Book Review – Urgent 2nd Class by Nick Bantock

Title: Urgent 2nd Class:  Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, and Other Art from Ephemera
Author/Illustrator: Nick Bantock
Format: Paperback
Published: 2004

First of all, Nick Bantock is a canvas, done up as collage, and painted over with awesome sauce.  I mean it.  I’ve never seen anything he’s ever done that’s made me unhappy, and he’s one of the few authors that I’ve sought out so I could own all his stuff (I don’t yet, but I’m working on it).  (If you’ve never read Gryphon & Sabine, go now.)

This book is part biography, part how to, and part coffee table art book.  It’s arranged in chapters, each one about a different project.  In it, he tells a little about himself and a little about how he did the art work.  But the best part is the word to picture ratio.  For every paragraph, there’s an image.  Or more.  It’s awesome.

It starts with the book covers that he did at the beginning of his career.  I hadn’t known about those before, but now I’d like to go hunt a few of them down.  Then it covers Gryphon & Sabine, The Museum at Purgatory, etc.  No, it doesn’t touch everything (his fake Parisian guide book, for instance, isn’t in there), but the insights that it does give are awesome.

Now that I’ve read this, I want to go back and re-read everything else to see if I can gather some new insight to his work.  My advice?  Go through and read everything – every footnote, every paragraph, every caption for every piece of art.  Then go through again, and enjoy every image.  A couple times.  Because it’s that awesome.  And once you’re done with that, create a bit of something of your own.

Five out of five paint-slathered pages for sure.

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