Dali’s Alice In Wonderland

Recently came across this article from Brain Pickings about Salvador Dali’s illustrated version of Lewis Caroll’s Alice In Wonderland book. I’ve always admired Dali’s surrealist artworks as his imagination can go beyond and his painting technique is great as well. I liked the vibrant and colours that Dali used for this Alice In Wonderland pieces. It really brings out the imaginative and fun world in this classic story.

Published by New York’s Maecenas Press-Random House in 1969 and distributed as their book of the month, the volume went on to become one of the most sought-after Dalí suites of all time. It contains 12 heliogravures — one for each chapter of the book and an original signed etching in four colors as the frontispiece — all of which the fine folks at the William Bennett Gallery have kindly digitized for your gasping pleasure:

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole


A Caucus Race and a Long Tale


Advice From a Caterpillar


The Queen’s Croquet Ground




(visited on 9th January 2015)


Visual Research: Tamparuli Tamu

Another interesting illustrated book written and illustrated by Tina Rimmer called The Tamparuli Tamu. This book is a good source of visual research as I am able to see the art style and the way how Rimmer portrays the Tamu in Tamparuli. (Tamparuli is a small town and a sub-district of Tuaran on the west coast of Sabah, Malaysia)

Rimmer puts he focus on illustrating the local native people through observing them while they were doing their weekly trading and what’s fascinating about this book is I am also able to get a better understanding on the lifestyles of the native people by studying their poses, movements and actions. It is also a very straight to the point way to show readers on how a scene in a Tamu looked like.


The Tamparuli Tamu by Tina Rimmer


Fig 1. Medicine, music and massage


Fig 2. Different type of fruits and also the traditional sacks carried by the native people.


Fig 3. Squatting poses by the native women. This is also a typical scene in Tamu.


Fig 4. Native women


Fig 4. Portraits of native women


Rimmer, T. (1999) The Tamparuli Tamu: A Sabah Market. The Sabah Society

Available at:


Money Revamp

By Margaret Rhodes

What if we used money “as an educational tool?” Purrington wonders. “And not to reinforce such a patriotic bond with the country, but more of a global bond with mankind.” For his master’s thesis at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland, Purrington (who is an American, from Idaho) gave US currency a top-to-bottom, front-to-back overhaul.

The familiar faces of Lincoln, Jackson and the rest are gone, replaced by a more colorful set of images. Purrington wanted to introduce imagery that had to do with systems, rather than dated iconography, because that’s really what money is about. It’s the connecting synapse between a huge number of systems that keep our country churning day by day. Each of the bills (Purrington’s redesign includes the $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes) has two very different sides: one side is a muted, Escher-esque drawing of a technical or scientific subject matter. The other side has a colorful, real world manifestation of the black-and-white reverse.

For example: one side of the $10 note sports an illustration of a bucky ball. Its other side has a drawing of gleaming skyscraper. The $50 note has a labyrinthine drawing of a circuit board; flip it over, and there’s an astronaut’s helmet, reflecting a view of the space station. “I wanted to play on things that we might not always think about, like neurons being involved in farming or agriculture,” Purrington says of his $5 bill design. “As soon as you pull away and look at farms from a bird’s eye view you begin to see how intricate and detailed that decision-making process is.”

Purrington also did away with the basic layout of the American bill. “Every cartoon or pictogram you see of money is a rectangle with a circle and four denominations, one in each corner,” he says. His new notes look more like the Euro, or the Swedish krona. This makes sense given that early on, Purrington was inspired by Switzerland’s model for introducing newly designed currency every 20 years. “They give them a theme to work with and that changes every 20 years, so the money people have has more to do with spreading a message.” That 20-year interval is worth noting, he points out. It means every generation of youngsters grows up with new money.




[visited on 28 November 2014]

Exoticism Research: Part 3

I have been reading a book that I found from the library named “Beyond Orientalism: How west won over by Islamic art” This book was produced by Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. It basically tell the readers the history on how and when the west adapted the influence of eastern art, in this case Islamic art into their own artworks and eventually called it ‘orient’. I found a graphic designer through Behance named Wafa Said who’s from Egypt. I thought her works on blending western famous cartoon characters with oriental elements are nice. I like the implementation of basic design elements in it as well such as dots, lines and shapes to create patterns around the character. The outcome has a new oriental feel in it and it represents well in the term of ‘east meets west’









(visited on 5/10.2014)

Inspiration: Maira Kalman (My Favorite Things)

I would love to own this illustrated book (maybe I shall get it during Christmas?) by Maira Kalman named My Favorite Things. This is how I envision my ‘guide book’ would look like for my MA studies. It’s more quirky, fun, colourful, lots of handwritten/handrawn stuff and of course I would also love to add more graphics element in it. But I really should get my bibliography and research done first before anything else! Not going to lie, but it is quite a struggle. ‘Exoticism’ is not an easy word to do reaseach on but I shall persevere and work hard on it though the deadline is so near now *yikes*

From Maira Kalman, the author of the bestsellers The Principles of Uncertainty and The Elements of Style, comes this beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

With more than fifty original paintings and featuring bestselling author and illustrator Maira Kalman’s signature handwritten prose, My Favorite Things is a poignant and witty meditation on the importance of both quotidian and unusual objects in our culture and private worlds.

