Friday, July 22, 2016

Repugnant Wallpaper | Dallas Guffey

Wallpaper | Dallas Guffey ©2015
Above In graphic design studio courses, as an exercise in rapid fire problem solving, I sometimes ask my students to work in class, within a time limit, in producing fresh solutions to seemingly off-beat assignments. In one case, for example, I asked them to come up with a design for "repugnant wallpaper." The solution reproduced above is by Dallas Guffey.

•••

Robert Kipness, Robert Kipness: A Working Artist's Life. Hanover NH: University Press of New England, 2011 [recalling an experience in a painting class taught by artist Stuart Edie (1908-1974), probably in the early 1950s, when Kipness was a student at the University of Iowa], pp. 59-60—

After two or three sessions of witnessing this outpouring of energy [as Kipness worked on his paintings in class] from the wild-eyed kid from the literature department, Edie came over to my space and said, "Very interesting, Kipness. Let me show you something," and he picked up one of my brushes, mixed some paint on my palette, and moved the brush toward my painting. Instinctively I grasped his wrist with a grip that seemed to frighten him. His pale blue-gray eyes widened. "Tell me anything you want, but don't touch my work," I whispered, outraged that he would interfere with the surface of my painting. Realizing my grip was strong, and that I might be hurting hm, I released his wrist, and he put down my brush and walked away. Understandably, he didn't talk to me again for over a month.

From a respectful distance we grew to like each other…He was a kind and perceptive man…

We came to an agreement. He would leave me alone in class, and as long as he felt I was making progress he would continue to let me be. If he judged otherwise I would either take instruction or he would give me a failing grade. Eventually he issued me a key to the building, allowing me to come and work anytime I wished. "Just make sure you put out the lights and see that the door is locked when you leave." In my eyes he was a prince, and I appreciate that my fierce enthusiasm and individuality were no threat to him. He was delighted to see me so consumed with painting, and he wanted to see what I could do. There was no battle of egos, just respect and a kindly concern for my young life. Later I more fully understood that his response was what he thought would be best for me.

There is an interesting online interview with Kipness by Ira Goldberg at LINEA: The Artist's Voice. There is additional information about three of the artists who taught at the University of Iowa while Kipness was a student there: Stuart Edie, Byron Burford and James Lechay. My own memories of Lechay are online here.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

League of Women Voters Poster 2016

Poster for Women's Equality Day © Roy R. Behrens 2016
Above It's always gratifying to use ones skills and expertise in promoting worthy causes, the equal rights of women in this case. The story of the struggle for equal rights (for women and others) is a fascinating history, and one that is always on-going. This is a poster we designed pro bono to announce Women's Equality Day (August 20, 2016), on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Black Hawk and Bremer Counties in Iowa.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rod Library Art Exhibition | Roy R. Behrens

Above Through the kindness and efficiency of Angela Pratesi and Julie Ann Beddow at the Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa, seven of my recent works are on exhibit this summer in the library's Learning Commons. These digital montages, which date from 2011-2015, are part of the library's permanent art collection. See installation views above, with single views of each below.

Auto Parts © 2013
Dorado © 2015
Barbarian Seville © 2011
Deplorable Strikes © 2011
Indigenous Nativity © 2011
A Loss for Words © 2011
Nautilus Bridge © 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poster | Rhiannon Rasmussen

Poster © Rhiannon Rasmussen 2016
Above Poster by Rhiannon Rasmussen (©2016), graphic design student at the University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Frank Lloyd Wright, in Edgar Kaufmann and Ben Raeburn, eds., Frank Lloyd Wright: Writings and Buildings. New York: Meridian Books, 1960, pp. 48-49—

…I tried to make my clients see that furniture and furnishings, not built in as integral features of a building, should be designed as attributes of whatever furniture was built in and should be seen as minor parts of the building itself, even if detached or kept aside to be employed on occasion. But when the building itself was finished, the old furniture the clients already possessed went in with them to await the time when the interior might be completed. Very few of the houses were, therefore, anything but painful to me after the clients moved in and, helplessly, dragged the horrors of the old order along after them.

…about four-fifths of the contents of nearly every home could be given away with good effect to that home. But the things given away might go on to poison some other home. So why not at once destroy undesirable things…make an end of them?

See also: Roy R. Behrens, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT and Mason City: Architectural Heart of the Prairie (2016).

