Simon de Pury

Simon explains why he would have selected Mark as the winner of the book cover challenge.

on Jun 24, 20100

 

Displaying your work on the cover of a great classic at Penguin would clearly be a source of immense pride for any artist. Therefore, winning this particular challenge is the greatest reward a Work of Art contestant can earn, short of winning the overall prize of a one man or one woman show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It is a bit like a Tour de France cyclist winning the main mountain stage. This does not preclude him going after the overall prize, the yellow jersey at the end of the Tour in Paris.

In the pre-digital age I was a voracious buyer of LP's and subsequently of CD's. While browsing through albums in a record store, I would often buy a record purely because I was attracted to its cover, even if I was not familiar with the music. The instant visual impact of a cover must be a prime concern for any literary or musical editor.

The objective of the challenge for this episode was very clear, yet several contestants chose a far too 'artsy' path that could in no way result in victory. I was sorry to see Judith leave the show. I have respect for her as an artist and I like her as a person. She tuned in on a psychic link with Jane Austen when she decided to write the title of the book in mirrored reverse writing. It was a way, however, to instantly count herself out as a contender for this contest, as you surely could not expect a major commercial publisher to go for a cover where you could not read the title at first glance. I agree with the choice of the judges in singling out the works of John and Mark. I understand why they went for John's seemingly more artistic and less overtly commercial cover. As someone walking into a bookstore without any preconceived ideas what to look for, the one cover that would have instantly caught my attention would be Mark's. Had I been a judge, I would have pushed for him to be named the winner of this challenge. The cover he made plays up to his natural strength and is the one that resembles most closely so far the kind of work he showed when he applied to be a contestant in the initial casting for the show. Miles had a truly original way to approach the challenge, however the process was more interesting than the end result. His work could have possibly functioned as an object, but definitely not as a book cover.

6 comments
thelakeeffect
thelakeeffect

I agree.

John's was good...but Mark's suggests the current Vampire books (which are done in black). Mark doesn't copy too closely, but he would visually draw eager teen Twilight series readers to his book.

If I were a teacher, I'd love the Mark cover too---because it visually links Twilight with their great-grandpa vampire - "Dracula". Maybe more kids would actually read DRACULA instead of searching for cliff notes or online cheats.

mel.bushman
mel.bushman

i just want to express how much i adore this show. this comment could go at the end of any posting, but this happened to be the one i am on.

it is so much fun for someone that don't know much about art to witness the processes, criticisms, triumphs and failures. i hope this will turn greater numbers on to the art world. i get the impression that it was much more in the eye of the public 30 years ago.

it is so important to stay in touch with beautiful hand-made things. i own a record label and, after watching this show, i made a promise to only release vinyl with screen printed cover art.

i'll stop rambling but i really love what this show brings to mass consumption.

thelakeeffect
thelakeeffect

Mark (as commercial artist) has learned how to COMMUNICATE with the viewer---and has learned the importance of making an art work DO what the purchaser wants...Mark is not choked onto the sometimes silly art school sentiments of "I make art to please myself only, but I expect YOU to like (and buy) whatever I vomit onto canvas!"

Mark's cover reminds one of DRACULA's great "grandchildren" which are the current hugely popular "Twilight" series Young Vampires...Compare Mark's cover to the Twilight mostly black covers and you will easily see the link. (Did the judges not know about the Twilight mega hit vampire series???)

ThusMark marries the OLD VAMPIRE - DRACULA - to the NEW Next Gen Vampires that teens are going crazy over.

The YOUNG TEEN would be drawn to Mark's cover...as well as the High School or College Teacher---

who would want to awaken their young readers to the Original and First Literary Hit Vampire - Dracula!

kristen j. cook
kristen j. cook

Hi Simon! First & foremost, you're the highlight of Work of Art --your natural character & ambiance totally make the show enticing for me; I especially find your little, unexpected sexual innuendo-comments exceptionally entertaining & funny!

I am unsure whether or not you or an assistant writes & checks your blogs & fan-blog comments, nevertheless, w/great hope that you, yourself check your blogging fan-comments, I am writing to find out whether or not you know if Bravo has given a green-light for a 2nd season of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, and if so, how would a prospective artist such as myself audition for a spot on the possible upcoming season? I really, really, really want to try out! It has been my all-time, ultimate dream to just visit NY since I was 15 y/o, since I realized Hollywood is for actors & NY is for visual artists. I also carry the dream of someday becoming a much more recognized, successful artist. If Work of Art will be hosting a 2nd season, I'd appreciate it immensely if you could/would let me know how to attempt to be a part of it!

Thanks so much for your time!

Sincerely,

Kristen J. Cook

Lloyde
Lloyde

It's too bad that you let Eric go. As an artist with no formal training like myself, I respect and understand where he is coming from. True artist are self taught. Someone showing you how to do something, accomplishes nothing but doing what someone else has done. One must do what they feel and do it how they feel that it should be done. That's what is wrong with this country, people constantly look to others to copy, rather than do what they feel. Just looking at the judges tonight made me laugh. Who wears clothes like that? Who say that in order to be a great artist, you have to act and behave like a nut job. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Art is the interpretation of Beauty. Both of those projects tonight were mediocre at best. They were very lame pieces. I can't help bu tlaugh everytime someone talks dribble about a piece of art. Like this evening, OMG they turned the project towards the towers, what's so wrong with that. I see it as a way to always remember what happened that terrible day in September. Looking away is a sign of wanting to forget. See how as artist and people, we see everything from a different perspective. Not liking ones art is only your opinion, not the opinion of everyone else. I look at Van Gogh and to me it lokks like a 5th grader did it. Who cares about the brush strokes or the texture or the depth, same as with cooking shows, who cares how pretty the food looks on the plate. Your hungry, you eat. enough said, letting Erik go was not the right thing to do.

erin clement
erin clement

The decisions made are selfish and not conducive to artistic vision or freedom.