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May 1, 2005 9:10 PM   Subscribe

So I illustrated Gravity's Rainbow -- nobody asked me to, but I did it anyway. Previous Thomas Pynchon/Gravity's Rainbow related post.
posted by arse_hat (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I'm pretty impressed, if not by the illustrations themselves, at least by the ambition of the project.
posted by oraknabo at 9:29 PM on May 1, 2005

posted by j.p. Hung at 9:37 PM on May 1, 2005

Great book. I normally read a fiction book in a day or two, a week at the most. Gravity's Rainbow took me a month or two. Must re-read it soon.
posted by orthogonality at 9:39 PM on May 1, 2005

I saw this at the Whitney Biennial last year and it was astounding. I love the scope of this project. It would be fun if more people started making page by page illustrations of works of literature.
posted by Falconetti at 9:42 PM on May 1, 2005

yeah. wow.

the gentleman is certainly a thoroughly devoted (and not untalented) pynchon aficionado.

now if you'll excuse me i'm going to sit at my monitor and reread the beast, with pictures.

(last one to finish has to reread infinite jest with pictures for every page (and footnote)).
posted by soi-disant at 9:46 PM on May 1, 2005

It would be fun if more people started making page by page illustrations of works of literature.
Dali famously did this with the Divine Comedy (one illustration for each canto, I think).
posted by kickingtheground at 9:51 PM on May 1, 2005

I have done this with Candide with each of its 30 chapters, but never thought to go through a book page by page.
posted by oraknabo at 9:55 PM on May 1, 2005

Dali famously did this with the Divine Comedy (one illustration for each canto, I think).

Whoa, thanks for the tip. I was unaware of this. Looking it up, I found you can check out the Inferno here and there are links to the Purgatorio and the Paradiso at the bottom. I have a doodle on each page of my Contracts casebook that usually concerns the facts of the case, but its not a grand artistic design, it is just that I get bored in class.
posted by Falconetti at 10:08 PM on May 1, 2005

Thanks, arse_hat!
posted by taz at 10:47 PM on May 1, 2005

neat stuff - haven't read the book but this just got it put (back) on my list. Nice Dante/Dali link too, falconetti.

And may I say, a day without a shirt is a good day in my book.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:17 PM on May 1, 2005

interesting concept. Thanks, arse_hat.
posted by shoepal at 11:31 PM on May 1, 2005

goddamn cool!
posted by ori at 11:52 PM on May 1, 2005

Fantastic. Although I can't help but wonder what the artist's talent in service of his own vision would produce.
posted by samh23 at 1:02 AM on May 2, 2005

I am hoping that we will soon see a film of this amazing book. Thanks for the link.
posted by enzian at 1:50 AM on May 2, 2005

Man, am I excited to see these online. I must have spent nearly an hour standing in front of this piece in the biennial. I love the individual drawings, but seeing them as a set was truly overpowering. Word on the street is that Zak was trying to put together a book of the drawings - let's hope that actually happens.

As it turns out, a couple of my instructors were either Zak's teacher or peer when he was in grad school. He has a really interesting process for a lot of his work - he'll do a small drawing in a notebook and then, in a dark room, project the drawing using an enlarger onto photo paper. He'll then develop the image and work on top of it in ink and acryllic - it gives his pieces a look of floating somewhere between drawing and photography. This picture seems like a pretty good example of that.

And for samh23, here's some of his non-Pynchon-related work - his gallery has some images of his portraits and abstract work. There used to be another gallery of his work, but it appears to have been taken down. However, one of my favorite drawings of his is still available.

My recent work (which, incidentally, I just put online) was probably influenced a lot by his work, althought I certainly wasn't consiously thinking about it. It's nice to see the images again.
posted by TheRoach at 1:58 AM on May 2, 2005

I am hoping that we will soon see a film of this amazing book.

Rumor of possible film

Pynchon in TV and film.

I have no clue as to the veracity of that rumor about the Art Garfunkel directed film of Gravity's Rainbow starring Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen. It seems old.

I am not sure how anyone could do justice to this book in a single film. It would be better to base the film on a limited aspect of the story, but then it would likely lose its Pynchonesque feel, which in no small part depends upon the non-linear inter-weaving plots.
posted by caddis at 4:27 AM on May 2, 2005

His style doesn't quite fit my vision of Gravity's Rainbow, but these are beautiful drawings.

The budget a director would need to make a proper fim of Gravity's Rainbow would be so high as to guarantee they would not be allowed to make a proper film of Gravity's Rainbow. I wrote a short fake review of a possible version once.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:45 AM on May 2, 2005

Fickt nicht mit der Raketemensch!
posted by rocketman at 5:17 AM on May 2, 2005

I am hoping that we will soon see a film of this amazing book.

*shudders at thought of what Hollywood would do to Gravity's Rainbow*

Say, did you ever see Catch-22?... Oh, no reason, just thought I'd ask.

Nice post!
posted by languagehat at 5:49 AM on May 2, 2005

Wow, that was pretty sweet. I really do have to finish this book...
posted by graventy at 6:06 AM on May 2, 2005

I saw this exhibit at the Whitney--if any work of art deserves to be described as a "labor of love," it's this.
posted by Prospero at 6:55 AM on May 2, 2005

That's really neat. Thanks!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:05 AM on May 2, 2005

Previous Pynchon and Modern Word related post.
posted by y2karl at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2005

Very nice.

NO FILM. kkkrist 90% of book to film movies suck. there is no way to truely seperate the two from eachother.
posted by edgeways at 9:32 AM on May 2, 2005

Wow and whatnot. I love those illustrations. Some of them remind me of the old book covers from the Penguin Modern Classics library.

Also, I want to know just how perverse the pictures get.
posted by palinode at 10:06 AM on May 2, 2005

Also, I want to know just how perverse the pictures get.

The ones accompanying the episodes onboard the Anubis are probably the high water mark for perversity. Finding them is an exercise left to the reader.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:47 AM on May 2, 2005

So, I should amend my previous comment. Zak doesn't work with an enlarger, nor does he work on top of the images once they've been printed. Some of the drawings, such as the panda one I linked to above, were contact-printed. Since this inverts the colors, he sometimes (although not always) does a second contact print on the negative to get the colors back to positive again. My apologies to Zak for misrepresenting his process.
posted by TheRoach at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2005

Outstanding that someone would be inspired enough to put so much effort into this project. Thanks for sharing...
posted by Ms Snit at 4:26 PM on May 2, 2005

Awesome project. I've read the first 100 pages 7 times (finally read the whole book the 7th time), so some of those initial images are outstanding for me. It's just how I imagined Pirate Prentice and those banana breakfasts. (Btw, if you've ever had trouble finishing GR (I sure did!), 10 pages a day will get you there in no time. Or 2+ months. One of those.)

The adenoid! Fantastic!

Also, I want to know just how perverse the pictures get.

Not very, from what I've seen. The Pudding-Katje scene is mild (vagina shot), as is the Anubis stuff ... which is not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:34 PM on May 2, 2005

I don't have the book around. Unlikely spoilers...

On what page does the wrong guy (deserving though he is) get castrated? And on what page is the coprophilia? Are these lovingly rendered?
posted by Aknaton at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2005

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