According to the guardian, popular publisher, Penguin, were involved in a project last year which involved transforming the covers of their cult classics through the means of street art and explicit graffiti. They handed over a total of 10 books belonging to their modern classics series for a street art makeover and whether they evoke an old city from the past or are just considered to be a cult classic, the novels suggested all share one quality “of speaking to their time” much like street art does.
ROA on ‘and the Ass Saw the Angel’ by Nick Cave
Belgian-born street artist, ROA, took on the challenge of designing a street art cover for the popular novel ‘and the ass saw the angel’. The take on the cover he decided on included what appears to be a skinned hare trapped between two physical objects with no fur apart from on his head and feet. It has been said that animals have always been central to his street art work from very early on and it was mentioned in the guardian that, “he depicts them as still lives – sleeping, dead or alive – in the urban landscape”.
Dr Jekyll on ‘Americana’ by Don DeLillo
Unlike ROA, Dr Jekyll leaves nothing to the human imagination by playing on the title of the novel and producing a street art work solely based around the American flag with the title of the novel intervening with the stripes on the flag. Again, the guardian said, “Dr Jekyll describes himself as ‘a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of 50, who occasionally feels a struggle between his dual personalities.’ He creates art and design”
Agostino on ‘How to Be Good’ by Nick Hornby
Agostino takes a very different approach to the street artists mentioned before him in this article by designing a cover consisting of what appears to be a writer or journalist tied by the string of a balloon which also covers his face, showing nothing but an outline of his head through the transparent blue of the balloon. Like his passion for creating vibrant multi-layered images, this cover represents everything that Agostino stands for in terms of street art design. It is said that he takes inspiration from daily life and plays with the theme of synthetic, flat shapes and “open titles”.
45rpm on ‘Then We Came to the End’ by Joshua Ferris
Like Dr Jekyll, 45rpm adopts a rather simple yet brilliant design to portray the novel. He uses block capitals in red, blue and black along with a pencil with a smiling face at the side of the book title and a banner displaying the authors name placed underneath. The guardian reports that, “he paints in the same crew as the artists Richt, Sums, Gumbo and Howl, who met through a mutual love of painting and a taste for cider. A painter, designer, photographer and film-maker, 45rpm travels a lot in search of untouched walls.”
These are just a few of the book covers that penguin requested for a street art makeover. If you’d like to see the works of many famous street artists up-close, why not book yourself on a London tour with East End Tours?