Tuesday, January 05, 2021

cover notes: overlook

As I've often mentioned, cover design is one of my favorite aspects of the publishing process--whether it's finding the perfect adornment for the work of another writer, or even just for my own zines and book projects.  Sometimes this means something original--a painting, a collage, a digital design. Sometimes, I am hunting for something that already exists.   Initially when I was thinking of how something like overlook would manifest, I was thinking of a batch of ivory invitation cardstock I'd been bequeathed during a library office clean out.  It was lovely, and I imagined using a gold pen and some fancy lettering and making it look like an invitation for the the Gold Room (and this may actually still happen, since I have the supplies and eventually planning a small edition print version for the Books & Objects Series--maybe as an outer cover ) When I decided to publish it as an e-zine (initially it was supposed to be released in Oct. as part of my #31daysofhalloween fun) I went in simply looking in vintage public domain archives for a photo of a New Years Eve party not unlike the famous one at the end of Kubrick's film. I was looking for decadence, since so much decadence pervades the poems. I nearly fell out of my chair when I stumbled on the image I wound up using--not only for it's decadence, but how it so perfectly echoed one of the weirdest scenes in the film., what I like to laugh and call the "bear blowjob" scene.  In a movie that has a lot of weird, this is one of the weirdest moments in the film, and the cover image not only echoes the scene, but there is also the same subjugation tones that reflect the artist's roll in capitalist society (though one might ask whether the artists are the people or the beasts.  Or the people inside the beasts.) Either way, I couldn't have dreamed of a better cover tied so intricately in with the poems  and, also just really bizarre and creepy. For the text and other graphic elements, I kept with the idea of loopy script like one might find on an invitation or hotel lobby placard. Covers are challenging sometimes when it's just your own work, let alone when you are channeling another existing piece of art like a film. For my Dali project a while back, for example, I wound up just using the actual painting the series was about since nothing else seemed quite right (and luckily it was old enough to be in the public domain.). I think a lot about world building, but so much of ekphrastic writing--whatever the medium--already takes place in a world someone else created, so it's nice to be able to play homage to that, not only visually, but thematically. 

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