Not everyone was amused when the San Francisco Chronicle began running Paul Madonna’s feature called “All Over Coffee” in early 2004. For those who were looking for the traditional cartoons and comic strips, Madonna’s work was not the least bit funny.
A one hundred and eighty degree departure from the ubiquitous newspaper “funnies,” readers were taken on a pen-and-ink tour of San Francisco’s architectural landscape, mixed with witty and sometimes eccentric bits of integrated text. Clearly some did not get it, but others relished this fresh new approach. By 2007, Madonna’s much heralded work had filled a coffee table book, aptly titled All Over Coffee.
Fast-forward four more years and we’re treated to a second batch of Madonna’s sepia tone and watercolor drawings. Everything Is Its Own Reward captures street corners, lamp posts, back alleys, telephone wires, stark landscapes and random bits of architecture in seemingly suspended animation, as if all forms of animal and human life had vanished. Yet strangely enough the human element is still very much present in his drawings, evidenced by the author’s bits of brief (ok, sometimes long and prophetically rambling) textual commentary.
“Does the smell of the air today
remind you of another time?
Inhale through your nose.
And the next time a day like this comes around
you’ll be transported back to now.”
The video here is from Paul Madonna’s talk at the Booksmith bookstore in San Francisco last month. Madonna talks about his new book and gives insight into his creative process. The visuals are rough but the underlying story is fascinating.
Everything Is Its Own Reward is an interesting and thought-provoking visual journey.
Everything Is Its Own Reward