Listen Up

Now taking up residence in the back gallery of Needles + Pens are a group of zine maker Maria Forde’s acquaintances, each with a snippet of wisdom to share.
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Personality is captured sharply in each of the likenesses. I’d bet that visitors form quick evaluations based on expression and body language of the people portrayed. Defensive postures, hands thrust into pockets or cradling elbows, are slightly disarmed though by the soft watercolors and detailed line work.
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The truisms that accompany each one of the artist’s Advice Portraits are hand-lettered in a unique font appropriate to the sentiment, each character cut out separately and applied to the works so that they drift across the background or hug the subject’s features.
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For some reason I was really taken by the names crudely carved into the frame of each portrait. I almost completely missed them, noting them right before I turned to leave. They stand in complete variance with the compositions themselves, seeming almost an afterthought. Unpretentious, there are gouges where the wood resisted the knife, and the misspelling of Mary Elizabeth’s name is handily corrected by a big “X” over an “S” in her last name, picking up at the “Z” unconcerned.

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2 Responses to “Listen Up”


  1. 1 Jen Warner April 9, 2009 at 5:37 am

    God I love these Advice Portraits. Trying to think what mine would be: “Do not read Bowles or really anything by George Eliot. Lest you get blood poisoning from your boredom.”

    • 2 hideoussunday April 9, 2009 at 8:33 am

      I’m reading this book Silverlock right now that is kind of a fantasy trip through literature. I totally thought of you when the characters stop at an inn and in walk Manon Lescaut and her long-suffering, fawning Des Grieux.

      Thus far this is the only high point.


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