Book Reviews
May 8, 2006, 20:26

BEASTS AND PRIESTS by Jim Blanchard; Fantagraphics Books, 2006

Words come close to being rendered useless when trying to describe the remarkable work of Jim Blanchard. The images in Beasts and Priests are all portraits of pop-culture legends, each one lovingly rendered with such remarkable attention to detail that it makes your head hurt just trying to imagine the patience that must go into creating some of these works. The majority of the portraits here are in black and white, but this book also includes over a dozen reproductions of his large scale (4'x4') ‘sticker paintings, in full glorious color. The pointillistic detail that goes into these 64 pages is jaw dropping. For the sake of full disclosure, nine of the illustrations in these pages were created originally for Your Flesh over the course of almost as many years.

Reminiscent of the work of Drew Friedman, Jim's photographically precise images are spot-on, however also similar to the photographic work of Diane Arbus, many of the portraits exude a strange unnerving quality, as if he knows something that we don't, that he's able to tap beneath the surface and give us a peek into their darker places.

Included in my favorites: Frank Sinatra, Redd Foxx, Jake LaMotta, Lee Hazlewood, Ennio Morricone, Tom Jones, Twiggy, Bon Scott, Ron Jeremy, Lenny Bruce, Jackie Gleason, Willie Nelson, and Elvis.

~Daniel House

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