If you love books— or even if you don’t, you at least have one book that you love—a book that lodged itself in your heart or brain or some other part of your insides at some point in time and refused to get out. There is always one. For Matt Kish, that book is Moby Dick. Kish read the book for the first time at a young age and quickly it became his passion. In a recent article in the Huffington Post about Kish’s new book, Kish says, "['Moby Dick'] has been such a companion for me my whole life… I've read it a bunch of times, I saw the TV movie, various comic book adaptations -- it's been such a part of me." There must be something so surreal about seeing and appreciating all those other interpretations of the American classic and then being inducted into that long legacy that Moby Dick has inspired.
In August 2009 Kish, armed with a Signet classic copy of the book and various art supplies, set out to illustrate Moby Dick one page at a time—posting his artwork on his blog. Kish says he prefers to be referred to as an illustrator rather than an artist, but his illustrations really are works of art. The images he creates are multilayered—stacking images on top of one another. As the base for many of the pictures he uses pages gathered from a variety of discarded books. He uses various mediums, implementing everything from ballpoint pen to marker, paint, crayon, ink, and watercolor. His unique artwork got him noticed quickly, and it did not take long for Kish to make a deal with Tin House to turn his art into a book. Kish finished his project on June 29th, 2011. He reflects on the project on Tin House’s website, “I see now that the project was an attempt to fully understand this magnificent novel, to walk through every sun-drenched word, to lift up all the hatches and open all the barrels, to smell, taste, hear, and see every seabird, every shark, every sailor, every harpooner, and every whale,” he says. “It was a hard thing, a very painful thing, but the novel now lives inside me in a way it never could have before.”
Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page is due for release by Tin House in October 2011.
If you want to see some of Matt’s fabulous illustrations because you just can’t wait until October, the Huffington Post has a slide show accompanying their article about Matt and his book. Tin House also has a few illustrations posted on their page. Matt also has his original blog that started all this in the first place: http://everypageofmobydick.blogspot.com/