Tradition dictates that books are small literaey escapes into some kind of compelling narrative. Usually there is a protagonist who faces a certain challenge that either uplifts or destroys them. While the character is going through their trails, metaphors, morals, and lessons are communicated to the reader.
Visual works of art accomplish, or try to accomplish, this same type of communication to it’s viewer. The artist tries to convey a certain emotion with a limited number of colors and textures. The resulting image is meant to tell a kind of story, or to unveil some kind of truth to the viewer. In essence, the difference between a painting and a book is the medium in which a message is conveyed.
TASCHEN is a company that is bringing the two worlds together- books and art. Their hybrid creation uses the structure of a book to hold huge high quality images instead of pure text. Ironically, TASCHEN started as a publishing company for graphic novels. Graphic novels can be seen as a half and half blend between art and literature, which segways perfectly into their now business model.
TASCHEN has gone further in the direction of art and away from literature, but that does not mean they haven’t created something great. One of their many noteworthy books is Leonardo Da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings by Johannes Nathan and Frank Zöllner. The book is literally all the available artwork that Da Vinci has ever done. Even though it has no plot, the artwork evokes just as much emotion as reading about Da Vinci would.
If renaissance art is not your thing, consider Muhammad Ali’s GOAT. TASCHEN published a tribute to the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time and it is glorious. There are only 9,000 copies and each one of them are signed by Muhammad Ali himself.
A Forbes article describes TASCHEN’s books as “not simply words and pictures, they are experiences that unfold, mesmerize, stimulate and provoke.” And that is exactly what they do. Some books can be up to 20X27-inches in size. Which, if you think about it, is utterly gigantic.
It is true that technology is taking people away from reading books. Anything a company can do to bring attention back to books, even if they are not truly books in the traditional sense, is a win. TASCHEN still accomplishes what we all love about reading. They provide an experience that can be deep, funny, sad, or even inspirational. So before you judge these books by their gigantic covers, consider opening up one of their works and see for yourself if they live up to the hype.
Featured image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2a3lSqV