Bicycle Poster | Austin Montelius

Poster by Austin Montelius © 2016
Above Italian bicycle poster by Austin Montelius (©2016), graphic design student at the University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Nicholas Fox Weber, The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2011), p. 132—

The painter Balthus once described an occasion when he and Alberto Giacometti met to call on [Paul] Klee, with whom they had made an appointment, only to become so enraptured talking with each other that they failed to walk the short distance to Klee's studio and simply stood him up. Neither felt guilty about the broken date because, much as they respected his work, they considered him unexciting as a conversationalist.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Font Specimen Poster | Rachel Bartholomay

Font Specimen Poster © Rachel Bartholomay 2016
Above Font specimen poster by design student Rachel Bartholomay (©2016) at the University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Recently while reading Nicholas Fox Weber, The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism (New Haven CT: Yale University Press), I ran across a passage about a class exercise that the painter Paul Klee witnessed in a course at the Bauhaus taught by Johannes Itten. It required his students to draw in the dark, and of course this reminded me of the later, related experiments by Hoyt Sherman at Ohio State University, which I wrote at length about in the early 1990s. Here is the passage from Weber's interesting book (p. 115)—

At 5 pm that same day, Itten gave another course in a large lecture hall constructed like an amphitheater, where people sat on the steps rather than on seats. This time the master projected on the wall a large image of Matisse's La Danse and had the students draw its essential compositional elements in the dark. Itten's wife sat at his feet, with everyone else huddled in close. The sole exception was Klee, who sat as far away as possible, at the very top of the amphitheater, in a proper chair. Looking on from this perch, he smoked his pipe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tokyo Infographic | Megan Parisot

Infographic © Megan Parisot 2016
Above Tokyo infographic by design student Megan Parisot (©2016) at the University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Roger Angell, Let Me Finish. Orlando FL: Harcourt, 2006, pp. 231-232—

One day in the late sixties, [American fiction writer ] Donald [Barthelme] needed to get somewhere upstate and dropped into his neighborhood Hertz office for a rental. All went well until it was revealed that the applicant did not possess a credit card. "We'll need some identification, then," the Hertz man said unhappily. "What is your occupation, Mr. Barthumb?"

Don—already sensing the onrushing scene from "Mondo Donaldo"— confessed that he was a writer. He wrote books.

"What are some of your books?" said the Hertz guy, slightly retrieving the application form that lay between them.

"Well, Snow White."

"You wrote Snow White? Any others?"

"I have a new one just coming out, Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts. It's a collection."

"Well, there's a lot of that going on these days, isn't there?" said Hertz. "That'll be seven hundred dollars down, cash."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

CD-ROM Package Design | Madi Luke

CD-ROM Package © Madi Luke 2016
Above Design for a CD-ROM portfolio by graphic design student Madison (Madi) Luke (©2016), at the University of Northern Iowa.

•••

As I read this recently, I was reminded of The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. The following is from Richard Neutra, Life and Shape. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962, p. 362—

Frank Lloyd Wright told me, I think significantly, not once but on two occasions, the story of a monkey in Malaya. It was caught by a planter, roped around the waist, and tied to a post on his screened porch. During the night the monkey bit off the rope near the post, bit through the screen mesh, and escaped into the jungle to his fellows. But they were no longer fellows to a monkey with a peculiarity—with a rope around his belly. They regarded him with hostility for being different, "and tore him limb from limb." I still remember Mr. Wright's baritone laughter which ended in a bitter smile. Frank Lloyd Wright did not simply have a strange rope around his belly—why did he link this story to himself? What really characterizes the relationship to others of the outstanding man, merely taken as the extra case of a vital individual? Is it tragedy—not only necessity—that the individual, even the best, the most alive, is really not effective , not vital, in a vacuum? Always very soon, sooner or later, he must be involved with others.

See also: Roy R. Behrens, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT and Mason City: Architectural Heart of the Prairie (2016). 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Iowa Insect Series Installed

Installation view © Sergio Gomez
Above An installation view (photo by Sergio Gomez) of an exhibition of collaborative montage images, called Iowa Insect Series, currently on view at the Dorothea Thiel Gallery at South Suburban College in Chicago. More>>>

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Digital Montage | Gina Hamer

Digital montage © Gina Hamer 2016
Above Digital montage by Gina Hamer (2016), graphic design student, Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Liam Hudson, “Texts, Signs, Artefacts” in W.R. Crozier and A.J. Chapman, eds., Cognitive Processes in the Perception of Art. Elsevier 1984—

The arts in particular are seen [in our society] as peripheral, or—even worse—as “fun”; that is to say, as a simple emotional release that receives little professionally academic attention because it deserves none. Yet the briefest glance shows that poems, novels, paintings, photographs, plays, films of any quality are rarely fun, either for the artist or for the spectator; what is more, that they are at least as carefully poised, as subtly calculated in their effects, as any other genre of intellectual activity. Many take months, years, to put together, and at least as long to assimilate in any but a superficial way.

