Brandon Bird's Astonishing World of Art
The day we can all admit we've sung a T-Swift song in the shower and sometimes don't change the channel after stumbling across American Idol will be the day we live in a more honest world. But until then, the best way to deal with your unabashed pop-culture-indulgence guilt? The recently released Brandon Bird's Astonishing World of Art (Chronicle Books, $14.95).
You could say that it's part art book, part coloring book, but really, its contents defy categorization: There's a Christopher Walken mask you can cut from one of the pages, a drawing of Jerry Seinfeld as Bruce Lee, a paint-by-numbers picture of Nicholas Cage hugging a bonobo, instructions for drawing Tom Hanks' face, an oil-on-canvas painting titled “No One Wants to Play Sega With Harrison Ford,” Law & Order valentines and a painting of Peter Dinklage as Wolverine (pictured), just to name a few highlights.
Bird, born and raised in Carmichael, now lives in Los Angeles “for some reason,” as his website bio puts it, a declaration that seems fitting with the question the book raises: Is it celebrating pop culture or making fun of it? (The answer is yes.)
The quirky compilation is also somehow cathartic, dredging up nostalgia (lots of old-school Care Bears and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle references), while remaining utterly ridiculous, so much so that no matter how immune one is to the treacle of low-brow culture, it's sure to amuse.