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Episode 3: “Judging a Book By Its Cover”

June 29, 2010

The Challenge: Create a cover for a literary classic.

(c) Bravo

The winner: John’s “The Time Machine” cover

(c) Bravo

The loser: Judith’s “Pride and Prejudice” cover

Kate Steiren, ABN Editor

(c) Bravo

This was the first episode that I had no doubt in my mind about the judges’ decision.  Judith deserved the boot.  There were a few occurrences in which Judith pulled a Nao and gave the impression that her opinion was more important than the judges.  Mark hit the nail on the head when he said, “Judith is derogatory towards the concept of art being commercial.”  The point of the challenge was to create a book cover that draws readers to the novel, a commercial challenge.  I think Judith scoffed at this concept by writing the title of the novel, the most important part, backwards.

This episode truly showed what it takes to be the next great artist, talent and flexibility in many forms of art, rather than a specific niche.  I find the way in which the artists approach the challenge to be quite interesting.  On one hand, you have Jaclyn, who has created her piece off of what she remembered of seeing the film with “Mr. Dobby and Elizabeth” one time.  And then you have Miles, who chooses to read his entire book in four hours of critical work time.  I suppose everyone has a different method or process.  I look forward to seeing what unfolds in this world of art next week.

Catherine Klene, ABN Editor

I wasn’t sure if episode three was a commentary on aliteracy in the art world or a fun challenge to showcase art in a real world application.  Either way, the episode was easily the best so far.

The challenge—creating a book cover for a literary classic—was brilliant. While it was simple, it allowed the artists to demonstrate their skills in a practical way. Like it or not (cough Judith cough), assignment art is a way of life for many artists, and some of the greatest pieces were created for commercial use.  The opportunity to have the finished product actually published on a release of the book was a fantastic prize that will give John great exposure. Also, I was an English major in college, and I was thrilled to see another art form brought into the visual art world.

(c) Bravo

That being said, I couldn’t believe how many of the artists had never read the books.  Even if they had seen the film versions of the novels, taking a few minutes to read a few chapters or even the ending would have given the artists a great deal of understanding and guidance.  Maybe then we could have avoided half-nude photographs for one of the most romantic (and fully clothed) novels of all time, “Pride and Prejudice.”  Perhaps Miles should have given a quick speed-reading lesson to the artists, although for all his effort, his final piece came off looking more like the bookshelf than an actual book cover.

(c) Bravo

There are times when I disagree with the judges, but this week, both Simon de Pury and the judges were spot on in their critiques.  The question asked of each piece was, “Does this cover adequately reflect the message of the novel?”  In John’s case, his interpretation of the time machine was arresting and modern, but it was the tiny ladder that really tied it to the novel and made it a cover.

Judith’s work, on the other hand, deserved to lose. She made have had a slip of a chance to stay, but she sealed her fate with her snippy commentary on assignment art, saying she was a fine artist and didn’t work on assignment.  This show is a series of assignments!  Each episode is about taking the challenge and bending it to your strengths.  When Judith’s techniques failed her, she gave up. The resulting product looked like a non-English Rorschach test.

This episode really demonstrated the validity of commercial work in the art world.  Mark put it best when he said he does commercial work all the time, and he never feels like a sell out.  Creativity makes for some truly striking work, and whether it’s in a gallery or a magazine ad, if it catches the viewer’s eye, then the artist has done his or her job.

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