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Blackstock's Collections: The Drawings of an Artistic Savant Paperback – July 21, 2006


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Blackstock's Collections: The Drawings of an Artistic Savant + Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Archit.Press; 1 edition (July 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568985797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568985794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

(These) freehand drawings offer a unique look inside the mind of an autistic man making sense of life through art. -- Art World News, Feb. 2007

...a nifty little paperback filled with exquisite black and white drawings that make up visual lists... The lists, ranging from different types of knots, buoys, oriental temples, noisemakers, hoes, crows, balls, Irish joys and many more, are comprised of incredibly detailed drawings, complete with captions and notes. This book is a treat. -- Art MoCo

Arranged in neat horizontal rows... these catalogs of the physical world provide a glimpse into the idiosyncratic mind of the 60-year-old savant. -- Metropolis

Beyond being impressed by the thoroughness and precision of Blackstock's drawings, we recognize something of ourselves in them, something that needs to see things put in order, by someone, if not by us. -- San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 19, 2006

Blackstock's collected drawings are a splendidly original and captivating taxonomy... Not least, they fuel an artist's pride that is life-affirming. -- Folk Art, Winter 2007

Blackstock's graphic lists are strange, lovely, sometimes humorous, always specific. . . . Whatever his driving force, his clear voice manifests itself through these visual collections. -- The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2006

Meticulously rendered, each animal or object's variation within the genus contributes to a visual rhythm that echoes Whitman's lists as well as Mondrian's geometric repetitions. -- Bookforum, November 2006

Since retiring from pot washing, he's able to devote more time to his new calling. The art world should rejoice. -- ReadyMade, September 2006

The subjects are rendered in a lucid black-and-white cartoon style, and the hand lettering invariably exudes a sense of glee. It's clear that the artist is entranced. . . -- cmyk, Dec. 2006

There is a refinement and sense of order in Gregory's drawings that is comforting, and allows us to pause for a moment to perhaps reflect of the expansive beauty of the things which surround our daily lives. -- Elemental Magazine, September 2006

"Gregory Blackstock washed pots for a living for twenty five years, played the accordion to supplement his income and hand drew hundreds of extraordinary visual lists, from hatchets to emergency trucks to wasps to Great Italian roosters. Blackstock is an artistic (and autistic) savant and his quirky and endearing drawings are a must see for anyone interested in visual communication." --Design Observer

Lovingly drawn, obsessively chronicled, Blackstock's mind is at once disciplined and untethered... stunningly refreshing. -- frieze, April 2011

About the Author

Gregory L. Blackstock worked as a pot washer for 25 years. He began making his pictorial lists at age 40, and had his first gallery exhibition in 2004. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Q. Affleck on November 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greg Blackstock is a former student of mine in Seattle Public Schools.He has sent me copies of his art over the years. I am delighted that he is getting recognition at this time in his life. The book accurately portrays his life as well as his art. Autism is also described in a sensitive and caring manner.I have given this book to relatives of autistic children and have been told that it was a very positive read.Also of interest was the description of the art gallery where Greg's material is shown and sold.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Walters on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I ordered this from Amazon and then when I received it, I noticed that the binding was completely falling apart. I returned the book for another and experienced the same thing. I decided to keep the book and just be more careful with it. I saw a copy of this book at a bookstore the other day and that book too, has bad binding. Other than the apparent faulty binding, I really enjoy this work and highly recommend it to everyone.

**Edit: I contacted Princeton Architectural Press about the binding and they acknowledged that the first batch of books had glue issues. They sent me a new copy and it's perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David R. Anderson on September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Four and Twenty Blackbirds . . .

The cover of this remarkable book of the autistic savant Gregory L. Blackstock's art is from "The Great World Crows", a work picturing concisely and accurately twenty species of crows from around the world. (See accompanying cover illustration.) "Crows" demonstrates the artist's "gift of drawing", a medical term first used nearly one hundred years ago to describe the "extraordinary artistic, musical, mathematical and mechanical abilities" possessed by ten percent of persons with autism.

Now called Savant Syndrome, Dr. Darold Treffert , the author of the book's valuable introduction, states that the syndrome is "always linked with prodigious memory, typically very visual and exceedingly deep . . .within the confines of the interest or ability." Even so, it comes as a surprise that Blackstock's art is all done from memory! Amazing. Take "The Great World Jungle Butterflies," twenty-four distinct examples rendered with the attention to detail you would expect of an expert lepidopterist.

First Published in 2006 by Princeton Architectural Press, the book -- the copy I am working from is the fifth edition -- has elevated Blackstock's work to the pinnacle of early 21st Century outsider art. Blackstock refers to his works as "lists". There are over one hundred all told, most of them in black and white, some of the more spectacular in color. "The Weathers", which he chose for the frontispiece, for one. Check out the "Thundershower." "Colorful Egg Patterns Favorites to Go For", consists of sixty eggs decorated with flags and a number of whimsical designs, e.g." 8-Color Spotted Egg". He uses color for "The Art Supplies" and "The Noisemakers" which includes the "Loud Filthy-Mouth Offender, The Overemotional Dirtbag!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
As unusual and charming as books come, two things stand out about BLACKSTOCK'S COLLECTIONS - the drawings themselves and the man who made them.

First, the man. Gregory L. Blackstock is autistic and an artistic savant. Born in 1946, he worked for over 25 years as a pot scrubber and dish steward for the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. The chief (but not the only) outlet for Blackstock's very focused savant genius has been his almost taxonomic drawings of various and sundry categories of things.

Now, the drawings, of which there are about one hundred, dating from 1986 to 2005. Each drawing contains from two to dozens of different types of the category at hand, rendered realistically by pencil, marker, and crayon, but with a definite "folk art" feel. The categories themselves run the gamut. For example (to quote Blackstock's titles for twelve of the drawings contained in the book) -- The Great World Crows; The Mackerels: Crescent-tailed Ocean Food Fishes; The Colorful King-Size Swallowtail Butterflies of the World; The Carnivorous Plants: Nature's Insect Death Traps; The Great Cabbage Family: World's Biggest Vegetable Variety; The Bells; The World War 2 British Bombers; The Barns; The Vacationers Irish Castles; Our State's King-Size Jails [i.e., large prisons in the State of Washington); and The Shoes.

In each drawing Blackstock arranges the inventoried items very neatly, and by hand he labels each item with commensurate care. For some of the items he provides additional information. For example, in "Monsters of the Deep", under his drawing of the great white shark, after so labeling it he adds "World's dangerous, largest marine carnivore and the very greediest tropical maneater of all the sea animals ever. Known as terror of the seas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gail R. Callahan on December 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had to have this book! The detailed, yet innocent depictions of everyday images is a must have for anyone. it inspired me to look at common images with new eyes. I love this book
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By Ien B. on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
whether when you are interested in art or to learn a lot about birds , insects, butterflies , to see what they all look like its a nice book also for the coffeetable and as a piece of conversation! go and order it!
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