Not since the Dune coloring book has there been a volume so crammed with insanity and wonder that people would speak about it with the hushed reverence usually reserved for sacred art. Well, not until now anyway. You see, Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art has just been released. This isn’t merely just an activity/coloring book, it is a celebration of the myriad ways that pop culture has impacted our lives. The Los Angeles-based Bird has established a devoted following thanks to his creation of everything from Mr. T-centric Christmas cards to a Law & Order coloring book. Those obsessions resurface here, along with a seemingly newfound appreciation for celebs ranging from Jeff Goldblum to Paul Giamatti. (If there’s a stand out star of the work, it’s Jerry Orbach who can be seen doing everything from giving Peter Dinklage a piggyback ride to chasing the devil).
Tucked away in the middle of the book are printed reproductions of oil paintings that illustrate what a marvelous artist Bird truly is. This is most evident in the strangely compelling “The Death of Jennifer Sisko,” a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine painting which evokes the work of the Baroque masters. No, really. Elsewhere, you can find a “Build A Busey” section which allows you to build a mobile of an undead version of The Buddy Holly Story‘s lead, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit valentines, pull out postcards featuring everyone from David Schimmer (leading seniors in water aerobics, natch) to Sam Waterston, and a sticker sheet featuring colorful reproductions of the book’s highlights.
With this release, Brandon Bird is likely to go from being the darling of the Gallery 1988 set to garner mainstream attention.Ultimately, that welcome possibility might just be the most astonishing thing about this book. Bizarre though it may be, it is a genuinely affectionate look at the celebrities, films and shows that have captured our imagination over the past 30 years. Check it out, you’ll never look at Dick Wolf TV characters the same way again.
Brandon Bird’s Astonishing World of Art. $14.95. Chronicle Books.