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June 24, 2014
Colorful illustrations were inspired by local book collection
Cleveland Institute of Art students have re-imaged Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland” in a series of illustrations that range from edgy to whimsical and are on display at Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library through Oct. 31.
The students were inspired by a visit to the home of a long-time CIA supporter and book collector, who allowed them to leaf through his extensive collection of “Alice” books.
“After looking at his books, which were full of illustrations, we decided to create our own book, inspired by his collection, and give it to him to thank him for hosting us,” said Professor Dominic Scibilia, chair of CIA’s Illustration Department. Students were to illustrate various passages of the book in any style they chose. “We wanted each of them to use their creativity and imagination to do whatever they wanted with it.”
Scibilia said creating a finished product for an actual client is always a valuable learning exercise for CIA students. “Any work they make for a real client carries more weight than just an assignment for their professors. It shoots the expectations higher and students address the assignment in a more professional way.” Adding to the pressure, Scibilia set up The Alice Project as a competition: not all submissions made it into the book.
The book collector showed The Alice Project book to CWRU’s Associate Provost and University Librarian Arnold Hirshon, who decided to display the book, and enlarged images from it, at the Kelvin Smith Library.
“We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to exhibit these stunning illustrations,” said Hirshon. “As a collector of the works of Lewis Carroll myself, and as one who has studied extensively the work of many illustrators of the Alice books produced over the last 150 years, I am amazed at the visual interpretations created by the CIA students. These artists took very different approaches to explore the complexities of the books, and produced fascinating artwork employing a range of media and techniques to capture the essence of Alice and the other characters whom she meets in Wonderland and after she goes through the looking-glass.”
The library’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 8am – 8pm; Friday, 8am – 5pm; Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, closed. The library is located at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East Boulevard and is open to the public with a valid photo ID.
Above: detail from an image by Samantha Selvaggio. Click here to view a Flickr album of the illustrations in The Alice Project.
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