Thursday, September 9, 2010

The poet JoAnne McKay, and my art

Scottish poet JoAnne McKay contacted me a bit ago asking if she could use some of my illustrations in her newest collection, a stunningly gorgeous little book titled Venti. I was a bit shocked since I have never been asked to share my work quite like this before, but it was very easy to say yes because JoAnne's poetry is simply remarkable. Jagged, yet clever, rich and gorgeous but never too full of itself. I always feel as if I am very poor with words, and I am certainly no reviewer, but you can (and definitely should) visit JoAnne's blog, intriguingly titled Titus the dog and read many fine examples of her fantastic verse.

Since this illustration project of mine will be taking the better part of a year and a half, I was stunned at how quickly JoAnne was able to design and assemble her new, handmade poetry book but it is truly a thing of beauty. I am an absolute sucker for handmade art objects like this, and prefer them to anything printed in the thousands by some vast printing press somewhere, regardless of whatever "production values" go into it. So, to borrow a bit from JoAnne's post, the book Venti is a handmade art and poetry book featuring illustrations (a few of my own) and verse from JoAnne with three differently colored covers, a hand-embossed label, each hand-stamped and in its own presentation envelope. It's really just absolutely gorgeous and you can see exactly what I mean, as well as some fantastic photos of the book launch and a poetry reading by JoAnne herself, in this post on her blog. Best yet, she has provided handy links on how to buy, so this is almost certainly your best opportunity to own some of my illustrations for your very own.

JoAnne, I can't thank you enough for including my illustrations in this wonderful collection. I am humbled, and it means a great deal to me.


  1. Matt, the pleasure was all mine and your work has added something to mine that it would not have had otherwise - a superlative, allusive, visual dimension.

    Wonderful response to your art at the thomas tosh launch, which must be a teeny-tiny indication of great things to come for you!

  2. I certainly hope so, although even now, over a year into this project, I am still continually humbled by the attention it has received and starstruck by those giving the compliments. I am not sure if I'll ever not feel like just a librarian from Ohio, but it has been a great joy to make these illustrations, share them with people, and read their own thoughts. It had been a very great joy indeed.


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