Matt Kish: The Superhero Artist Librarian

What happened on another hour walk journey in Dayton-ville?
If you guessed something artsy & fartsy, you get a prize!
Reading this!

Held in the auditorium of Dayton Metro Library was librarian, Matt Kish's brilliant talk about one of the best art related titles published this year, "Moby Dick In Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page."
Articulately spoken with remarkable insight and humor, Kish gave the visitors a taste of his upbringing (hippy parents? charming!) and his influences (vinyl LP's, illustrated folklore/science fiction paperbacks & JACK KIRBY: COMIC BOOK GOD!!!!).
The passion for Herman Melville's classic, "Moby Dick" was evident in the joyful tone of his voice, the manner of presentation, and in the images themselves.
Funny considering that it all started from an innocent little tagged note on Facebook in which he had made a list of top five books and completely omitted his precious "Moby Dick"...
First of all, I must state that the size of the man's studio would bring any artist to tears- a literal closet turned into a working area?
Simply astounding that he could get anything done in his eighteen month venture!
But alas, that was just another challenge for the brave, compelling artist who doesn't consider himself an artist. He took his last art class in 1987 during his undergraduate freshman year for crying out loud!
Not so long ago though...
Having used to work for Half Priced Books (my favorite bookstore), he secretly acquired boxes of thrown out books, held onto them for two years (typical artistic behavior!), and then boom! This project comes in!
Ranging from hard edged line quality, sharply etched realism to minimal abstract design, he used materials ranging from colored pencils, acrylic paints, and markers on top of pages found from those old, discarded books.
Awesome how things come together right?
With fine contemporary artist Zac Smith's book called, "One Picture For Each Page of Gravity's Rainbow" stuck in his head, Kish brought "Moby Dick" to life- setting forth "a way to connect art to the viewers by giving every aspect of imagery a story, their own individual background."
The results are simply phenomenal.
Engaging and filled with suspenseful variety, the viewer feels a different spirit about each piece of Kish's vision- serenity, ambiguity, barbarism, frightening terror, surrealism...
Every kind of emotion is up for grabs!
Someone had mentioned that he had a woodblock quality to his mechanically precise drawing style, that of which is true and commendable.
Also, the way he incorporated text was very refreshing.
Always amazed at how artists use written language in art, I constantly seek ideas on translating that love further in my own works and Kish has definitely influenced an inkling today!
What profound knowledge he spoke and showed!
It took him nearly two years to complete this inspiring journey (criteria of drawing one page every day and being sequential!).
Obviously he was proud of the achievement and of sharing that with everyone who wished to hear about it.
Frankly, I was glad to have come.
Great fun!
Another enlightening factoid- when you type "moby dick" into Google's search bar, Matt Kish is bound to show up!
He told us so.

Blown up and mounted, here is a little look of actual illustrations from the 552 page book.

Someone on Twitter told me that he often drew in the books.
I thought it a sweet surprise.
More than giving a simple autographed signature, Matt proudly did just that!
In everyone's book, using a set of three different sized black markers, he showcased his artistic talent to avid admiring onlookers!
Each little whale unique in form and design, he listened and thanked us as we all praised his words and work.
It was fascinating.
Watching him draw lines without going over them repeatedly.
Strokes were even, broad, purposeful, and without error.
Quite lovely.

This was just for me.
My own whale with an afro!
Amazing is it not?

Ah, another Sunday art related afternoon!
What will little Dayton think of next?
I know of one thing.
While I'm pondering another impromptu adventure, I must read "Moby Dick!"
I have never read it, but after this talk, I want to.
At least eight times!
Kish highly recommended that one must read the book before diving into his huge book of illustrations!
So hard.
It's staring at me all beautifully tempting and what not...


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