28th Oct2012

Book Review: Silhouettes From Popular Culture

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Olly Moss | Published by Titan Books | Format: Hardback, 144pp

ollymosssilhouettes-header

Art, especially “pop art” is quite subjective at times.  When the popular culture is one that is actually popular to you then it’s bound to catch your interest and even make you an instant fan of the artist.  Silhouettes From Popular Culture by Olly Moss is a book that will capture any movie fan, game TV show fan, and just about anybody who has even a passing knowledge of popular characters that are much loved in “pop culture” and does it very simply, though the art of shadows.

Within the first few pages you get an introduction to the work by the artist himself, giving his reasoning for his book, he comes across as quite a pleasant individual who came up with a good idea and wants to share it.  Duncan Jones (director of Moon and Source Code) also offers a foreword to explain how as a fan he first discovered Olly Moss’ work.  These are the few words included in the book (other an acknowledgements at the end) then it’s down to the important part which is enjoying the art work itself.  Silhouettes is as we know as shadows, the shape of a person or object that is recognisable by said shape.  This is where the fun of the book is, guessing the characters by their silhouettes.

No clues are given by the writer, but the format of having two silhouettes facing each other in a sort of face off often gives clues.  For example one shows the old Cylon design from Battlestar Galactica facing off with the second, another shows Mario and Luigi which of course are easy to figure out.  Then of course there are quite interesting parings such as Bill Cosby (hinted by added colour in his sweater) vs. Heath Ledger’s Joker which are quite bizarre facing each other.  The beauty of the work though is that you can actually tell down to the minute detail who these characters are.  Subtle clues like the mentioned colouring of a sweater or the Jokers red lipstick are used to give you enough hints, this particularly helps for example to reveal the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail “It’s only a flesh wound!” you can imagine him saying as the colouring for his hint is the missing arm.  It’s all part of the fun.

I do admit there are some more challenging silhouettes in there, I won’t say them all because most of the fun of the book is to figure out who’s shadow you are looking at.  Once you’ve worked them all out though you still won’t tire of flicking through the book.  There is something for just about everybody, especially the geekier.  My favourite may be the all of the Doctor Who silhouettes, and yes I mean them all facing off against the shadow of the Dalek which is of course very fitting.  I guess I should stop mentioning the actual art now so to keep some surprises in there for you.

The fact is though fans of many parts of “pop culture” will find something for themselves in the shadowy portraits in Silhouettes from Popular Culture, Olly Moss has taken something he enjoyed doing and used it to create a book that I do believe people will love.  Of course not everybody will have the same reaction as me, they may just not get “art” but for those who give the book time and want something a little special I’d say get Olly Moss’ book, maybe even as a present for somebody you know who is a movie/game/TV show fan I’m quite sure they will love it just as much as I did.

Silhouettes from Popular Culture is released on 26 October by Titan Books, RRP £12.99.

Review originally appeared on PissedOffGeek.com

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