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Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD, I’ve got you covered–Part 2 of 2, & ARTSY FARTSY (8) Guernica

JEAN SHEPHERD, I’ve got you covered–Part 2 of 2, & ARTSY FARTSY (8) Guernica

A continuation of my showing the various cover ideas I’ve had for my book manuscripts (mostly unpublished).

kid book cover

(colors way off)

Photo of kids courtesy of

Steve Glazer and Bill Ek.

Transcriptions from Shep’s radio broadcasts of some of his kid stories. A grouping of never-before-in-print Shep kid stories from kindergarten through high school and the beginnings of college, similar in organisation to my SHEP’S ARMY book. Dare I say–short stories  grouped into a chronology of growing up: could sorta be called Shepherd’s “kid novel.” [Try to ignore color distortion here, folks. Imagine light gray background with red type and photo frame. Also, try to ignore the elephant in the room.]

I believe that all of these works would be worthy additions to the

Shep library of related books.

The two miscellany books and the travel book

are now being cannibalized/folded

into what would become the selected,  single SHEPQUEST book–

unless some publisher would like to publish one or

more as stand-alone books.

The kid stories book, and the army stories book are both fiction and I think of each as akin to a novel of maturation–a bildungsroman. The travel book I refer to as consisting of “narratives,” and I’m sure the material is virtually all true. (Except, I don’t really believe that Fatima, the slave girl he claimed to have acquired in an Arab marketplace, he actually had shipped to his New York apartment. Leigh Brown would not have tolerated that.)

It has also occurred to me that the army stories, the kid stories,

and the travel narratives, all consisting of my edited transcripts,

with my introductions, would make a great trilogy

of Shepherd’s broadcasts.

Below is an idea of mine for what they

would look like together as a boxed set.

shep trilogy box cover

Designed before the army and the kid books had cover ideas.

[Viewers are welcome to make comments on all of the above.

Publishers are welcome to make offers.

Dream on, little Genie!]

– eb –

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artsyfratsy 10010

(8) “Guernica” Colorization

Way back in the late 1980s, one evening I went to one of my favorite film theaters, the Quad Cinema on West 13th Street, Manhattan. In the lobby sat OBJETS VEND’ART BY VENDONA— an old ice cream vending machine vending artwork for $1.25. WOW! Art for a buck-and-a-quarter—what a fascinating idea. I inserted quarters until I had in my hand, several witty “artworks.”

vendona machine

I contacted the originator/proprietor, Ona Lindquist, and she invited me to her studio. One lunch hour a coworker and I visited and enjoyed meeting her and discussing Vendart. She invited me to submit an idea, which I did. She accepted it and I, with Allison’s help, made it up in the required 100 units:

THE GUERNICA COLORIZATION KIT

My idea combined my fascination with Picasso and his large, shades-of-gray masterpiece, “Guernica,” with what I considered the then-recent art-distorting commercial, money-grubbing technique of “colorizing” black and white films. Can you image a colorized version of Citizen Kane or The Birth of a Nation?

An idea filled with irony. Why not imagine “Guernica” in a colored version? For me, part of the nature of the mural done in monochrome is that, over the centuries, paintings of war/violence in all its horrific guises, have been done in horrific-iterations—so much so that we have, in part, become inured to the riot of colors—the whole horror has become a cliché. Why not eliminate that cliché and make people really pay attention—do it in shades of gray? In addition, textured parts of the painting imitate the all-pervasive popular communication medium of its day, the daily newspaper and its black-and-white photos. So, Picasso made a horrible act of war in black and white.

So then, let’s mock the idea of colorization by trivializing the color–creating my kit? (At that time, I was not aware of any previous thoughts of colorizing “Guernica.”)

vendona guernica kit

Guernica line

My kit consists of a descriptive sheet, two black-line drawings of Guernica (from Picasso’s first full-size drawing on the canvas), a copy of an analysis by Rudolf Arnheim on Picasso’s use of black and white, three quality colored crayons, and, to hold them safely together, a plastic curtain-rod cover cut to 6″ enclosing the lot, all rubber-banded into a protective sandwich baggie.

Every kit contains different Crayola colors. (By the way, don’t ever buy cheap crayons—they do not have enough pigment to deliver acceptable color-to-paper.) I gave the hundred kits to Ona. They all sold.

ADDENDUM

The Vendona art-selling operation no longer exists except in the informative website about it that Ona Lindquist posted: http://objetsvendart.com

vendona.artis of month

I recently searched and found several colorized versions of “Guernica,” including a couple colored on a French primary school’s site teaching children about “Guernica.” guernica in color

By the way, over the years I’ve come to think that, maybe the only movie ever made that I might be happy to have colorized, as it’s a sweet, kiddy, Christmas story, is Miracle on 34th Street. (Yes, I know it’s been colorized, and indeed—oh, the double horror!–subsequently remade in color.)

ARTSY ARROWS0010

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2 Comments

  1. Frank Reck says:

    Gene,

    Didn’t Fatima turn out to be a dog?

    In looking at the picture with Shep holding the football it crossed my mind that this could be an early version of the Peanuts gang with Dawn playing the Lucy role. I don’t think Shep was a Peanuts fan but it occurs to me that both Shep and Schulz dealt with what it was like being a kid and at the same time making observations on adult life in the process. Funny that in over 45 years of following Shep I never made that connection before.

    Frank

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