Book Review: SILHOUETTES FROM POPULAR CULTURE

SILHOUETTES FROM POPULAR CULTURE
Art by Olly Moss
Introduction by Duncan Jones
Published by Titan Books
Retail Price: $16.95

Nerds of the world: tired of having to make excuses for stacks of comics and shelves of action figures when norms come to visit your studio apartment? Want to class up the joint without losing your street cred with the game store crowd? And best of all, want an opportunity to use your vast knowledge of pop culture to show off and impress the ladies or men? Then, there’s a book for you.

Just released from Titan Books is Silhouettes from Popular Culture, a delightful little coffee table book showcasing the work of English pop graphic artist Olly Moss. Best known for his re-imagining of popular movie posters, and frequently featured in Empire magazine, Moss has assembled pieces from a 300-drawing solo exhibition of silhouettes of cartoon, movie, television, and comic characters. Running the gamut from Admiral Ackbar to Pee-Wee Herman, Moss’s subjects are some of the most identifiable personae and trademarks in the world — if you’re in the know.

To be honest, I couldn’t pick them all out on my first few attempts, which both surprised and delighted me to no end. With no identifying labels, table of contents or index, this hardcover book represents a true challenge for the geek-proud, one that I imagine could get pretty competitive in a party setting. One page turn after another reveals another set of characters, with pairings often made to surprise or illuminate. Not every facing page has a link to its partner, but on the rare occasion when the drawings actually interact? Those moments are worth the read all by themselves.

Simultaneously whimsical and elegantly presented, Silhouettes is a beautifully constructed volume — blending a wonderful Victorian aesthetic with its decidedly modern subjects. The detail is outstanding in each drawing, exhibiting a quality of line and control reminiscent of the great masters of silhouette art from the last 300 years. Wrapped in a cloth cover with faux-gold foil and a lovely bit of typesetting, this book can look equally at home on the finest veneer or the tallest stack of comic book boxes. Beautifully simple, but with its own brand of wit and style, Moss’s love for all aspects of nerd culture shines through these pages as clearly as the projected light silhouette artists utilized once upon a time. The perfect holiday gift for that friend or family member that has everything, this book is not only of the highest quality and very reasonably priced, but a substantial piece of art in itself.

More work by Olly Moss can be found at http://www.ollymoss.com.

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