Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rock Candy by Femke Hiemstra

View a video preview and images from the book.

I've been a fan of Hiemstra's work for some time now. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see that she was releasing a book and I finally got a copy this month for my birthday!

Kirsten Anderson's introductory essay sets the tone, preparing the viewer for the strange combination of childlike whimsy and subtle horror that marks Hiemstra's work. Each image presents a mysterious narrative that demands to be puzzled over. Content aside, the technical proficiency of Hiemstra's paintings and drawings is pretty amazing. Everything appears just so, not a single mark out of place.

Despite its small size, you really get a feel for the amount of detail that goes into Femke Hiemstra's work (still, I kind of wish this book was HUGE just so the images could be inspected more closely). Many of the spreads include a full-page image with a close-up on the preceding or following page. There are also quite a few spreads from Hiemstra's sketchbook, which fit in nicely with the finished pieces since on any given sketchbook page you're apt to find a little thumbnail or character sketch that was incorporated into one of the finished works in the book.

The book is also beautifully designed and edited. From the die-cut cover to the carefully chosen type (including hand-drawn type by Hiemstra), each aspect of the book's design was created with the utmost attention to detail. If you have any interest in pop surrealism, low brow art, or just plain good looking books, definitely pick up a copy of Rock Candy.

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