An artist’s moving story paired with his paintings.

Flight of the Mind... A Painter's Journey Through Paralysis

An art book chronicling the relationship between disability and creativity in one painter’s career.

Artist Thomas’ debut book, an oversized hardcover complete with full-page reproductions of his work and other accompanying images, will be right at home on many coffee tables. Thomas, who was rendered quadriplegic in a skiing accident at 26 and learned to paint by manipulating a brush with his mouth, mostly recreates scenes from the natural world he has always loved: flowers, shells, landscapes and, as his title suggests, a wide variety of birds. (The odd plane also reveals Thomas’ longstanding preoccupation with flight and passion for building model planes prior to his accident.) Thomas is a representative painter; his images are marked by a vivid color palette and a sense of detail so meticulously wrought his paintings sometimes approach a photographic realism. This said, he may be at his most affecting when he dabbles in portraiture or when his naturalistic works include some fantastic or fanciful element. In the painting Fishing Stories, for instance, the line between the real and the represented blurs—a painted fishing kit containing a small man and boat rests on an easel, but the kit’s strap then extends past the edge of the canvas to hang over the easel. It’s a slyly puzzling visual that suggests the exaggeration and truth-bending so common in fishing stories. Throughout the book, Thomas’ images are contextualized by Johnson’s written narrative, which traces Thomas’ life story from his active boyhood through the transformative experience of disability. With a journalistic but intimate tone, Johnson brings Thomas, his family and his wife, Anne, into vivid detail—not unlike a Thomas painting itself. The art and the text, which share a heartfelt wonder at the world and its occurrences, are well-paired, though more cynical readers may find this quality cloying.

An artist’s moving story paired with his paintings.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1938417047

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Lydia Inglett Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2014

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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