STARRED REVIEW
October 03, 2017

Jump into the creative process

By Vik Muniz

With a glossary and guide to museums and further online reading, Jelly, Garbage + Toys is a rich visual treasure-trove, a book to be savored not just by young artists but by art lovers of all ages.

Share this Article:

“The thing that is essential to becoming an artist, something kids do and artists keep on doing after they grow up, is play,” writes Vik Muniz at the start of this fascinating, innovative (and, as evidenced by the title, most definitely playful) book. Defying simple categorization, it’s a combination of autobiography and personal memoir, art lesson and reflections on making art in today’s world.

Perhaps most of all, it’s like being on a studio visit. And that, in fact, is what inspired the project. We see the Brazilian-born Muniz talking to children in his studio, along with pictures of his early drawings. The feel of a personal, dynamic question-and-answer session is enhanced by photos of the artist as he leads viewers and readers on a journey through his artistic process.

Muniz encourages young people to try out ideas on their own, as readers are invited to participate directly. “One of the ideas I play with is RECOGNITION,” he writes, opposite a photo of a cloud shape. “What do you see here?” Lifting the flaps provides three possible shapes for the cloud formation. It’s unusual to have such an interactive design in books for this age. It’s not only fun, but it also works on many levels.

Another appealing aspect is the way the format makes the artistic process so accessible for children. On one page, for example, Muniz explains, “I don’t want people to simply see a representation of something. I want them to see how it comes about.” To do that, he tells us, he decided to use thread as a medium. Readers see not only a photo of a finished work but the artistic context and creative steps that underpin it.

With a glossary and guide to museums and further online reading, Jelly, Garbage + Toys is a rich visual treasure-trove, a book to be savored not just by young artists but by art lovers of all ages.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!