Today’s visit to the Archie McPhee Library explores a book that’s much more than a book, it’s A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel [Buy on Amazon] by British artist Tom Phillips. This amazing altered book began its literary life as a novel entitled A Human Document, written in 1892 by English writer W. H. Mallock. Fast-forward to 1966 when Tom Phillips bought the book for threepence at a junk shop in South London. He spent the next seven years painstakingly drawing, painting and collaging over each of the book’s 367 pages. Phillips left gaps in his artwork revealing some of the novel’s original text on each page. These exposed words tell the story of a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name only appears when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in W. H. Mallock’s original text.

When asked about the book, Phillips replied:

"It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties."

That’s how A Human Document became A Humument, but this extraordinary work of art is very much a work in progress. Philips has never stopped working on his splendidly altered book. Four revised editions have been published over the years, with the most recent Fifth Edition published in 2012. Each subsequent revision contains at least 50 new pages replacing their earlier versions. Phillip’s long-term goal is to eventually rework and replace every single page from the original 1970 edition.

In 2010 Tom Philips released a digital version of A Humument in the form of A Humument App for the iPad and iPhone.

Click here to learn more about this phenomenal artist’s book or click here to simply order a copy right now.

[Images via Humument.com]

American oil painter Donald Roller Wilson combines the polished realism of the Old Masters with a cast of eccentric anthropomophized animal characters, including dogs, cats and plenty of primates - many of whom are smokers - to create awesome pop surrealist portraits. His regular characters include Cookie the Baby Orangutan, Jane the Pug Girl, Jack the Jack Russell “Terror,” Loretta the Actress Cat, Miss DogAmerica, and Patricia the Seeing Eye Dog of Houston.

According to the New York Times, “Donald Roller Wilson’s goofy, hallucinogenic, Old Master-style painting of monkeys, dogs and cats dressed up in antique costumes may be kitsch, but it’s high-quality kitsch, like good beach reading.”

One of our favorite things about his paintings is that Donald Roller Wilson creates a brief narrative for each of them, much like Travis Louie (previously featured here) does for his own ever-expanding cast of characters.

We recommend visiting Donald Roller Wilson’s online gallery to view many more of his wonderfully strange paintings and read the stories that go with them.

[via Faith is Torment]

The Department of Awesome Anamorphic Artwork has been on fire lately with exciting new finds. Today we explore the work of a phenomenal Portuguese graffiti writer named Odeith. He’s been painting since 1996 and appears to have mastered the art of making his letters look like they’re popping off the walls and floating above the ground.

His visual trickery is at its best when used in corners or other narrow spaces. Then it’s all too easy to forget that you’re looking at flat surfaces. This is some serious skill and, as a result, these days Odeith doesn’t just paint on walls, he’s also received corporate commissions from companies all over the world such as Shell, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Estradas de Portugal and S. L. Benfica.

[via Scene360]

American contemporary pop artist Ron English (previously featured here) has an ongoing fascination with Guernica (top image), Pablo Picasso's famous 1937 painting depicting the intense suffering and tragedies of war, created in response to the bombing of the village of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Ron English has painted his own interpretations of Guernica over 50 times to date. For him the iconic painting serves as a modern template, “just as the Madonna and Child is an ancient template,” he says.

The Huffington Post recently shared an essay by English in which he explained his reasons for continually reimagining Picasso’s masterpiece:

“[Guernica] is a visual shorthand for the overwhelming and gratuitous horror of modern war. But I argue that the cultural takeaway of Guernica is actually the opposite. It transforms incomprehensible tragedy into a cartoon narrative, something we can more easily absorb. This is part of the human process, to distance ourselves from the immediacy of undiluted, overwhelming emotions by overlaying a narrative that simplifies, and in effect, takes us down from three to two dimensions. And this is the underlying concept that I grapple with in all my many versions of Guernica.”

Click here to read the entire piece and view more of Ron English’s captivating visions of Guernica.

[via Beautiful/Decay]

Noel Cruz is a doll repaint artist, and an awesome one at that. He’s loved drawing and painting characters from his favorite TV shows since childhood, in particular Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman. But it wasn’t until Cruz first encountered a repainted doll on eBay, thanks to his wife who’s a doll collector, that he thought, “Hey, I could do this too!” And now he’s one of the best in the doll painting community.

It took time and lots of practice for Cruz to adapt his skills from painting on wide, flat canvases to small, smooth plastic doll faces. Today his ability to transform factory-painted character and celebrity dolls into impeccably detailed, lifelike resemblances of the actual people on which they were based puts the original dolls to shame. Accomplishing this feat requires many photos of the famous person/character, plenty of time, and a great deal of skill.

To check out more of his stunning repainted dolls, check out Noel Cruz’s website and Facebook page. You can also follow him via Instagram and right here on Tumblr at noelcruzcreations. And, if you’ve got an urge to own one of his dolls, keep an eye on Cruz’s eBay auction listings.

[via RocketNews24]

French artist Gauvain Manhattan found six old paintings at flea markets and gave them awesome pixelated makeovers. Each painting is now an ode to old school arcade games such as Castlevania, Pokémon, Street Fighter and Duck Hunt. Manhattan plans to continue this geektastic series as soon as he finds more paintings that fit the bill.

Visit Gauvain Manhattan’s website to check out more of his artwork.

[via Unreality]

For a non-profit project called the Wall Art Festival, Japanese artist Yusuke Asai decorated a classroom of the Niranjana School in Sujata Village, which is located in the impoverished Bihar state of northeastern India. Asai used seven different types of local mud, cow dung, dirt, dust, ash and straw to create an intricate and immersive mural that completely covered the walls and ceiling of the classroom.

The Niranjana School was founded using donations from Japanese students and continues to maintain a connection with Japan. The Wall Art Festival strives to bring both local and Japanese artists into the school who use the school itself as a canvas and interact with the students. It also seeks to raise awareness about and help resolve numerous poverty, education and employment issues faced by small, isolated villages such as Sujata.

[via My Modern Metropolis and Spoon & Tamago]

Fine art body painter Paul Roustan knocked the proverbial socks off the Department of Astonishing Optical illusions with this awesome black and white painting of a Pandora Sphinx moth that beautifully conceals a woman who’s been painted to completely blend in with the moth. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t spot her right away. We didn’t either.

It took the artist five hours to paint the background and an additional two hours to paint the model. He says, “On average it takes me three hours to paint the entire body. This one was a bit more meticulous lining things up, which is why it took so long for just a portion of the body.”

Click here to watch a brief video that provides an even better look at this amazing piece as well as its creation process.

Visit Paul Roustan’s website to check out more of his phenomenal body painting.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

Brazilian graphic designer and illustrator Antonio Rodrigues Jr created these wonderful hand-painted illustrations for a series entitled The Great Lookbook of Urban Bugs. Each delicate insect has been outfitted in an ensemble featuring the signature style and colors of various fashion brands, from Levi Strauss to United Colors of Benetton. There’s even a fly dressed in lingerie from Victoria’s Secret.

Click here for additional images.

Visit Antonio’s Behance page to check out more of his artwork.

[via Design Taxi]