Wait ... what's this madness? A book review on Tomopop? Well ... yes, as we like to do a few books reviews as long as they're relevant to the site. Notably, it's a book featuring the art of Luke Chueh, whose work you've probably seen many a time on the pages of Tomopop.
Having just released today, "The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable" takes a look at the early part of the artist's career. But is it worth taking a look at yourself? Hit the jump to find out!
Book Name: "The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable"
Published by Titan Books with editing and other production work done by Gallery1988, "The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable" is, as you might have guessed, your usual art book at first glance. By that, I mean it's a compilation of the artist's work, with basic details included, and a few specific pieces getting special attention with words from Luke about them. The front and back covers are very simple and clean from a design perspective, with Luke's 2006 piece "Bear in Mind" appropriately gracing the front. It's also a fairly thick book, checking in at 192 pages of art and text.
Flipping open to the index will give Fall Out Boy fans something familiar to look at: the photo on the left is the piece Luke did for the cover of their 2007 album Folie à Deux. On the right side, you can see how the book is laid out: it's chronological, covering his work from 2003 to 2009.
What's also great is that the very first piece in the book, "Feeling Blue," is one of the first two Luke actually sold, and it then moves forward in time from there. I like the idea that in reading the book, you feel like you're traveling along through Luke's career following his move to LA ... or at least the part up until about 3 years ago.
The pages themselves are pretty large, glossy (making them a pain to photograph in any sort of light) and printed clearly. It's also limited to about one picture per page (sometimes two), letting each work fo art get its own spotlight. Again, that's a nice design call and really lets you get to check out some of the detail Luke puts into his work.
From a designer toy fan's perspective, what's cool is you get to see how some of his pieces which have now been made into toys like Black in White (above) or Possessed have progressed from painting to painting and then into production. From an art fan's perspective, you can also see some of the same progression, but on a longer, more character-based scale.
Yes, some of Luke's work in the designer toy scene is included, too, but you'll find much more of his painted work here. Still, it's nice to see this acknowledged as a legitimate part of Luke's artistic history and repertoire, along with other work he's done like painted skateboard decks.
One of the things I like about the book, and perhaps what's most interesting about it, is that the chronological set-up from 2003 to 2009, along with the works selected to be highlighted, really do let you see the progression of Luke's career through the years. You also begin to see his work not just as bears and bunnies, but at times, a real extension of Luke's own self, and it makes me appreciate some of his work that much more.
Specifically, Luke's annotations to the pieces he picked serve to give you a glimpse into his life at the time, and in essence, how that is someway represented in the paintings you see before you. It's personal and feels more conversational than analytic or academic.
[My favorite piece in the book. Because Dig Dug is awesome.]
For the Luke Chueh fans out there, this is probably something you'll want to have in your collection, as it provides a nice anthology for the first part of Luke's career. It's also a great read if you have an interest in low-brow art culture, though the US$34.95 price is likely to keep away a lot of folks who aren't already fans of Luke's work.
"The Art of Luke Chueh" is out now and Luke will be doing a signing tour with the book. His next stop is Gallery Nucleus (210 E. Main Street. Alhambra, Calif.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific on June 16, followed by stops on June 17 at Gallery 1988 Venice (214 Pier Ave., Santa Monica, Calif.) from noon to 2 p.m. Pacific; and Giant Robot (2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 24.
[Thanks to Titan Books for sending along a copy of the book!]
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