Monday, July 03, 2006


Cover Story in Scifi Magazine

The August 2006 issue of SciFi Magazine contains a review of Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio.
John Picacio, whose gorgeous book covers utilize materials from standard acrylic paint to found objects employed as elements in complex mosaics, eschews the obvious. The results are sometimes haunting, sometimes witty, sometimes ornate and sometimes startlingly simple, but almost always achingly beautiful. Among the best in this oversized collection, best appreciated by readers willing to page through it slowly: "Last Tour of Duty," an illustration for Devon Monk's story, which empties a soldier's pockets to frame its G.I. with dogtags, a grenade and a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes; "Dangerous Visions," a cover for a new edition of Harlan Ellison's anthology, for which he built a set of bat wings out of copper tubing and newspapers; and "Gateway," which evokes the mingled psychology and space opera of Frederik Pohl's novel.

The book closes with a lengthy interview, in which, among other things, Picacio describes his opposition to lazy illustrations that merely duplicate events or places from a given story. He says such covers steal from readers' right to envision such moments in their own imagination. And he may be right. But from the evidence on display, Picacio has plenty of imagination to spare. He doesn't need to steal a thing.

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