Having gone to a school for Art I related to this book a lot. I mean a lot. I even meet my best friend at the school just like the main character of Art Schooled. To my understanding, Art Schooled is a semi-autobiographical story in that the character’s names have been changed and that’s… that’s probably it. I can’t say for sure what is and isn’t real, but if we look at it in the terms of what we know from the story… it feels very real. The story follows Daniel’s journey through art school. In a clever design the book often times jumps to the future and then back to the past depending on how it can help the story. This is how we start, on the last day of art school, but then we go immediately into the first day. From here we meet our cast of characters including Daniel’s soon to be best friend Charlie. And what a cast of characters they are. I’m not even going to bother summing them up, that’s for you to read and enjoy and maybe author Jamie Coe will hold up a mirror to your face and say, “This is what you look like, this is what you sound like.”
Other than the setting, the characters and some of the journey, the other really relatable thing about this story is how they talk about art. Basically using large words and non-specific adjectives to essentially fake their knowledge or to keep from pointing out that a pealed orange put back together as an orange on a piece of paper is a fucking orange on a piece of paper and nothing more.
Daniel begins making a journal of art school which is essentially the book we’re reading. What’s interesting is that he presents this to the class in more than one occasion and he’s constantly viewed as being negative and judgmental just for presenting how people are. He doesn’t sugarcoat himself though, but he is our window of normal in an otherwise stained glassed world of weird.
The book is balanced between the story being the star and art being the star. At times you need an injection of comedy or plot, but other times you need the art to be in command like it is on the spiral page. The spiral page as I’m calling it is of course a visual metaphor to what’s happening to Daniel in the story and though it’s obvious the layout and pacing of the narration is pretty perfect giving you a real sensation that you’re spiraling with Daniel.
The other thing about the art that I really enjoyed was the design. There’s a lot of almost headline pages introducing a new story element or aspect of the plot. They’re intentionally noticeable, but the designs are aesthetically pleasing. To give a nerdy example it was like the title cards in the first Spider-Man movie that looked like they were floating in the real world. It was that level of cool.
The last thing I will gush about the art was the coloring. It looks almost water colored, but I’m not sure so I won’t pretend that I know. Its vibrant and rich looking. It also captures the different moods of the story by focusing on one color hue for a scene. It definitely adds to the emotion in more than one chapter of the story.
Art Schooled was perfect for me having had similar life experiences, but that doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive; rather it’s very inclusive because at the end of the day it’s about people. People that we deal with are often times strange and peculiar to us and so in some ways, Art Schooled is for anyone that enjoys people watching… which is all of us.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="primary" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 5/5[/button]
Art Schooled Creator: Jamie Coe Publisher: Nobrow Press Price: $22.95 Release Date: Format: Hardcover; Print Website