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Animal Husbandry Today

I recently traveled to Toronto to network heckle Chip Kidd and frequent the Umbra store. Somewhere between this and this, I convinced ECW Press to give me a shot at a book cover.

Next thing I know, a brief arrives in my inbox and the author, Jamie Sharpe, is listing Julie Morstad as inspiration for imagery. Her aesthetic oozes the same anachronistic yet slightly sinister feel as the book. I quickly realize the bar is set high and start to panic.

The following Saturday night, after a few inadequate mockups involving aprons (“husbandry”) and antlers (“animal”) have materialized, I’m out socializing drinking scotch on a pal’s living room floor and I realize there’s a framed print hanging on her wall that seems to have been crafted specifically for one of the poems in the collection. So I deciphered a few initials in the illegible signature and set out to stalk the recent ACAD grad who made it.

Just short of Facebooking a total stranger and/or going to the mall to surprise him at his part-time retail job, I found Reagan Cole McLean.

Here is the aforementioned stanza, from the poem entitled The Dundreary-Arts:

“What is the parable of the whale?  He floats wall-less,
Without history, secure in his girth like a slumbering god.
Awake: for we have a silver dollar with your name.”

The second runner-up uses artwork from the interior. I was drawn to the graphic nature of the piece and the obscure assortment of imagery: a dead bird, a hammer, a timepiece, a torso, and a screaming mouth. Good mix.