Saturday, May 05, 2007


Cover Art

Jarvis Cocker of Pulp writes in today's Guardian about Harland Miller's variations on Penguin covers:

I remember the first time I came across the Hemingway painting I'm So Fucking Hard - it was propped against the wall in a studio, an appropriately imposing object, about 6ft by 4ft - I laughed out loud. Ditto its companion painting, Dirty Northern Bastard, attributed to DH Lawrence. Also Not Bi-curious by Norman Mailer. I could go on.... "There's always been this compunction to write on pictures," Miller (also a published novelist) has said. It wasn't until he started painting book covers that he realised he had stumbled across a style of painting that didn't look right without words. "International lonely guy" are apparently the first words Elton John sees when he opens his eyes in the morning. He owns the painting of that title, inspired by the swaying hangers in the empty wardrobe of a cheap chain hotel.
An amusing conversation between Cocker and Miller follows; the latter notes "What people really like about these books is the more visceral nostalgia - the smell, or the fact that some schoolkid has written abuse on the author's head in biro."

Rizzoli is putting out a volume of the paintings this June. In the meantime, there's an online gallery of Miller's Penguins.

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