Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

I came across two new blogs by one new artist today that I absolutely love. Sophie Blackall is an illustrator in New York by way of Sydney, Australia. She has illustrated for children books, magazines and other various publications.

Aside from loving her light and graceful illustrated style, which I do, a lot, I am also fascinated with her her two blogs. The first one, Missed Connections, takes postings from the missed connections section of craigslist and brings them to life through her drawings.
Here is a video about her project.
And here are some of my favorites.

We Passed Each Other When The Sky Was Pink

-m4w - 29

I saw you for maybe a second or two.
I've read missed-connections before and wondered why people just didn't say something then and there. Now I understand... perhaps it's because the moment is extraordinary; containing a fullness of its own... and the thought that this person across from me is not a part of my everyday life, and at any second will disappear, didn't even occur to me... it seemed that we were in whatever it was together, and that sort of connection rarely, if ever, happens between strangers, so my mind was a little slow on registering that there would be no "some other time" if neither of us asked for the others phone or email.

Now, hours later, the ripples created by those few tender seconds still gently rock something within me...
and I become a missed-connections poster.

Would you be interested in having tea or going on a ride?

Long Curly Black Hair on The Q

- m4w - 36 (Brooklyn)

You had pink fingernails and got on the Q train at Atlantic (if not Dekalb). I felt an irrational desire to invite you out to dinner. I found you stunningly beautiful, but you'll probably never know. I think you changed trains at Times Square and I watched as you stepped between closing doors and disappeared. If for some reason you check this, It'd be nice to hear from you. Either way, I hope you're well.

You With The Hat

- w4m -28

I see you most mornings, and I think you've seen me too. I know how crazy this will sound, but I know exactly what our baby would look like.

Sophie has another blog, Drawn From My Father's Adventures, that I love where she illustrates her father's stories, "the grim ones from boarding school during the war, the exciting ones from being the son of a spy, the exotic and bizarre and beautiful ones from traveling to unpronounceable places long before there were guide books."
I love this one about the process of obtaining a Chinese Visa.

Gaining access to China in the 1960s was nigh on impossible without an invitation from the Chinese Government but I was determined to get there somehow.
Since the establishment of the Peoples’ Republic in 1949 nearly all foreigners had been expelled and there were relatively few countries that maintained diplomatic relations. Two academic friends had succeeded but they had letters of introduction from Chinese contacts whereas I had nothing. Despite that I still decided to give it a go.
I had been told that the only visa that I could expect to get was a transit visa and that would be for 14 days. When you think of it, there was really no reason why China should grant any transit visas for travelers from Europe so I had to create something.
The Soviet State travel bureau, Intourist was happy to sell me a ticket on the Moscow – Peking Express, so that was stage one. The next step was to send a reply paid cable to Luxingshe, the Chinese State travel bureau, requesting hotel accommodation in the capital.
Needless to say the Chinese did not reply but they did have my money for the replied paid cable.
With these two items in place I rocked up to the Chinese Embassy in London to apply for a visa.
As I approached the building I noticed that all the blinds on the windows facing the street were drawn and it looked as if the embassy was closed. However, when I rang the bell the door was opened and I was pointed up a long staircase to reception. There sat a man in a black Mao-style suit with a pair of scissors in his hand, cutting up papers. ‘Visa’ I said? And was wordlessly passed a form to complete. I filled in my details and attached two photographs and waited, and waited while the receptionist continued to cut paper. Nobody came and nobody went. Nothing happened. It was like waiting for Godot. Closing time came and the receptionist indicated that I should leave. I left.
The next day, Friday, I arrived at the opening hour and the blinds were still drawn. I climbed the staircase and said good morning to the scissor man and waited. At lunchtime he indicated that I should leave and pointed to his watch. I returned at two o’clock and continued to wait. Closing time came and once again I was politely evicted. The only interruption to my reverie had been the arrival of the post and a courier. This was real isolationism.
I returned on Monday morning and resumed my wait. After about two hours a man came out and explained to me that it was really not possible for someone to just decide they would like to visit China. ‘But, but, but’, I said, ‘I have bought a ticket from Moscow to Peking; tried to book a hotel, even sent money for the reply paid cable so at the very least the Peoples’ Republic should repay me that part’. The man nodded and walked out. Closing time came and I left the embassy.
The next day (Day Four) I resumed my place facing the scissor man and maybe an hour had gone by when suddenly in swept a new person.
‘Mr Blackall’ he said. ‘You are a nuisance’. His English was impeccable. ‘Why don’t you take the train straight across Siberia?’
‘Because the ports are all frozen up in winter.’ I didn’t know this to be true but he seemed to accept it.
‘Oh, all right’, he said. ‘Have you got enough money?’
‘Yes, yes’ I said, making a pile of Persian reals, Russian roubles, Japanese yen, a few hundred US dollars, and other assorted currencies. It was a large pile but the value was insignificant.
‘Give me your passport and come back in an hour.’

With passport and visa in hand I literally danced along the street.

Wouldn't you just love to have dinner with both Sophie and her father and just sit back and listen to all the stories they have?

Just had to share these two.

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