Work of Art: Judging This Book By Its Cover

by Paddy Johnson on June 24, 2010 · 48 comments WANGA

Contestant Abdi Farah takes a close look at Peregrine Honig's book design

The words of first round eliminated Work of Art contestant Amanda Williams, live on, unspoken. “It’s good for the public” she told Bravo cameras of her Jaime Lynn Henderson portrait, a concept so ill-defined, yet so pervasive within the show, Bravo often confuses even its basic premises for a challenge. Take this week’s design a book cover assignment: Is this a fine art challenge or applied arts? Bravo tells us it’s fine art, showing TV audiences pictures of Damian Hirst’s skull paintings on the cover of books, failing to mention that none of the artist examples had anything to do with the design. The work they were making just happened to suit the cover.

Either confusion over what constitutes fine art or an inability to secure suitable product partners for prizes brings Penguin into the mix, a book publisher known amongst other things for its runs of public domain classics. Artists were asked to make covers for a few of these better known books. A better match for the fine art challenge would have asked New York based artist book publisher Printed Matter to participate, but they likely lack in the capital and public profile needed for a Bravo production. Still, I’m a little surprised Taschen or Phaiden didn’t have a suitable publishing project for a partnership.

Upon receiving their assignment the artists set to work. Abdi Farah deludedly tells audiences that he and Miles have the same book and are finally competing against one another, (I don’t think they are working anywhere near the same level) and Judith Braun makes it very clear she’s an artist not a book cover designer. When mentor Simon de Pury tells the studio this is a mark of prestige every artist should want, Braun rolls her eyes.

Erik Johnson's book cover for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

This level of critique is necessary in a good show, so I was disappointed to see Braun work with such disinterest even if I understood the problems an artist would and should have with the process. Other artists were able to get behind the project and faired better as a result; Erik Johnson Alice in Wonderland cover was undoubtedly the best work he’d produced even if his rendering skills need improvement.

Still, the results of this challenge were largely lacking. Most of the artists hadn’t read their assigned book, and only one took the time to do so. Props to Miles Mendenhall for that, though let’s remember that this was possible with the type of book and length he was working with. It’s a quick short read. (Competitor Ryan Shultz disagrees.) Looker Jaclyn Santos claimed she’d never even heard of Jane Austen, but due to the nature of that book, unlike Mendenhall, she wouldn’t have had the time to run through it even if she wanted.

As I noted last week, the judging remains a weak point in the show, even if their conclusions were a little more on target this episode. I’ll go over the results in blurb form for the sake of efficiency:

John Parot's book cover for H.G. Wells' The Time Machine

THE WINNER

John Parot’s H.G. Wells Time Machine cover was the clear winner and amongst only a couple strong works. His abstract Chris Johanson-inspired geometric blob time machine maintained enough mystery that you’d want to open the book to find out what’s it’s about. It deserved the win.

Mark Velasquez's book cover for Bram Stoker's Dracula

THE RUNNER UP

I get why Mark Valesquez commercial-friendly blood-dripping Dracula cover was runner up, but I still don’t like it. Nao Bustamante‘s self portrait for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Bustamante’s was a far stronger work of art even if it’s a little too self-referential-verging-on-narcisism-arty for mass audiences. Still, if Bravo’s framing a contest as though it’s about fine art, it should at least take the time to identify it.

Peregrine Honig's book cover for H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, Jaclyn Santos' book cover for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

THE BOTTOM TWO OF THREE

Thanks but no thanks to the Penguin representative who told audiences that Peregrine Honig‘s Time Machine cover should be burned. The cute painting bore little relationship to the book, but no artist needs to be told so in such harsh terms. Jaclyn Santos’ piece paid no attention to the Book’s title and author, which was ultimately her undoing. She managed to spell Jane Austen’s name wrong, and spent a good deal of time crying in the back room while the judges deliberated. Amongst a myriad of other problems, her open investment in the show’s promise to give her an art career, delegitimizes her actual practice.

Judith Braun's book cover for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

JUDITH GOES HOME

I’ve spent the last three episodes watching Work of Art at Judith Braun’s viewing parties, so feel free to call me on my lack of objectivity when I write that Braun deserved to go home. She wasn’t interested in making a book cover and she barely produced one. Every reality show needs a talented “call em like they em” cast member, but ultimately contestants who don’t want to play should be eliminated before those less skilled participants who do. These are the rules of any game.