Created in the same colorful, engaging, and insightful style as her previous works, which have won her fans around the world, My Favorite Things features more than fifty objects from both the Cooper-Hewitt and Kalman’s personal collections: the pocket watch Abraham Lincoln was carrying when he was shot, original editions of Winnie-the-Pooh and Alice in Wonderland, a handkerchief in memoriam of Queen Victoria, an Ingo Maurer lamp, Rietveld’s Z chair, a pair of Toscanini’s pants, and photographs Kalman has taken of people walking towards and away from her. A pictorial index provides photographs of the actual objects and a short description of them, enhancing the reading experience.

As it speaks to the universal experience and importance of beloved objects in our lives—big and small, famous and private—this unique work is a fresh way of examining and understanding our society, history, culture, and ourselves.





Book is available in Amazon.




(visited 4/10/2014)

Neil Gaiman Reimagines Hansel & Gretel, with Gorgeous Black-and-White Illustrations by Italian Graphic Artist Lorenzo Mattotti

Read this article from Brain Pickings on Neil Gaiman’s dark version of Hansel & Gretel and this wonderful graphic illustration is done by Lorenzo Mattotti. I like the fact that Gaiman is bold enough to create this dark version of this fairy tale that is catered to kids. I find that it is very useful for kids to be exposed into something different other than only understanding the ‘happy endings’ in a story.

I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.

And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is [that] it’s like in an inoculation… You are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming — it’s understandable, they can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it.

And, it’s okay, it’s safe to tell you that story — as long as you tell them that you can be smart, and you can be brave, and you can be tricky, and you can be plucky, and you can keep going.

J.R.R. Tolkien memorably asserted that there is no such thing as writing “for children” and Maurice Sendak similarly scoffed that we shouldn’t shield young minds from the dark. It’s a sentiment that Neil Gaiman — one of the most enchanting and prolific writers of our time, a champion of the creative life,underappreciated artist, disciplined writer, and sage of literature — not only shares, in contemplating but also enacts beautifully in his work. More than a decade after his bewitching and widely beloved Coraline, Gaiman returns with another terrific embodiment of this ethos — his adaptation of the Brothers Grimm classicHansel & Gretel (public library), illustrated by Italian graphic artist Lorenzo Mattotti, the talent behind Lou Reed’s adaptation of The Raven.

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm have attracted a wealth of reimaginings over their long history, including interpretations as wide-ranging as those byDavid Hockney in 1970, Edward Gorey in 1973, and Philip Pullman in 2012. But Gaiman’s is decidedly singular — a mesmerizing rolling cadence of language propelling a story that speaks to the part of the soul that revels in darkness but is immutably drawn to the light, that listens for the peculiar crescendo where the song of the dream becomes indistinguishable from the scream of the nightmare.






Read more here



(visited on 4/10/2014)

Tamu Day

I am back in my hometown for a couple of days not exactly for a holiday but to attend an old primary school friend’s wedding reception. My hometown in in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (North Borneo) and since I am currently staying and working in Petaling Jaya, it takes 2 and a half hours to reach my hometown by flight. SInce I am back here, I thought it would be a great chance for me to make a visit to the public library and take some spare time to continue on with my R&E assignment there. But before I went to the library, I made a short detour and visited the ‘Tamu’ (pronounced “Tah-moo”) which is a weekly open air market where the local people here (mostly from the indegenious group) come to sell and buy goods.

According to this info that I got from ilovesabah.info:

As many distant parts of the world, the exotic island of Borneo and especially the Malaysian state of Sabah has its own distinct cultural traditions and customs, most of them extremely enticing for foreign visitors. Part of the heritage of Sabah, the tamu is an old practice dating back from colonial times, when the British allowed the locals to exchange produce in open markets throughout North Borneo.

A custom regulated by the British during the times North Borneo was a colony, the tamu is also a social gathering, importance announcement and special celebration are held at Tamu as it is a most effective tool for distributing news to the distant interior, and to receiving reports from those far outposts. While the Tamu markets in Kota Kinabalu and other major cities have become tourist attractions and lost some of their authenticity, for the real experience, visitors should visits the ones in smaller towns and distant villages.

Today, the tamu is a fascinating experience, a veritable immersion into the local culture of Sabah, discovering part of the charm that the old world must have had. Walking among people from various tribes, farmers, fishers and hunters, craftsmen and artisans, one can see the real everyday life of Sabah, meet the authentic people and their traditions. It is also a great place to buy authentic products and exotic food ingredients, a place to socialize with the locals and explore the colorful culture of the destination.

My mother, who used to a be librarian, has now retired and became a part of the ‘tamu’ community where she also sell goods that are produced from our own home. She told me that it is always nice to observe all these local people come from different towns and be in this market every week, to see what goods do they have to sell, to observe their living lifestyle. As I get older, I believe my appreciation towards this tradition is much bigger compared to the days when I was still in my teenage years. It is always great to see how the community still enjoy visiting the ‘tamu’ and buy their goods from there instead of only going to the supermarket. I can see that we still can be a community that will support the local people and at the same time to preserve this beautiful heritage. Although the world is leaning towards commercialism, I believe there is so much we can do to continue this tradition and still make it one of a kind. Younger generations should be aware that traditions can eventually evolve or change hence preserving it is important. We can always find fresh and new idea to do it…which is the reason why I am interested in looking through this in my research as well.











All photos are taken by me using Iphone 5

I Love Sabah (http://ilovesabah.info)
visited on 23/10/2014