Iowa Insects | Roy Behrens and David Versluis

Iowa Insect Series © Roy Behrens and David Versluis c2012-13
South Suburban College’s Dorothea Thiel Gallery will host an exhibition of 10 large-scale digital montage images [see examples above and below] from the Iowa Insect Series, a collection of artworks created in collaboration between graphic design professors Roy R. Behrens and David M. Versluis.  The exhibit, Graphic Designers Collaborate: Attention to Detail, will be held in the Dorothea Thiel Gallery from April 1 to April 21, 2016.

The exhibit features digital montage collaborations created by Graphic Design professor Roy R. Behrens, University of Northern Iowa, and Art & Graphic Design professor David Versluis, Dordt College. Various artworks from the Iowa Insect Series have been exhibited in group shows at the Washington Pavilion Visual Art Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids, Minnesota; University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art in Cedar Falls, Iowa; and the 27th McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition at McNeese State University Grand Gallery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This exhibit at South Suburban College is one of the first times that the collection Iowa Insect Series will be shown together.

Iowa Insect Series © Roy Behrens and David Versluis c2012-13



“The process of creating the collaborative images began in 2012 with me sending Roy scanned images of insects from my personal collection. One image at a time, we challenged each other to respond to each image, building a digital montage, using Adobe Photoshop®,” said Versluis. “We would then pass the image back and forth, responding to each other’s move.” The images were built with about five or six back and forth exchanges between Behrens & Versluis, until the two graphic designers mutually decided that the artwork was finished.

Professor Versluis will be at the college as visiting artist in the digital arts lab and Dorothea Thiel Gallery for a 1:00 p.m. reception on Thursday April 21st. The public is welcome to visit the art exhibition and reception at no charge. The Thiel Gallery is located on the 4th floor in the Art & Design hallway, Room 4333.  SSC Galleries are open at minimum Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 am–6:00 pm, and Fridays from 9:00 am–4:00 pm. The galleries are closed on weekends and holidays. For more information, please call (708) 596-2000, ext. 2316, or visit www.ssc.edu/art. SSC is located at 15800 South State Street, South Holland, Illinois.

Iowa Insect Series © Roy Behrens and David Versluis c2012-13

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Collections Poster | Maris Price

Poster © Maris Price 2016
Above and below Posters on the theme of collections and recollections by graphic design student Maris Price (2016), Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Mircea Eliade, Journal IV, 1979-1985 (University of Chicago Press, 1990)—

22 June 1979
At 7:30, at the Tacous’: reception for the marriage of their daughter, the beautiful Florence, to the son of Claude Mauriac. At 8:00, with G. Dumézil at the home of his son, the doctor. Splendid apartment. At dinner, Claude Lévi-Strauss—very charming toward me. But we didn’t talk much. Only in the taxi did I realize I’d taken Lévi-Strauss’s raincoat by mistake.


Poster © Maris Price 2016

Collections Poster | Rachel Bartholomay

Poster © Rachel Bartholomay 2016
Above Poster on the theme of collections and recollections by graphic design student Rachel Bartholomay (2016), Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Joseph Gerard Brennan in The American Scholar (Autumn 1978)—

[British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead] himself had moments when he was not quite sure where he had put things. One day in the early 1930s he had Professor James Melrose of Illinois to tea at the Whitehead cottage…It occurred to Whitehead that his guests might like to see the work in progress on a library addition to the house. So he led them outside, first carefully putting on Professor Melrose’s hat which he found in the coatroom closet and assumed was his own. After the excursion he returned the hat to the closet, but at tea’s end, when he and Mrs. Whitehead prepared to accompany the guests to their car, he went there once more for his hat. This time Melrose beat him to it and retrieved his lawful property. Whitehead reached up to the place where his visitor’s hat had been, made a little exclamation of surprise, then trotted some distance to a spot where his own hat hung on a hook. It was clear to his guests that the author of Process and Reality did not realize there were two hats, but believed that his own had in some unaccountable way changed its place.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Typographic Poster | Hastings Walsh

Poster © Hastings Walsh (2016)
Above Typographic poster (©2016) by Hastings Walsh, graphic design student, Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh. New York: Dover Publications, 2004—

He [Ernest] was, however, very late in being able to sound a hard “c” or “k,” and, instead of saying “Come,” he said “Tum, tum, tum.”