Still, the rationale presented for her elimination was not always consistent with the laid out challenge. If the first example image Bravo presents to competitors is Damian Hirst image showcased on the cover of a book produced independent of the work, Braun shouldn’t have been penalized for attempting the same. This was not the case, as critic Jerry Saltz complained Braun had “fallen back on gestures that were familiar”, even though as a criteria for publishing, the artist’s trade mark style would be essential.

At her studio last night, Braun explained that she found a New York Times review shortly there after about Austen, who enjoyed writing letters spelled backwards to her eight year old niece. Jokingly Braun wrote a letter to the producers and judges explaining that in light of this new information her work should be re-evaluated as the winner. Hers is a funny anecdote to her elimination, but I’ll add that she’d only be right if the book was a reprinting of Austen’s letters, not Pride and Prejudice.

  • mollypo

    I liked Miles' cover and thought it was funny that one of the judges said it had nothing to do with the content of the book.

    Also, Jaclyn Santos said she was familiar with the the film adaptations of Edirp and Ecidujerp (as it shall ever be known) and that she did read a synopsis, which makes her cover all the more pathetic. I can't believe any one of the judges took it seriously (weren't they saying she had a strong idea or did I dream that?)

  • mollypo

    I liked Miles' cover and thought it was funny that one of the judges said it had nothing to do with the content of the book.

    Also, Jaclyn Santos said she was familiar with the the film adaptations of Edirp and Ecidujerp (as it shall ever be known) and that she did read a synopsis, which makes her cover all the more pathetic. I can't believe any one of the judges took it seriously (weren't they saying she had a strong idea or did I dream that?)

  • MatthewChoberka

    I think you're going to face a huge challenge to comment substantively on this show week by week, if the pattern that is developing holds. This was a new low, the challenge's premise having essentially nothing to do with art making, and, as you say, the judging and critique, at least as seen through the editing process, weaker all the time.

    What is really disappointing to me is that Bravo seems to have been unwilling or unable to re-conceive the reality show format for this show. The rhythms dictated by these quick-turnaround challenges are not allowing for any insight into art-making that I recognize. The format might be ideal for an applied-art concept like Project Runway, but it seems to me to be stifling the thinking of the (very few) actual artists of promise here. How great would it have been to design one-week challenges, and to spend extended time letting us watch the crits unfold more organically? Jerry Saltz, whose efforts are being wasted by the producers, has been offering some expanded insights into the crits on FB…gives some sense that we are missing some of the better exchanges. The show could still meet all reality TV snark requirements in this way, might even achieve untold new snark heights with more interaction.

    So many problems, and missed opportunities here…

  • MatthewChoberka

    I think you're going to face a huge challenge to comment substantively on this show week by week, if the pattern that is developing holds. This was a new low, the challenge's premise having essentially nothing to do with art making, and, as you say, the judging and critique, at least as seen through the editing process, weaker all the time.

    What is really disappointing to me is that Bravo seems to have been unwilling or unable to re-conceive the reality show format for this show. The rhythms dictated by these quick-turnaround challenges are not allowing for any insight into art-making that I recognize. The format might be ideal for an applied-art concept like Project Runway, but it seems to me to be stifling the thinking of the (very few) actual artists of promise here. How great would it have been to design one-week challenges, and to spend extended time letting us watch the crits unfold more organically? Jerry Saltz, whose efforts are being wasted by the producers, has been offering some expanded insights into the crits on FB…gives some sense that we are missing some of the better exchanges. The show could still meet all reality TV snark requirements in this way, might even achieve untold new snark heights with more interaction.

    So many problems, and missed opportunities here…

  • http://Www.WhiteVinylSpace.com Andy Whore Wall

    Clearly, Judith won.

  • http://Www.WhiteVinylSpace.com Andy Whore Wall

    Clearly, Judith won.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/LM_LM LM_LM

    One important distinction between artists and designers is a knowledge of type. That's not a skill set that a lot of artists have if they've never done commercial design work at any point in their careers. In the case of the blue chip artists that have done book covers, I have my doubts that any art director ever sent back the mock ups with a snippy note asking Pablo if he knew what a fucking san serif was.

