With Smiles On Our Lips

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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by ghostmouse on Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:01 am

In regards to Ash's "With Smiles On Our Lips" books, it seems to be about 90%, if not more, work containing women. So there is work from all of his worlds it's just work that includes women. It's definitely a hefty book but being a hardcover I see it as a bad thing. Over time (and I'm already seeing it), if stood up, the weight of the pages are going to pull at the binding causing it to separate from the spine. And that's the way it goes with a lot of heavy hardcovers. I suggest that if you do stand it up, cut out a piece of cardboard to slide underneath the bottom edge between the covers, that way the pages don't sag and damage the binding.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by 666ways2love on Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:48 pm

Visell book show up by surprise today (never got tracking - o well). Really nice high res stuff of her work. Covered alot of ground from the past few 4-5 years. Makes me wish she'd put out a full retrospective herself.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by ESeffinga on Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:09 pm

I was really looking forward to these books, so I'll give my detailed thoughts, now that I've had some time with them.

I liked Visell's book a lot. She's relatively new to me, and I dig her 50s/60s retroish stylings. There's one bat piece that remains an easy favorite. There's an almost twisted children's book aesthetic there that is so much fun, but still fresh and different. I have this dream that she and Bill Wray will some day do a show together. They seem like a natural pair in a similar that Ash and Geddes, or Ash and Phil Hale do. I digress...

-

Ash's books are like most other Ash books, so no real big surprises content-wise there. Glad to have them and the new content. I never tire of seeing how his work evolves, and he continues to push his own limits. It keeps the books exciting, even with the repeated content printed elsewhere. Those new gems are often worth the price of admission alone.

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Hale's book is admittedly a bit of a mixed bag for me, as Phil had mentioned he tossed in a couple previously unseen items, and that always excites me.

This book doesn't seem as "curated" as Hale's own books normally are. It definitely reminds me a lot of the physically smaller Sparrow books, in that it is a mashup of old and new work, some published and some previously unpublished. In that respect it is very much like Ash's own personal books tend to be, and it also is a fair reflection of the type of work Phil brought to Japan. Not so much a structured show as a collection of pieces. SO the content totally makes sense here, and to that point I have no complaints at all.

I suspect I have an advantage (or disadvantage) over more casual viewers of Phil's work though, because I am as visually familiar with a great many of these pieces, and have most of Phil's other work in print. Almost as much as I have with AW's books and work. I've seen several of these book pieces in person, and have seen even more printed in various publications. The only reason I mention it is because it's an area that I found a bit disappointing if I am honest.

The one thing that has been a constant for me, is that 3A's books have to this point, been of unassailable print quality. The binding, the paper stock choice, the reproductions. There have been some deviations along the way, as some work is just really damn hard to reproduce through an offset press. As they say, the pictures don't hold a candle to the look of the original work. And that is all fine.

But in Phil's Smiles book, several of the reproductions are just plain bad. Especially their treatment of the newer Life Wants to Live section of the book. I know the files for those are good. They've seen print in the book that went with the exhibition, not to mention in various other magazines (including Ash's great interview with Phil in Juxtapoz a couple months back). And what is really odd is that the repros in that part of the book aren't globally bad, and they aren't globally wrong. One will look like it is washed out badly, and the other will be too dark. Some look really warm or cold, compared to others. And there's the image of the arms carrying the body, that just looks like it was double the ink that should have been laid down on the paper, as if it was printed twice or something. The ink on that page is... just not right at all.

But there are some lively little unseen nuggets in this book, and their production looks spot on. Some prelim castoffs from Life Wants to Live, the BH studies, etc.  I was really glad to see these included here.

But then there is the resolution issue on a few of the other images. They never get pixelated, but several are far softer than they should be. This I suspect may have been because Phil didn't have as high a resolution copy of the images as he would have liked? But I would have hoped they wouldn't have been used as oversize cropped detail pages as they were, given their obvious shortcomings. I usually love seeing the enlarged detail pages next to an overall of a given piece, because it gives a sense of being able to walk up to a piece and see it firsthand. It's one of my favorite attributes of a 3A/AW art book. But when the detail isn't there because the image is enlarged beyond file size and has to be interpolated up, it suffers.

More disturbing to me is the paper and binding. It might have been a concession to binding so few pages in a hardcover book, but my copy doesn't feel particularly firm or stable. It feels like it could come apart with now more than a dozen or so flip throughs of the book. The thread is easily visible, and there is even a loose one.
I also wasn't such a fan of the glossy end pages (that want to stick to the inside cover endpapers). Seemed an odd choice to me.

In summary, I am always happy when 3A publishes art books. It's normally an instant buy from me, and it's not uncommon for me to buy multiples, so I can give them as gifts. Phil's copy might be the first time I don't want to give it as a gift, and the first I've received that makes me feel like it was of mixed quality.

Maybe it was a different printer than normal? Maybe it was simply a rush job to get ready in time for the show, and so quality suffered? Not sure. I do know Phil's just finished up (supposedly) the content for another long-promised book for Ash to publish, and I really hope it doesn't have the issues that this one did, because it's a book I've been very very much looking forward to.

-e.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by Sideglide on Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:11 pm

Phl has some better representations of his work and newer work in the new Juxtapoz magazine,  check  it out!

Seeing his stuff in-person, I came to appreciate what he does on a new level.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by ESeffinga on Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:07 pm

ESeffinga wrote:not to mention in various other magazines (including Ash's great interview with Phil in Juxtapoz a couple months back).

Wink
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by ghostmouse on Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:25 am

ESeffinga wrote:I was really looking forward to these books, so I'll give my detailed thoughts, now that I've had some time with them.

...

More disturbing to me is the paper and binding. It might have been a concession to binding so few pages in a hardcover book, but my copy doesn't feel particularly firm or stable. It feels like it could come apart with now more than a dozen or so flip throughs of the book. The thread is easily visible, and there is even a loose one.
I also wasn't such a fan of the glossy end pages (that want to stick to the inside cover endpapers). Seemed an odd choice to me.

...

Maybe it was a different printer than normal? Maybe it was simply a rush job to get ready in time for the show, and so quality suffered? Not sure. I do know Phil's just finished up (supposedly) the content for another long-promised book for Ash to publish, and I really hope it doesn't have the issues that this one did, because it's a book I've been very very much looking forward to.

-e.

I strongly agree with all of that. I'm glad you mentioned the end pages, those seemed weird to me. I think a book of this size would have been much better as a softcover. Slim hardcovers are great, the binding could be the same but won't suffer under the weight of the pages, though good binding should always be sought after.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by ennui on Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:14 am

ESeffinga wrote:
ESeffinga wrote:not to mention in various other magazines (including Ash's great interview with Phil in Juxtapoz a couple months back).

Wink

Eric, maybe you should start doing a tl;dr  Laughing
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by LV-426 on Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:05 pm

P85 wrote:Can not decide wether I should jump on the Ash book. How much of the content is repeated, what ratio is the new unpublished content?
At this price I can not justify doubling up.

It's been a bit, so I don't know if you decided on it or not, but one thing I've found, having not opened the Kunty 2pack for whatever reason until yesterday, is that almost the entire content of Kuntsler Special # 2 is all reprinted in this book. A little disappointed to see that.

Anyway, just a heads up.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

Post by 3a_boltman on Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:28 am

I am getting excited for future TK book and Popbot 9. If your into those stories may consider holding off. However if your into a lot of sketches and paintings of his chicks with Neblar Bot heads and sexualized seductive scenes, Pick that bad boy up.
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Re: With Smiles On Our Lips

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