“Ernest,” said Theobald, from the arm-chair in front of the fire, where he was sitting with his hands folded before him, “don’t you think it would be very nice if you were to say ‘come’ like other people, instead of ‘tum’?”

“I do say tum,” replied Ernest, meaning that he had said “come.”


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jared Rogness Exhibition at UNI Rod Library

Jared Rogness Exhibit Poster
From February 29 through April 4, 2016, selected works by an Iowa-born illustrator, and UNI Department of Art alum, Jared Rogness, will be on on display on the Learning Commons Exhibition Wall on the main floor in Rod Library at the University of Northern Iowa.

This exhibit both predates and coincides with RodCon 2016, the Rod Library’s annual mini comic con, which takes place on Saturday, April 2, from 10 am to 4 pm. Throughout the day, the various featured events include comics, crafts, games and a costume contest.

© Jared Rogness


Artist Jared Rogness is a storyboard artist and illustrator living in Los Angeles. He earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at UNI in 2003. As a student he was a frequent contributor of outspoken political cartoons to The Northern Iowan (student newspaper) under the pen name e-Chicken.

He has illustrated short stories for magazines, produced motion picture storyboards, and created the graphic series "Green Street" for Little Village magazine. The works in the exhibition are a mix of selected components from a variety of his projects.

© Jared Rogness

Friday, March 11, 2016

Collections Poster | Heidi Schmidt

Poster © Heidi Schmidt 2016
Above Poster on the theme of collections and recollections by graphic design student Heidi Schmidt (Spring 2016), Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Anton Bilek, American Army soldier, interviewed in Studs Terkel, The Good War (New York: Pantheon, 1984)—

One time [during WWII, while interned in a Japanese prison camp, where he worked underground in a coal mine], at the end of the day, while I was waitin’ for the little train to take our shift out, I laid back against the rock wall, put my cap over my eyes, and tried to get some rest. The guy next to me says, “God damn, I wish I was back in Seattle.” I paid no attention. Guys were always talking about being back home. He said, “I  had a nice restaurant there and I lost it all.” I turned around and looked and it’s a Japanese [soldier]. He was one of the overseers. I was flabbergasted.

He said, “Now just don’t talk to me. I’ll do all the talkin’.” He’s talkin’ out of the side of his mouth. He says, “I was born and raised in Seattle, had a nice restaurant there. I brought my mother back to Japan. She’s real old and knew she was gonna die and she wanted to come home. The war broke out and I couldn’t get back to the States. They made me come down here and work in the coal mines.” I didn’t know what the hell to say to the guy. Finally the car come down and I says, “Well, see you in Seattle someday.” And I left. I never saw him after that.

National Park Posters | Allison Rolinger

Poster © Allison Rolinger 2016
Above and below A suite of three posters having to do with the national parks, designed and illustrated by graphic design student Allison Rolinger (Spring 2016), Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Joseph Epstein, A Line Out for a Walk (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992)—

One of the things that college taught me was that I cannot be taught in the conventional manner. Autodidactically, I have to go about things in my own poky way, obliquely acquiring on my own such intellectual skills as I have, assembling such learning as I possess from my odd, unsystematic reading. Are there many such people as I? The inefficacy of teaching in his own life, if I may say so, is an unusual thing to have to admit on the part of a man who spends a good part of his own time teaching others. But there it is—or rather, there I am.

Poster © Allison Rolinger 2016
Poster © Allison Rolinger 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Letters to Guy Davenport | Roy R. Behrens

Blog post from Paris Review (2016)
We were recently delighted to learn that my twenty-plus years of  letters to American scholar, essayist and fiction writer Guy Davenport have been added to the archives of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. They are part of Davenport's papers, acquired in 2005. They will soon be supplemented by my own gift of 231 letters from Guy Davenport to me. A post on the Ransom Center's blog featured one of my letters (with, as I often did back then, an illustrated envelope). It was also featured in a post on the blog of the Paris Review.

Blog post Harry Ransom Center (2016)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Game Parody | Janey Graveman

Game parody © Janey Graveman 2015
Above  Design by graphic design student Janey Graveman for a parody of Mastermind, the popular code breaking game.

