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SPECK: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things Hardcover – December 1, 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Disturbing closeups of lipsticks; a collection of heartbreakingly earnest lost-pet fliers; painstakingly documented differences in the scribbles produced by Eraser Mate or Dynagrip pens all help make up Speck: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things. Peter Buchanan-Smith, art director of the New York Times Op-Ed page, presents various odd obsessions of 25 artists in various media, and the result is this set of 200 color and 50 b&w illustrations of "projects" that come dangerously close to drawing charges of haphazard artmaking and are all the more engaging for it.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Peter Buchanan-Smith is Art Director of the New York Times Op-Ed page.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568982976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568982977
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 1.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one to buy for yourself and buy for your friends. It's for anyone who needs to be reminded that when we think outside the box, we come up with wonderful ideas. Read the editorial reviews and believe them - this is a strange, weird, wild book. I've grabbed family members and friends and made them sit down with it. I've put it on the Staff Picks shelf at the book store where I work. Personal favorites: the drawn lines showing the movement on different subway lines in NYC, and the collection of different rock samples and soil samples belonging to a barber in the city. These strange collections are actually very moving, very haunting and human. After you look at this book, try looking up other books published by Princeton Architectural Press, which is bringing out some of the best books around - they also did PHOTOBOOTH by Babette Hines, and YOU ARE HERE by Katherine Harmon.
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Format: Hardcover
If you like visual journal type of books like "Drawing From Life" you will probably enjoy this. It is a nice sized book with a great textural cover. It seems like a lot of thought was put into the printing of this book and the feel of the paper to the reader's touch.

Will you learn any art techniques from this? Nope...not that kind of book.

There are interesting visual experiments, a funny personal collection of name misspellings and several other text and/or visual anecdotes of every day life.

I liked "Drawing from Life" just a bit better because I felt more of a connection with the contributors since the commonality was the obvious journal. This book does not have that same connection for me but I still enjoy it simply as a lover of a visual feast.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw this book in the store and then left it behind in a mad fit at register lines that were too long. Two days later, I was back in the store--couldn't let it go.

I love this book. It fits somehow with Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art, and I wonder if the two books have the same editor? It's a collection of views into other people's minds, affirmation of things I've thought to do and never followed up on (had my own collection of cat whiskers until I moved).

I wish it had a little more background on HOW these artists managed their inventory--my experience suggests that for every "finished" and shared project, there are dozens in the wings, cluttering up the studio. But OK. Think Edward Tufte on Small Multiples--what an amazing amount of information is generated when information is collected and presented over time.

Did I say I love this book?
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent book about those things in our visual landscape that we overlook, under appreciate, or simply see differently. Speck makes you want to go out, look around, and take in the world through new, more creative eyes. Inspiring, informative, and fun. Plus it's simply beautiful to look at it--full of fine photography and all manner of striking images. You'll keep going back to it. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Speck is billed as a 'curious collection of uncommon things': from close-up photos of lint to very different bottles of sand from beaches around the world, this pairs unusual images of common things with reflections on what makes them unique. Packed with color photos and intriguing essays.
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