Dumb Luck: The Art of Gary Baseman

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9780811844239: Dumb Luck: The Art of Gary Baseman

Mucking up the pages of the New Yorker, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Forbes, the Atlantic Monthly, Blab, and more, Gary Baseman has populated the finest publications with his inimitable brand of illustration. Now Dumb Luck, presents the first complete collection of his work, spanning more than ten years. According to Baseman himself, his art inhabits "that muddy spot where the line between genius and stupidity has been smudged beyond recognition." Dark and dopey, hokey and heartbreaking, his world is populated with freaky folks, maimed bunnies, weird wiener dogs, and anthropomorphic ice-cream cones that yearn and burn just like we do. Baseman's particular genius lies in capturing those ridiculous and all-too-often appalling aspects of being human. Hilarious testimony to the mind of its creator, Dumb Luck is both an art manifesto and a raw celebration of idiocy.

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About the Author:

Pao & Paws is an award-winning creative agency based in Taipei, Tokyo, New York, and London.

From Publishers Weekly:

Eradicating the boundary between sick and silly, Baseman’s paintings and illustrations inhabit a world of cute-and-cuddly depravity. Populated by goofy, wide-eyed dogs, winking devils and decapitated clowns, each work is a self-contained narrative of cartoon mayhem, each character a collision of the adorable and the grotesque. Even Baseman’s more mainstream work, including the designs for the popular "Cranium" board game and his Emmy Award-winning animated series, Teacher’s Pet, engender a freak-show fascination, a lingering hint of the Grand Guignol. That the few (and refreshingly brief) essays sprinkled throughout this massive monograph should belabor these less-than-subtle contrasts ad nauseam is hardly surprising. Even the artist himself avers that his work is about "smudging the line between genius and stupidity beyond recognition." After all, since the visual language of cartoons is his primary tool, simple oppositions and immediate, gruesome gags are a prerequisite. This is not to imply that Baseman’s work is trite or disposable. Although he wears his influences on his sleeve, serving up healthy portions of Looney Tunes, underground comix, Charles Addams and Red Grooms, these reference points lend each image an eerie familiarity. His characters (not to mention the blazing primary colors in his compositions) are vivid, outlandish and genuinely funny. A cheerful, peg-legged bunny holding a rabbit-foot keychain is hilarious by any standard. And therein lies this volume’s greatest virtue: the text is downright minimal, leaving ample room for hundreds of large, richly colored illustrations. In this case, each picture is truly worth a thousand words.
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Gary Baseman, Pao & Paws
Editorial: Chronicle Books (2004)
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Baseman, Gary; Paws, Pao &
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