Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Comics Shelfie: Roman Muradov

Time for comics shelfie, where a comics creator takes us on a photographic journey of their bookshelves and comics/books collection. This week it's the turn of Roman Muradov, writer and artist, most notably of his wonderfully eclectic Yellow Zine series, and last year's Picnic Ruined, published with Retrofit Comics, and is also well-know for his illustration work for a client list including The New Yorker, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, GQ, and more. He's currently working on his new book, (In a Sense) Lost and Found, with Nobrow, due for release later this year.

I backed Roman's Kickstarter for the production of Yellow Zine #4, and receiving it in the mail last week reinforced what I appreciate about his comics and art: not only is it truly beautiful to look at, it's smart and funny, questioning, muddled and cyclical as it replicates the questions and theories around it's very existence- why make art, to what purpose and end? And he manages to achieve that in a way that's not lofty or overly grandiose, but ruminative and witty. And always, always, sublime looking. If you haven't come across his work before, take a few minutes -or a few dollars- to check it out.

Without any further pre-amble, here's Roman on his book collection:

'My shelfspace is shared with Sophia Foster-Dimino, who owns most of our books. I rarely buy books for two reasons:

1. I'm broke.
2. The San Francisco Public Library.

One of our smaller bookshelves directly abuts my desk, providing an inspiring and daunting distraction from the view of the parking lot and whatever I'm supposed to be working on.

I curate the two upper shelves (the lower ones are hard to access) in a desultory manner until there's no space left or until I'm asked to take shelfish pictures. Here are some of my most beloved authors, recent crushes and even a few books I haven't read yet (works as a reminder).

A few years ago I'd be too self-loathey to put a medal on my shelf, but now I don't care, and it looks pretty against Proust's flowery spines. Also there's a stack of postcards and notes from friends and publishers assuring me of my brilliance. I never look through these, yet their bulging presence does give me a certain sense of comfort.

Here's the Hedgehog that was Lost in the Fog, and a print by John Pham between a Gorey-lettered Kierkegaard and Petersburg, the wonderfully demented novel by Andrei Bely.

Garroted between Kafka's "The Castle" and "Metamorphoses" are tax papers and receipts. Yes, we simply must dress the character. Also, Lustig & Swarte postcards.

Barrel of Monkeys is the funniest funnybook I've come across. On the right there are circulating prints by Disa Wallander, Olesya Schukina, Matthew the Horse (here on display), JoHee Yoon and others.

Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel is possibly the strangest novel ever written, I think his style can literally induce a hangover. My copy of Life A User's Manual has Perec's weird hairy face constantly staring at me, how sweet is that.

Isabelle Arsenault and Blexbolex are my main sources of visual inspiration right now, both effortlessly combine thoughtful concept & design with a deliberately rough finish, which is very much what I'm trying to do.

From a book of jokes by Simon Munnery called How To Live.

Birthday present from Sophia, a fancy edition of Tristram Shandy, which I haven't read yet.

Tove Jansson's art remains a massive influence on me, her elegant humor and disarming warmth makes Moomin the ultimate feel-good (eugh) reading for me. My own worldview is relentlessly bleak and pessimistic, so I always keep her work close by for emergency indulgence.

Tim Hensley is a genius and Wally Gropius has the finest writing I've seen in comics. I must've reread this book a hundred of times and I still have no idea how he came up with such exquisite beauty.'

Many thanks to Roman for participating. You can view all the previous installments of Comics Shelfie here. Remember to stop by on the 26th for the next installment.

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