    As dreadful as Jaclyn Santos' cover was, it did remind me of those wonderful mass market 50's paperbacks of French classics decorated with delightfully lurid illustrations of fallen women. (Still she should have been sent home for including that retarded hat in the picture. What will she do next week, a solitary rose on a piano?)

    b/t/w I have no problem reading something backwards if I don't get it forwards, so I liked Judith's cover. (if I lived in NYC, I'd be crashing that viewing party too.)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/LM_LM LM_LM

    One important distinction between artists and designers is a knowledge of type. That's not a skill set that a lot of artists have if they've never done commercial design work at any point in their careers. In the case of the blue chip artists that have done book covers, I have my doubts that any art director ever sent back the mock ups with a snippy note asking Pablo if he knew what a fucking san serif was.

    As dreadful as Jaclyn Santos' cover was, it did remind me of those wonderful mass market 50's paperbacks of French classics decorated with delightfully lurid illustrations of fallen women. (Still she should have been sent home for including that retarded hat in the picture. What will she do next week, a solitary rose on a piano?)

    b/t/w I have no problem reading something backwards if I don't get it forwards, so I liked Judith's cover. (if I lived in NYC, I'd be crashing that viewing party too.)

  • Wil_Md

    I mostly agree with this, but should add: if the show was concerned at all (which it doesn't appear to be) with giving an accurate representation of the art world, the work–and the judges discourse around the work–would have really delved into the always unstable borders between commercial and fine art. But no. Another week, another abdication.

  • Wil_Md

    I mostly agree with this, but should add: if the show was concerned at all (which it doesn't appear to be) with giving an accurate representation of the art world, the work–and the judges discourse around the work–would have really delved into the always unstable borders between commercial and fine art. But no. Another week, another abdication.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/atonaladam atonaladam

    Printed Matter would have been perfect, or even the other publishers mentioned by AFC. I’ve seen many recognized fine artists do work for perfume, vodka and magazines but they where sought out for ‘their look’ (as it functions for a mass/commercial audience or they never would have been asked by publisher/corporation). How does the ‘quality’/perception of the work or artist change as the work functions as directly as many commercial commissions out there. The function is the same as illustration/design- all of which is varied and not ‘slick’; but perhaps packaged slickly? Today, in order to be a recognized commercial artist one must have an individual voice, just as a fine artist (post 1960). And there is, at times, a fine line between the two. I find this idea intriguing.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/atonaladam atonaladam

    Printed Matter would have been perfect, or even the other publishers mentioned by AFC. I’ve seen many recognized fine artists do work for perfume, vodka and magazines but they where sought out for ‘their look’ (as it functions for a mass/commercial audience or they never would have been asked by publisher/corporation). How does the ‘quality’/perception of the work or artist change as the work functions as directly as many commercial commissions out there. The function is the same as illustration/design- all of which is varied and not ‘slick’; but perhaps packaged slickly? Today, in order to be a recognized commercial artist one must have an individual voice, just as a fine artist (post 1960). And there is, at times, a fine line between the two. I find this idea intriguing.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patpatpatpat patpatpatpat

    This show fails so good. They really threw the contestants off a cliff this time. If the judges just had guns so they could shoot at the contestants feet while they make useless assessments. Think about it, Miles is all sleepy-eyed, dancing to the rhythm of Jerry’s gun.
    “You better play ball, Miles!”
    “I’m so tired(sobs)”
    sigh. maybe for future seasons. Hey, look at the bright side, less people would have this dialogue without a really bad show. Bold statements abruptly edited off from any explanation or context. Trong’s getting the boot for being too deep for TV. Disgruntled cast members, cringe-worthy work, and the almost infamous judging. Failure suits this competition so well.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patpatpatpat patpatpatpat

    This show fails so good. They really threw the contestants off a cliff this time. If the judges just had guns so they could shoot at the contestants feet while they make useless assessments. Think about it, Miles is all sleepy-eyed, dancing to the rhythm of Jerry’s gun.
    “You better play ball, Miles!”
    “I’m so tired(sobs)”
    sigh. maybe for future seasons. Hey, look at the bright side, less people would have this dialogue without a really bad show. Bold statements abruptly edited off from any explanation or context. Trong’s getting the boot for being too deep for TV. Disgruntled cast members, cringe-worthy work, and the almost infamous judging. Failure suits this competition so well.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    Given that she only participated in three "challenges," it's interesting to me that Judith's first and third projects both included alliterative text starting with the letter "P" ("Proud Pussy," "Pride and Prejudice") – it's also weird that "proud" appeared in her first piece, and "pride" in the third (they also both employed mostly purple/pink). She also flipped the words/images in both of these pieces (or "mirrored" them), which seems to have more to do with how she's been making those "ambidextrous" drawing series (like William Anastasi's "Subway Drawings" http://bit.ly/ba6Ef5).

    I thought it was gross how her last episode was edited to emphasize how "crazy" she was, especially with the inclusion of interviews by the other contestants where they called her "crazy" (Miles segment really revealed him to be a backstabbing, camera-whoring little shit), not to mention the "fade-out" effect used while she explained her piece during the crit – a favorite reality-show technique to tell us how "rambling" a person is.

    Oh. And the judges come off as really terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE. Simon de Pury: his crazed perma-smile and game-show-host hyperbole just comes off as resoundingly cheesy and insincere. China Chow: Pointless (and nice neck-scarf/feathered-boa/noose). Rohatyn: she just sounds like a deflating balloon and complete idiot. Powers: The more he talks, the less I care about anything he says (and BAD TAN). Saltz: Excessively cocks his head to the side and is irritatingly patronizing, but probably offers the "best" criticism on the show (which isn't saying much). Why can't I just look away? WHY?

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    Given that she only participated in three "challenges," it's interesting to me that Judith's first and third projects both included alliterative text starting with the letter "P" ("Proud Pussy," "Pride and Prejudice") – it's also weird that "proud" appeared in her first piece, and "pride" in the third (they also both employed mostly purple/pink). She also flipped the words/images in both of these pieces (or "mirrored" them), which seems to have more to do with how she's been making those "ambidextrous" drawing series (like William Anastasi's "Subway Drawings" http://bit.ly/ba6Ef5).

    I thought it was gross how her last episode was edited to emphasize how "crazy" she was, especially with the inclusion of interviews by the other contestants where they called her "crazy" (Miles segment really revealed him to be a backstabbing, camera-whoring little shit), not to mention the "fade-out" effect used while she explained her piece during the crit – a favorite reality-show technique to tell us how "rambling" a person is.

    Oh. And the judges come off as really terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE. Simon de Pury: his crazed perma-smile and game-show-host hyperbole just comes off as resoundingly cheesy and insincere. China Chow: Pointless (and nice neck-scarf/feathered-boa/noose). Rohatyn: she just sounds like a deflating balloon and complete idiot. Powers: The more he talks, the less I care about anything he says (and BAD TAN). Saltz: Excessively cocks his head to the side and is irritatingly patronizing, but probably offers the "best" criticism on the show (which isn't saying much). Why can't I just look away? WHY?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MatthewChoberka MatthewChoberka

    You have to love Jaclyn believing that her piece's shortcoming was that she hadn't developed enough contrast…yeah, that was the problem. Amazing (but unsurprising, I guess) the constant reliance on photographic sourcing for so many of these images. Can none of these guys discover an image without it being mediated and conditioned by a photo? Photography is of course a legit part of sourcing, but in most cases here the contestants seem not to be able to develop an image without one….where's the visual imagination?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MatthewChoberka MatthewChoberka

    You have to love Jaclyn believing that her piece's shortcoming was that she hadn't developed enough contrast…yeah, that was the problem. Amazing (but unsurprising, I guess) the constant reliance on photographic sourcing for so many of these images. Can none of these guys discover an image without it being mediated and conditioned by a photo? Photography is of course a legit part of sourcing, but in most cases here the contestants seem not to be able to develop an image without one….where's the visual imagination?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/atonaladam atonaladam

    Simon de Pury disconnects for me as well, perma-grin caricature of an elite art aficionado. Tim Gunn from P.Runway has more character that comes out (granted a bit of a caricature); but he has more opinion and charisma. The criticism from the jurists lacks any sort of visual history/context of all the visual arts unfortunately.

