James Jean’s Rebus

I wouldn’t have spotted James Jean’s Rebus at National Bookstore Quezon Avenue if I had not been checking out a tattooed girl at the Art Books section. But when I finally paid attention to the books in front of me, there it was: Rebus was finally on sale. Which is something of a minor shocker to me because I thought this book wasn’t going on sale for a month.

So I didn’t think twice and I grabbed the book and took it to the cashier.

Published by Chronicle Books (a wonderful publisher of beautiful books I might add), Rebus is a retrospective of James Jean’s work from 2001 to 2011. It contains selected artwork from all his other books, as well images found in his blog. As a survey of his work, it’s as comprehensive as it gets. The book is divided in several sections each enclosed within a specific timeframe in his career.

The book covers the following body of work:

  • Artwork from his recent poster book Kindling as well was installation photos and drawings from the exhibit of the same name.
  • Artwork done for Prada, including wallpaper art, fashion photos as well as images from the short animated film Trembled Blossoms
  • Images from his Process Recess books, XOXOSKRWL and Rift
  • Artwork done for various products such as a wine bottle project and crockery
  • Recent Paintings and Drawings

If you’ve been paying attention to James Jean’s body of work as well buying all of his books (as I have), Rebus treads familiar territory. Except for his latest and more expressive paintings, the book reprints much of the artwork found in his previous books. Although it must be said that some of the artworks found in Process Recess 1 benefit from having been reprinted in a much larger size (the first Process Recess book was too small at only half a bond paper).

A James Jean book is always well designed and it’s the little details that make it pleasurable to look at. Rebus is no exception with the edges of the pages covered in ruby ink. Beautiful. So all in all, the book is again a must have for any fan and the reasonable price tag for an artbook of this size sweetens the deal.


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