Pozsonyi offers a debut book of coloring prompts for imaginative artists of all ages.
In the absence of any explanation, this project does not immediately suggest itself to be a coloring book. Each two-page spread follows the same layout: the right side is completely blank, while the left contains a black-and-white photograph in the upper half of the page. These pictures are of sections of asphalt and concrete, each marked by an asymmetrical blotch: they are “photographs of stains, detritus and imperfections in the city’s pavements.” Like clouds or Rorschach tests, these blotches suggest different shapes to each person who views them. Pozsonyi means for colorists to try to re-create, on the adjacent blank page, whatever person, animal, or mythical creature they see suggested in the photograph. As the author explains in the foreword: “Unlike traditional coloring books imposing outline images on the colorists, here, the images first have to be invented, prompted by the random patterns in the photographs interacting with the associative skills and metaphoric capacity of the viewer.” The book contains more than 150 prompts, a seemingly inexhaustible parade of stains that hints at any number of possible coloring subjects. While Pozsonyi’s recommendation may sound like more work than the casual artist wants from a coloring book, once the reader gets in the correct mindset, all sorts of fantastic characters and monsters start to emerge from the photos the author offers: alien tripods, giant mosquitoes, fish with legs, robotic ghosts, undiscovered species of bird. The only restriction placed upon the colorists is the size of the page. Beyond that, there are no rules. The fact that the final drawings are the product of found water, paint, and oil stains on paved surfaces adds an extra, creative quality to the experience, proving that the tools for self-expression are already contained within the colorist’s mind and can be released with only a bit of prompting. The rote coloring of prefabricated drawings can be fulfilling, relaxing, and healing, but those looking for a more active, self-guided experience should find hours of stimulation in Pozsonyi’s mysterious stains.
An unorthodox but clever innovation for the coloring-book genre.