    Printed Matter would have been perfect, or even the other publishers mentioned by AFC. I’ve seen many recognized fine artists do work for perfume, vodka and magazines but they where sought out for ‘their look’ (as it functions for a mass/commercial audience or they never would have been asked by publisher/corporation). How does the ‘quality’/perception of the work or artist change as the work functions as directly as many commercial commissions out there. The function is the same as illustration/design- all of which is varied and not ‘slick’; but perhaps packaged slickly? Today, in order to be a recognized commercial artist one must have an individual voice, just as a fine artist (post 1960). And there is, at times, a fine line between the two. This is intriguing to me as there is a desire in all the visual arts to connect to a (varied) audience.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/atonaladam atonaladam

    Simon de Pury disconnects for me as well, perma-grin caricature of an elite art aficionado. Tim Gunn from P.Runway has more character that comes out (granted a bit of a caricature); but he has more opinion and charisma. The criticism from the jurists lacks any sort of visual history/context of all the visual arts unfortunately.

    Printed Matter would have been perfect, or even the other publishers mentioned by AFC. I’ve seen many recognized fine artists do work for perfume, vodka and magazines but they where sought out for ‘their look’ (as it functions for a mass/commercial audience or they never would have been asked by publisher/corporation). How does the ‘quality’/perception of the work or artist change as the work functions as directly as many commercial commissions out there. The function is the same as illustration/design- all of which is varied and not ‘slick’; but perhaps packaged slickly? Today, in order to be a recognized commercial artist one must have an individual voice, just as a fine artist (post 1960). And there is, at times, a fine line between the two. This is intriguing to me as there is a desire in all the visual arts to connect to a (varied) audience.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    @Judith: Regarding "crazy," I think that Paddy rightly noted that the editors took pains to present you as such because you were being critical of the show/challenge, but also because you were being "voted-off" that episode. After watching a lot of reality shows, you get familiar with the recurring "styles" of how editors will present a character that is going to be leaving. The "style" they employed on your last episode was to demonize you by making you out to be a zany, mumbling, rambling malcontent, which was unfortunately supplemented by the "OMG Judith is crazy" commentary by a few of the other contestants. It's hard to tell how much their comments were taken out of context, but the way that they were talking reminded me of how most typical, ultimately conservative people of that (my) generation speak about people/things that fall outside of their lame purview.

    So, as much as Miles, Jacyln, Nicole, etc. are trying to work their artist-chic, moments like these exemplify how truly close-minded they are. Seriously: all Miles does on the show is appeal to the people in power (judges, viewers, interviewers) by invoking his nervous/boyish "eccentric" schtick – but then he'll throw his "fellow artists" under the bus the moment he sees an opportunity to further fellate the judges' egos (desperately raising his hand to dig @ Trong) or somehow make him seem more appealing to the equally cynical viewing audience (like when he made/rolled eyes at the camera after "enduring" your night-blooming "craziness"). The show is misrepresentative, but it's also not that hard to see what utterly self-interested, mundanely shitty opportunists some of your young-n'-oh-so-hip "competitors" are.

    For what it's worth, you came off as an approachable, friendly, good-natured artist who didn't give a fuck about what other people thought about her or her work, but who is clearly invested in what she does (and has a mind/track-record to back it up). You never pandered – though you did snipe at Jaclyn in your "exit interview," but she's obviously an intolerable twit.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    @Judith: Regarding "crazy," I think that Paddy rightly noted that the editors took pains to present you as such because you were being critical of the show/challenge, but also because you were being "voted-off" that episode. After watching a lot of reality shows, you get familiar with the recurring "styles" of how editors will present a character that is going to be leaving. The "style" they employed on your last episode was to demonize you by making you out to be a zany, mumbling, rambling malcontent, which was unfortunately supplemented by the "OMG Judith is crazy" commentary by a few of the other contestants. It's hard to tell how much their comments were taken out of context, but the way that they were talking reminded me of how most typical, ultimately conservative people of that (my) generation speak about people/things that fall outside of their lame purview.

    So, as much as Miles, Jacyln, Nicole, etc. are trying to work their artist-chic, moments like these exemplify how truly close-minded they are. Seriously: all Miles does on the show is appeal to the people in power (judges, viewers, interviewers) by invoking his nervous/boyish "eccentric" schtick – but then he'll throw his "fellow artists" under the bus the moment he sees an opportunity to further fellate the judges' egos (desperately raising his hand to dig @ Trong) or somehow make him seem more appealing to the equally cynical viewing audience (like when he made/rolled eyes at the camera after "enduring" your night-blooming "craziness"). The show is misrepresentative, but it's also not that hard to see what utterly self-interested, mundanely shitty opportunists some of your young-n'-oh-so-hip "competitors" are.

