The morning I was about to leave, I had an hour or so to kill - not enough time to do anything that might look like an adventure but enough that sitting in Starbucks would be nothing but a waste of time, so I hit the Museum Of Modern Art. Well, I hit the shop anyway - my friend had ventured into the depths the day before and had come across the Yoko Ono exhibition and reported back using such words as 'pretentious', 'boring' and 'amateur'. She knows her stuff and I would rather have spent the hour in Starbucks than with Yoko but the shop itself is stacked with some neat books.
There were more than a few that caught my eye but one in particular begged to come home with me - and it was this:
Over the years I've dipped in and out of The Tales but I've never seen them presented like this before. This is one serious piece of work. The stories themselves are dark enough in their original form but Natalie Frank's illustrations take the stories to somewhere I've never been before.
Her work reminds me a little of Clive Barker's illustrations but thinking seriously about it, I know he pulls his cues from Jean Cocteau, Francisco Goya and my old friend, William Blake - so maybe those are better names to drop for a point of reference. Better still, here's some examples from the pages:
Those Grimm brothers really knew how to spin a tale. I sat down and read it from cover to cover over the first few days I was back and they pull no punches. Not even one. What Natalie does is shine a torch at the cave wall so that you can see just how dark the journey is.
This is one beautiful book. Every home should have a copy. You can find Natalie online here with a full page of some of her Grimm work here but it's not a patch on seeing it all in context. I missed the original exhibition at MOMA by about 10 days but if you happen to be in Texas over the next few months, that's where you'll find it: July 11–November 15 at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin.