Creator/Editor: Althea Chia
Essays: Mark Kingwell, Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong
Publisher: Guu Press
Dimensions: Hardcover 11.0″/8.5″
Date Published: 2007
Bliss Express: Illustrating Happiness is a collaboration of 21 artists’ exploration of the notion of personal happiness and happiness in the modern world.
In an age where a feeling of pessimism takes precedence its a sigh of relief to finally read a work based on the lighter side of things. Not that Bliss Express is simple or cheesy at all; it manages to explore different views of happiness with beautiful honesty and without pretention. The book also includes biographies and a quotes by each artist that further bring the images to life, as we get to see into a slice of their motivations.
The artists are varied in style and media, though most have a sense of young, modern flare. There is a large amount of digital art, though presented in a ‘earthy’ manner. The artworks are refreshing, unique and you constantly feel excited about turning the next page.
Althea Chia is a master of layout. You never get the cold, crisp, modern feeling that is common amongst other art books. Instead, the pages are welcoming and colourful without taking away from the artworks themselves. Also there is a sense of value; the art is spaced out appropriately and the majority of images fill the entire page. Although there is a fair amount of text in the book it never takes away from the art by overcrowding or robbing potential image room.
Awesomely enough the copy I received was also signed by six of the artists.
My personal favorites include: ‘Pinups After Work’ by Bengal, ‘Awakening’ by Fuco Ueda, ‘Heroine’ by Hiroki Mafuyu, ‘Bow Boys’ by Marcus Chin, ‘Air’ by Nona, all of Ohgushi’s work, ‘Light Keeper’ by Tomo and ‘Fujiyama Geisha Rio de Janeiro’ by Yuko Shimizu. Yes, I know that is a pretty big favorites list, but that is what the book does to you. And that was the short version of my favorites!
In summary Bliss Express is everything an art book should be: inspired, relevant and packed with value.
♥♥♥♥♥ – 5/5