    For what it's worth, you came off as an approachable, friendly, good-natured artist who didn't give a fuck about what other people thought about her or her work, but who is clearly invested in what she does (and has a mind/track-record to back it up). You never pandered – though you did snipe at Jaclyn in your "exit interview," but she's obviously an intolerable twit.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    On your 3rd point: you tapped into a beautifully serendipitous, unplanned, out-of-time, irrational moment of recognition while muddling through a poopy assignment. I think demystification has its virtues, but your coincidental road to discovering (and willingness to discover) a significant relationship between your "cover" and the author's similar wordplay is exactly the type of magical moment that shows like WANGA can't ever capture, do justice, or lend credence to.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

    On your 3rd point: you tapped into a beautifully serendipitous, unplanned, out-of-time, irrational moment of recognition while muddling through a poopy assignment. I think demystification has its virtues, but your coincidental road to discovering (and willingness to discover) a significant relationship between your "cover" and the author's similar wordplay is exactly the type of magical moment that shows like WANGA can't ever capture, do justice, or lend credence to.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/pinecode pinecode

    I thought Peregrine’s book cover was actually really clever. Most of The Time Machine is set in a fantasy-type world with the alien-like people. I think Peregrine’s cover tapped into that more than the obvious sci-fi slant. And commercially, it would make sense, because it would interest readers who would be put off by a super sci-fi cover.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Jesse_P_Martin Jesse_P_Martin

      I completely agree; I liked it, too. The judges were total assholes about her cover, which only helped to make them appear all the more un-insightful, unimaginative, and otherwise uniformly uninformed (and uninspiring).

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/LM_LM LM_LM

      Also if you consider that it was published in 1895, the decorative Victorian references fit well.

      • Jim Miller

        Jesse & LM, Yes, I thought that Peregrine’s Victorian styled cover immediately tied in to the author. To have not recognized this, and subsequently say that it should have been burned was either terminally narrow-minded or just plain ignorant.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/pinecode pinecode

    I thought Peregrine’s book cover was actually really clever. Most of The Time Machine is set in a fantasy-type world with the alien-like people. I think Peregrine’s cover tapped into that more than the obvious sci-fi slant. And commercially, it would make sense, because it would interest readers who would be put off by a super sci-fi cover.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Jesse_P_Martin Jesse_P_Martin

      I completely agree; I liked it, too. The judges were total assholes about her cover, which only helped to make them appear all the more un-insightful, unimaginative, and otherwise uniformly uninformed (and uninspiring).

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/LM_LM LM_LM

      Also if you consider that it was published in 1895, the decorative Victorian references fit well.

      • Jim Miller

        Jesse & LM, Yes, I thought that Peregrine’s Victorian styled cover immediately tied in to the author. To have not recognized this, and subsequently say that it should have been burned was either terminally narrow-minded or just plain ignorant.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    The more I look at Judith’s cover the more I like it. I’ll probably never get over spelling the title backwards – even if you don’t get the original title as L.M. notes it’s still a recognizable classic so consumers need to be able to identify it. The author’s name looks a little dashed off to me, but the piece itself is actually incredibly strong graphically. That might have been noted.

    Also, like L.M. I think Santos’ hat is completely ridiculous. How that ever passed I’ll never know.

    Finally kudos to Jesse for pointing out the choice to paint Judith as an insane contestant who needed to be eliminated just for that. That’s a narrative completely fabricated, and at the expense of the contestant.

    • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

      Judith's "cover" is a slow-read, and not like Miles' super-literate demonstration of takin' time to read (so brave!).

      If I was bothered by anything in her drawing, it was that she didn't mirror "and." I would've wanted this:

      Edirp
      dna
      Ecidujerp

      "And" backwards becomes an actual word (an acronym, like WANGA). And like with WANGA, I'm finding it *way* more interesting "interacting" with this show in a predominantly textual form, because to receive it solely as a television program is torture.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    The more I look at Judith’s cover the more I like it. I’ll probably never get over spelling the title backwards – even if you don’t get the original title as L.M. notes it’s still a recognizable classic so consumers need to be able to identify it. The author’s name looks a little dashed off to me, but the piece itself is actually incredibly strong graphically. That might have been noted.

