to give an overview of underground art which opposes ‘wider society through the creation and development of their own distinct common cultural identities’. The authors worked together on the counter-culture magazine Nude from 2003, and covers and spreads from Nude illustrate the book’s introduction. The book looks to a wide array of source material, starting with American car customisers in the 1950s and 60s via punk and new wave to ‘graffiti knitting’ in the 2000s and some decidedly ‘overground’-looking Tunnock’s Tea Cake cushions by Nikki McWilliams.

(See ‘In search of Barney Bubbles’ in Eye 6.)

Spread showing the cover and spread from Clash 2nd Songbook, 1979, by Derek Boshier (left and bottom right) and the cover of Ian Dury Songbook, designed by Barney Bubbles (top right).

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Cover design by Jamie Keenan. Book designed by Ian Lowey.

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Rian Hughes’ most recent book 112 Hours: A Device Fonts Collection looks to clock faces, smoke boxes, cab plates, timestamps, electric meters, travel ticket stubs and betting slips, numbering stamps, food stamps and telegraphs for inspiration. All the fonts are limited to the numbers one to twelve (derived from the project’s original clock face source material) with a selection of supporting characters – currency symbols and punctuation. Hughes intends to extend a selection of fonts to include the full alphabet. (See ‘Books received #4’ on the Eye blog.)

Spread from Rian Hughes’ 112 Hours: A Device Fonts Collection showing Hours Fortnight and Hours Fortnight Solid. All fonts from the book are available to purchase at devicefonts.co.uk, Myfonts and FontShop.

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Cover of Rian Hughes’ 112 Hours: A Device Fonts Collection.

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Modern Toss: A Decade in the Shithouse celebrates work by Jon Link and Mick Bunnage since the launch of their first comics in 2004 (the website was launched in 2002). The hardback book, funded via Kickstarter, is funny from the outset – the foreword mocks forewords and the early Q&A-formatted text divulges that Modern Toss was originally to be called Shitflap but when printed out, it made Link and Bunnage ‘feel sick’. The pages are largely filled with Link and Bunnage’s ‘space guzzling’ cartoons, with expressive line drawings of foul-mouthed characters such as Mr Tourette the master signwriter and the disagreeable employees from the Work series.

A double gatefold makes the most of their shockingly expletive-free ‘Punctuation Networking Event’ first unveiled in ‘They work with words: 2’ in Eye 75 and the less restrained ‘Periodic Table of Swearing’ (see ‘Graphic language’ in Eye 78.)

Spread showing ‘an experienced model taking off his trousers and checking his watch’ and a comic to remind readers that ‘there was a time when people took the trouble to look at porn behind newspapers’.

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Spread showing cartoons from the Work series, inspired by ‘work-avoidance techniques’ brought about by social media.

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Cover of Modern Toss: A Decade in the Shithouse by Jon Link and Mick Bunnage, 2014, designed by Modern Toss.

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Eddie Muller’s The Art of Noir (Overlook Duckworth, £19.99) is an expanded and generously illustrated version of a book first published in 2002.

Spread showing Johnny O’Clock, 1946 (left), Acorralado [Cornered], 1945 and Cry Danger, 1951 (right).

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Spread showing a poster for The Underworld Story, 1951, and Scandal Sheet, 1952 (left) and Night Editor, 1946, and Ace in the Hole, 1951 (right).

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Though the movies covered (Ace in the Hole, Rear Window, Touch of Evil) may be starry classics, the illustrators, designers and lettering artists behind the pulp imagery of the posters and lobby cards are in the main anonymous or forgotten.

The new edition includes an additional chapter with some interesting finds such as this atypical Danish poster for Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place and a French photomontage poster for Dark Passage that is adapted for the new edition’s cover. The book’s design is by by Bernard Schleifer.

Poster for Manden uden hemninger [In a Lonely Place] (Denmark, 1950). Illustration by C. Bering.

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Cover design for The Art of Noir by Bernard Schleifer, using photomontage from 1947 French poster for Dark Passage.

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Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.

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