•••

Studs Terkel in Touch and Go: A Memoir. New York: The New Press, 2007, p.232 and 236—

“Banality” is the operative word…

Britney Spears, a pop singer, shaves her head and goes into rehab. Most Americans know her name. She is a celebrity. None of the contestants in a recent episode of Jeopardy, a popular TV quiz show, knew who Strom Thurmond was. For most of the twentieth century, on the floor of the Senate, he was the drum major of segregation. Not even his fathering a black child was within the ken of the Jeopardy participants. Nor did they know the name of Kofi Annan (the newly former United Nations secretary general).…

What happens to all Alzheimer’s sufferers is tragic. What I’m talking about is what I call a national Alzheimer’s—a whole country has lost its memory. When there’s no yesterday, a national memory becomes more and more removed from what it once was, and forgets what it once wanted to be.

We’re sinking under our national Alzheimer’s disease. With Alzheimer’s you forget what you did yesterday. With Alzheimer’s finally, you forget not only what you did, but also who you are. In many respects, we [in the US] have forgotten who we are.

We’re now in a war [in Iraq] based on an outrageous lie [about “weapons of mass destruction”], and we are held up to the ridicule and contempt of the world. What has happened? Have we had a lobotomy performed on us? Or it it something else? I’m saying it is the daily evil of banality.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trammels | Home II | Mary Snyder Behrens

Home II © Mary Snyder Behrens 2005
Above Mary Snyder Behrens, Home II (Trammel Series), mixed media.

•••

Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist. Washington DC: New Republic Books, 1977, p. xi—

I had an exhibition, and nothing was sold. My vivid memory of that time is of a sense of embarrassment and a feeling that my paintings were of no value. We were in great financial need, and when someone offered to buy the contents of my studio—drawings and paintings, all for $1000 plus an old Packard—I consented. Two men came with a pushcart, and while they were loading my work, I was painting.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Trammels | Gape | Mary Snyder Behrens

Gape © Mary Snyder Behrens, mixed media 2004
Earl K. Peckham, quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), p. 12—

[American philosopher John] Dewey was speaking slowly and very carefully [in an evening class in 1935 at Columbia University], also in simply constructed sentences, which was typical of his style. I was listening intently to a point. Many of the class seemed to have left the area of thought. Dewey himself seemed to have left, to have gone into his own world. I felt that I was with him regardless of the seeming absence of the other members of the class. He hesitated after his point was made, and he looked at me through his thick bifocals. I said to him in a too loud, nervous voice, “Doesn’t emotion play a part in this thought process?” His stare fixed on me. I was embarrassed. He was silent—then he walked slowly over to the window and looked into the night, for the better part of two minutes. Then he looked back and fixed his stare at me (at least that is how I felt) and he said in a very slow and almost inaudible voice—but he knew I heard and he seemed to me not to care if anyone else heard or not—“Knowledge is a small cup of water floating on a sea of emotion.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sadé Butler Again

Exhibition poster © Sadé Butler 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Sadé Butler for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Anon Children's game verse, recorded in Edinburgh UK, c1940—

Shirley Oneple.
Shirley Twople.
Shirley Threeple.
Shirley Fourple.
Shirley Fiveple.
Shirley Sixple.
Shirley Sevenple.
Shirley Eightple.
Shirley Nineple.
Shirley Tenple.


•••

Shirley Temple (Hollywood child film star)—

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six., Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked me for my autograph.

•••

Robert Craft, An Improbable Life (Vanderbilt University Press, 2002), p. 147—

In 1953, he [Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky] broke off his connection with Hollywood's two Russian [Orthodox] churches, for the reason that the priest-confessor had asked him for his autograph.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Madi Luke

Exhibition poster © Madi Luke 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Madi Luke for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Sir Compton MacKenzie, Poor Relations (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1919)—

She was a well preserved woman and reminded John of a crystallized pear; her frosted transformation glistened like encrusted sugar round the talk, which was represented by a tubular head-ornament on the apex of the carefully tended pyramid; her greeting was sticky.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Lexy Deshong

Exhibition poster © Lexy Deshong 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Lexy Deshong for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