    Also, like L.M. I think Santos’ hat is completely ridiculous. How that ever passed I’ll never know.

    Finally kudos to Jesse for pointing out the choice to paint Judith as an insane contestant who needed to be eliminated just for that. That’s a narrative completely fabricated, and at the expense of the contestant.

    • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse_P_Martin

      Judith's "cover" is a slow-read, and not like Miles' super-literate demonstration of takin' time to read (so brave!).

      If I was bothered by anything in her drawing, it was that she didn't mirror "and." I would've wanted this:

      Edirp
      dna
      Ecidujerp

      "And" backwards becomes an actual word (an acronym, like WANGA). And like with WANGA, I'm finding it *way* more interesting "interacting" with this show in a predominantly textual form, because to receive it solely as a television program is torture.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com PatrickCollier

    FWIW, there's a lot of foreshadowing that occurs in each episode, so I knew who was going and who would win early on. It's just a game my spouse and I play, nothing special. The more I watch this thing, the more I flash back to school days. That might be the proper context to put the viewing into and reserve judgment regarding who has best fulfilled the assigned task. Accept the show for what it is largely about: personality, desperation and machination. The editing says it all.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com PatrickCollier

    FWIW, there's a lot of foreshadowing that occurs in each episode, so I knew who was going and who would win early on. It's just a game my spouse and I play, nothing special. The more I watch this thing, the more I flash back to school days. That might be the proper context to put the viewing into and reserve judgment regarding who has best fulfilled the assigned task. Accept the show for what it is largely about: personality, desperation and machination. The editing says it all.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patpatpatpat patpatpatpat

    In defense of Mark's work, had Dracula been about getting 14 year olds naked, I think this piece would've been a lot stronger.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patpatpatpat patpatpatpat

    In defense of Mark's work, had Dracula been about getting 14 year olds naked, I think this piece would've been a lot stronger.

  • miss_eliza

    I haven't watched this show and might not ever watch it, but i LOVE these recaps.

    Re: the 2 Austen covers; I have also read all of Jane Austen's work and have a high regard for it. In my opinion there is no conceivable manner in which the author herself would appreciate the Santos cover except to ridicule it. That nude back and that ridiculous hat have nothing to do with even the period the book was set in let alone the novel itself. The hideousness of it boggles. Santos should have been eliminated for that piece, going by what i see here.

    However the Braun cover does grow on a person. I agree with AFC the rendering of the name could use improvement, but the concept and the execution for the most part stands up.

    It sounds to me like the basic premise of the show is a huge problem because we all know that 'Great Art' is seldom made in 12 hours and is often never a shill project for Penguin designing covers for classics. One can only imagine the future co-branding nightmares that await the remaining contestants. The horrors!

    The applied arts versions are much better, but even the designers / challenges on Project Runway are also highly suspect. For example, Seth Aaron's work was atrocious in my opinion. These Bravo shows celebrate mediocre delusion above all else really so i don't see how this one was going to be any different.

    Hats off to AFC for holding it accountable to its claims though.

  • miss_eliza

    I haven't watched this show and might not ever watch it, but i LOVE these recaps.

    Re: the 2 Austen covers; I have also read all of Jane Austen's work and have a high regard for it. In my opinion there is no conceivable manner in which the author herself would appreciate the Santos cover except to ridicule it. That nude back and that ridiculous hat have nothing to do with even the period the book was set in let alone the novel itself. The hideousness of it boggles. Santos should have been eliminated for that piece, going by what i see here.

    However the Braun cover does grow on a person. I agree with AFC the rendering of the name could use improvement, but the concept and the execution for the most part stands up.

    It sounds to me like the basic premise of the show is a huge problem because we all know that 'Great Art' is seldom made in 12 hours and is often never a shill project for Penguin designing covers for classics. One can only imagine the future co-branding nightmares that await the remaining contestants. The horrors!

    The applied arts versions are much better, but even the designers / challenges on Project Runway are also highly suspect. For example, Seth Aaron's work was atrocious in my opinion. These Bravo shows celebrate mediocre delusion above all else really so i don't see how this one was going to be any different.

    Hats off to AFC for holding it accountable to its claims though.

