Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Up and Down New York

While we were in New York last week Doug was lucky enough to get this book for his birthday - Up and Down New York, illustrated by Tony Sarg. I love this book, everything about it from its dust cover to the preface by Jonathon Adler. The clever gift giver found this book at none other than Fish's Eddy. The illustrations were done in the 20's and 30's and have been compiled into a book published by Universe Publishing(Rizzoli). Tony Sarg was a famous artist, puppeteer and cartoonist(he apparently was responsible for developing the flying helium character balloons used in the Macy's parades). He also had his own chain of stores where he sold textiles, wallpaper and rugs - of his own designs.....hmmm, note to self, research more about Tony Sarg's wallpaper designs. I think his illustrations are wonderful and remind me of another great illustrator from that era, John Held Jr (who illustrated the classic flapper girl). 

We have a lot of books on illustration and illustrators in our studio. One of the reasons that the Tony Sarg book caught my eye was because I am an avid New Yorker reader - I love the articles and I love the cartoons. 

My love of New Yorker cartoons has a rather odd beginning - when I was a kid growing up in Scotland we used to spend our summers in a tiny village on the SW coast of Scotland called Monreith. We had a tiny cottage by the sea that was about as big as a garden shed - and it was filled to the brim with very odd artifacts. There was a collection of strange musty smelling books and amongst the more interesting was an album of New Yorker cartoons. I loved it - and used to practice copying the drawings - not that I understood the humour or the references. Rather odd really for an 8 yr old to be reading New Yorker cartoons in a rose covered, seaside cottage in Scotland. Well years later I found a copy of that book in a flea market, snapped it up and laughed again at all the cartoons that I remembered so well. 

Oh, and by the way, if you are ever in Scotland take a side trip to Monreith and stay at the Steam Packet Inn - it's a magical place!
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