A fine house, dress, the manners and talk of highly cultivated people, were all thrown away on him [Henry David Thoreau]…[he] considered these refinements as impediments to conversation, wishing to meet his companion on the simplest terms. He declined invitations to dinner parties, because there each was in every one's way, and he could not meet the individuals to any purpose. "They make their pride," he said, "in making their dinner cost much; I make my pride in making my dinner cost little." When asked at table which dish he preferred, he answered, "The nearest." He did not like the taste of wine, and never had a vice in his life.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sadé Butler

Exhibition Poster © Sadé Butler 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Sadé Butler for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

He [Henry David Thoreau] thought the scent a more oracular inquisition than the sight…[because it] reveals what is concealed from the other senses. He delighted in echoes, and said they were almost the only kind of kindred voices that he heard. He loved Nature so well, was so happy in her solitude, that he became very jealous of cities and the sad work which their refinements and artifices made with man and his dwelling. The axe was always destroying his forest. "Thank God," he said, "they cannot cut down the clouds!…"

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Jillianne Sanders

Exhibition poster © Jillianne Sanders 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Jillianne Sanders for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

He [Henry David Thoreau] could find his path in the woods at night, he said, better by his feet than his eyes. He could estimate the measure of a tree very well by his eye; he could estimate the weight of a calf or a pig, like a dealer. From a box containing a bushel or more of loose pencils, he could take up with his hands fast enough just a dozen pencils at every grasp.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Janey Graveman

Exhibition poster © Janey Graveman 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Janey Graveman for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

…those pieces of luck which happen only to good players happened to him [Henry David Thoreau]. One day, walking with a stranger, who inquired where Indian arrowheads could be found, he replied, "Everywhere," and, stooping forward, picked up one on the instant from the ground. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sawyer Phillips Again

Exhibition poster © Sawyer Phillips (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Sawyer Phillips for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

His [Henry David Thoreau's] father was a manufacturer of lead pencils, and Henry applied himself for a time to this craft, believing he could make a better pencil than was then in use. After completing his experiments, he exhibited his work to chemists and artists in Boston, and having obtained their certificates to its excellence and its equality with the best London manufacture, he returned home contented. His friends congratulated him that he had now opened his way to fortune. But he replied that he should never make another pencil. "Why should I? I would not do again what I have done once."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Tyler Hillis

Exhibition poster © Tyler Hillis (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Tyler Hillis for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Rudolf Arnheim, in a letter to Roy R. Behrens, 1993—

The physicist George Gamow was also an entertaining popularizer. He once told me a story of how with his wife and their baby daughter he visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As they climbed the steps, they noticed an increasingly musty smell, which they first attributed to the ancient walls of the building. Then, however, they began to suspect their little girl, and by the time they reached the top it was clear that she needed immediate attention. "And from the very place," explained Gamow, raising his arm and his voice dramatically, "where Galileo launched his experimental objects we also propelled…"  

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Kyler Smith

Exhibition poster © Kyler Smith (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Kyler Smith for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Mircea Eliade, Journal II 1957-1967. University of Chicago Press, 1989, p. 270—

Richard Stern arrived and told us some juicy anecdotes about two Rumanian "princesses" ninety years old whom he had met in Venice. One of them, drinking coffee, brought the cup too close to her face‚ and, Stern went on, the nose, probably restored with a wax cast, began to melt and finally fell into the coffee.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Hastings Walsh

Exhibition poster © Hastings Walsh (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Hastings Walsh for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Carl Sandburg (recalling a ventriloquist act at the circus ), Always the Young Strangers (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1953), p. 191—

I had a dime and a nickel in my pocket. With the dime, the tenth part of a dollar, I bought a ticket. I went in and heard the ventriloquist and his dummy: "Will you spell a word for me, Danny?" "I'll try, what's the word?" "Constantinople." "Why do you tell me you can't stand on an apple?"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Shay Petersen

Exhibition poster © Shay Peterson (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Shay Petersen for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

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Sam Kashner, When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), pp. 33-34—

He [novelist William S. Burroughs] liked talking about being eight years old. At that age Burroughs had a secret hiding place under the back steps of his parents' house, a secret place where he kept a box, and in the box was a spoon, a candle, and some type of instrument for investigating the forging of hard metals for weapons. It was also around the time he said that he shot off his first gun and wrote his first story. It was called "Autobiography of a Wolf," a ten-page story about an animal who lost his mate and was killed by a grizzly bear. Burroughs said his parents had listened politely to the story. "Surely you mean biography of a wolf," he father had told him. "No," Burroughs insisted. "I mean the autobiography of a wolf." They sent him to Harvard.