  • Jim_C

    I thought Peregrine's piece was lovely, and while I agree it had little to do with the book, it was so much more cleanly-executed, and a stronger composition, than many of the others, taking into account the text as well. I wonder if the artists knew text would be a part of the challenge? because it seemed an afterthought on so many of the pieces. P's piece last week was moving and lovely, as well–more compelling than Nicole's "graveyard."

    Jaclyn's piece was just dreadfully embarrassing. She called P & P, which is a wonderful comedy of manners, "a tragedy?"–ugh! And that hat! And semi-nudity? For Jane Austen?!!! The judges were right to single her out, but the reasons? She didn't "reveal enough of herself?" What?!! Her cover was lame and completely divorced from the book! maddening

    I was curious to see how Judith's original concept might have turned out, dammit–I liked those feathery fingers!

    John rocks. So well-deserved, and glad he got some screen time! And Mark deserved recognition for his professional execution.

  • Jim_C

    I thought Peregrine's piece was lovely, and while I agree it had little to do with the book, it was so much more cleanly-executed, and a stronger composition, than many of the others, taking into account the text as well. I wonder if the artists knew text would be a part of the challenge? because it seemed an afterthought on so many of the pieces. P's piece last week was moving and lovely, as well–more compelling than Nicole's "graveyard."

    Jaclyn's piece was just dreadfully embarrassing. She called P & P, which is a wonderful comedy of manners, "a tragedy?"–ugh! And that hat! And semi-nudity? For Jane Austen?!!! The judges were right to single her out, but the reasons? She didn't "reveal enough of herself?" What?!! Her cover was lame and completely divorced from the book! maddening

    I was curious to see how Judith's original concept might have turned out, dammit–I liked those feathery fingers!

    John rocks. So well-deserved, and glad he got some screen time! And Mark deserved recognition for his professional execution.

  • peregrinehonig

    I was excited for the prospect of working with John Parot on the third challenge and was disappointed to be competing directly against him. John had proven to be entertaining and his second piece- a sort of eroticized vision of outdated teen luxury- was captivating and funny. We all share that first moment of being turned on by the cooler kid’s stuff. In Parot’s case, it was his friend’s older brother. Blacklight posters, stereo systems, drug paraphernalia peeked back at him through the sexy teenage mess.
    John deserved his win. His image glowed in the room. He fidgeted and fussed over his piece and was kind and confident enough to be complimentary towards mine during my critique. John grew up around Penguin books and the challenge was made for him. I already have my copy and it is sweet to have someone I respect looking back at me from the back.
    My book cover was a testament to the main character and the year it was published -1895-thank you LM_LM for noticing. A smoker tripping over toys in the dark- a weirdo who falls in love with a childish nymph. I liked the idea of nicotine stained wallpaper revealing the story and the text floated in space through a box that opened like a daguerreotype. Whatever. Take me or leave me- just don’t burn me.

  • peregrinehonig

    I was excited for the prospect of working with John Parot on the third challenge and was disappointed to be competing directly against him. John had proven to be entertaining and his second piece- a sort of eroticized vision of outdated teen luxury- was captivating and funny. We all share that first moment of being turned on by the cooler kid’s stuff. In Parot’s case, it was his friend’s older brother. Blacklight posters, stereo systems, drug paraphernalia peeked back at him through the sexy teenage mess.
    John deserved his win. His image glowed in the room. He fidgeted and fussed over his piece and was kind and confident enough to be complimentary towards mine during my critique. John grew up around Penguin books and the challenge was made for him. I already have my copy and it is sweet to have someone I respect looking back at me from the back.
    My book cover was a testament to the main character and the year it was published -1895-thank you LM_LM for noticing. A smoker tripping over toys in the dark- a weirdo who falls in love with a childish nymph. I liked the idea of nicotine stained wallpaper revealing the story and the text floated in space through a box that opened like a daguerreotype. Whatever. Take me or leave me- just don’t burn me.

  • http://allfruitsripe.tumblr.com AllFruitsRipe

    I agree Mark’s is the worst bookcover. It’s so generic! Yes the challenge was to design a book cover but you must also remember to remain creative and be an artist.

  • http://allfruitsripe.tumblr.com AllFruitsRipe

    I agree Mark’s is the worst bookcover. It’s so generic! Yes the challenge was to design a book cover but you must also remember to remain creative and be an artist.

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