Notes on a case of Nicholas Gurewitch

In December 2014 I backed a Kickstarter project by one of my favourite artists, Nick Gurewitch, creator of the Perry Bible Fellowship:

The project is called Notes on a Case of Melancholia, Or: A Little Death.

This is book about Death’s despair regarding his kid- an affectionate “Little Death” who simply doesn’t have what it takes to carry on the family business.

Dr. Edgar O. Wye is a psychoanalyst who takes Death on as a patient. The book’s rhyming narration will be taken from his case notes.

The book will run about 42-50 pages long, and will be completely illustrated. Graphic novel “frames” will be used on occasion, but this will really be more of a picture book – deliberately similar to the short books of Edward Gorey, but with a character-driven plot. Though it has a pretty high body count, it is in essence a family story.

It’s running slightly late. (About 18 months.) This is mostly due to the painstaking subtractive work required to produce each page: they are created by painting a board with black ink then ‘drawn’ by scratching millions of tiny lines with a scalpel.

Nick and his project were the subjects of a short documentary:

Nick’s just found out that his publisher has folded. It’s not too late to support the project to ensure it appears in a (somewhat) timely manner.

Eastern Bloc matchbox labels

The Instagram account @matchbloc collects 1950s and 60s Eastern European matchbox labels:

Mosty – healthy refreshments. (Czechoslovakia)

A post shared by @ matchbloc on

Seasons. (Czechoslovakia)

A post shared by @ matchbloc on

'Watch military films' (Czechoslovakia)

A post shared by @ matchbloc on

The account is run by Jane McDevitt, Partner at Maraid Design, and Neal Whittington of Present & Correct—both based some 1,000+ miles away in the UK.

From Jane’s 2007 post on the topic:

My interest in matchbox labels lies primarily in the design but also the concept that these small images can communicate to a large number of people.

1950s and 60s Eastern European labels captivate me most. Why did this area of the world embrace modern design and imagery when many countries, including Britain, still preferred the Victorian aesthetic?

Subject matter is also fascinating. As with advertisers, governments were quick to realise the potential of these far reaching messages. Propaganda was popular but so too was public service announcements including fire safety, hygiene, money saving, alcohol abuse and road safety.

This combination of subject and design has left behind an invaluable archive of its time.

A post on It’s Nice That suggests that a book is on its way.

NASA’s visions of the Future

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab produced some retrofuturist posters a while back.

Imagination is our window into the future. At NASA/JPL we strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality. As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future.

Here are a couple. You can download full-size files (200 MB TIFF!) from the NASA site to print out.

NASA's Grand Tour poster

NASA's Mars poster

The water in my heart has fallen

Why Cambodians never get ‘depressed’. “People in Cambodia experience what we Americans call depression. But there’s no direct translation for the word ‘depression’ in the Cambodian Khmer language. Instead, people may say thelea tdeuk ceut, which literally means ‘the water in my heart has fallen.’ ”

Why Is the dollar sign a letter S? “There’s a good story behind it, but here’s a big hint: the dollar sign isn’t a dollar sign. It’s a peso sign.”

My week of dangerous self-indulgence . “I’m not a person of modest appetites: I love drinking, overeating, gambling, certain drugs, and having casual sex with horrible people. […] Here is what I did — for one week — that was bad for me. And also ‘exactly what I wanted.’ ”

Printing Medium stories. “Printing articles off of Medium might not be commonplace, but we want it to be a great experience […] The idea that printing could leave your words mangled or stories disfigured, felt like breaking our part of the deal we feel we have with everyone who writes and reads on Medium.”

Where art meets Gif: the hypnotic animated Gifs of David Szakaly. “Since 2008 Hungarian/German graphic designer David Szakaly has been churning out some of the most dizzying, hypnotic and wholly original gifs on the web under the name Davidope.”

“Every Breath You Take” in minor key. I think I might like this more than the original. Added creep factor!

Emojicons. “Welcome to Emojicons, your one-stop plot of internet land for every ლ(╹◡╹ლ), ¯\(ツ)/¯, ಠ_ಠ, and (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ you can possibly imagine.”