Childhood favorite Bellerophon Books. As a child I had a fantastic time with the Greg Irons-illustrated coloring book of the American revolution (no pic? a crime!) and the sensitive redrawings of Hokusai ukio-ye, and the many books featuring enlarged and simplified drawings originating with turn-of-the-century ethnographic texts were hypnotically beautiful to me.

Hm, the publisher’s disregard of the Irons book is utterly insane. the book is filled with scrupulously drawn images of key moments in the history of the colonial rebellion, and Irons (an influential underground cartoonist and tatto artist) employed fantastically rigorous putti banners (my coinage) to convey dialog and caption within the scenes. What is so fantastic about this, in my mind, that that these banners, occasionally lofted by swallws, are the old-school tattoist’s standard for including dedications and such like in tattoos, and are clearly derived from popular media dating to the late 1700s, the era of both the Revolution and Hogarth.

In this children’s book, Irons was drawing a line between tattooists of the twentieth century, America’s founding fathers, and most particularly the styles and modes of popular media at the hour of our nation’s birth. It is a national treasure.

2 thoughts on “Cut and Color

  1. A little weird. I was just googling Greg Irons. It seems to me that he had an eyeball period in his art and tattooing, but I couldn’t find any examples online. Any prominently featured eyeballs in the American Revolution book?

    I am an enormous fan of Dover Books. I tried to interest my daughter in law in them, but to no avail. Kids today.

  2. Hey Mike, I used to look at his stuff too I think. Did he do a mystical creatures book. After looking at his work I think it matches the style. Amazing stuff, Fortney must have been looking at it as well from what I remember of his flyers from Rickie’s.

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