Graham Lambkin ‘Came to Call Mine’ Book
Came to Call Mine is an extensive full-color art book by visionary musician, artist, and writer Graham Lambkin. Playing out like a children’s book for adults, Came to Call Mine features 50 hand-drawn illustrations coupled with simplistic corresponding texts. Lambkin’s mischievous combination of figurative and abstract elements lends Came to Call Mine a jarring, dreamlike quality, confusing the eye by placing innocent childlike totems against a darker adult undercurrent.
Came to Call Mine is released as a deluxe softcover book designed by Maja Larsson, with lithograph printing on Munken pure rough, lynx, and polar paper stock in an edition of 400 copies.
Selections from Graham Lambkin’s new book Came to Call Mine (Penultimate Press, 2014)
The duck has no luck
on the pumpkin seed lawn
The squash isn’t washed
so it can’t be absorbed
The fox draws a cross
in the soil where he knows
the seed should be sewn
so it merrily grows
“Nice Day At The Beach”
Remember the paper
of rabbit tusk teeth?
Or the jam in the sandwich
that dropped to your feet
Remember Jenny and Mum
on their towel by the wall?
As the bear claw extended
to slaughter them all.
“Falling Under A Joke”
The happy house is not opening today
so we fall upon the pigs that gather in the road
The wet quest has not ended today
so it’s back to the oyster house we go
Tip toe, tip toe, tip toe.
“Icarus Shot Down”
People busting down the doors of your world
People messing about with numbers and signs
Half are talking up a storm
the rest are begging for bacon rind
At your door and at your feet
they gather to leave you glue and stars
together to make you half complete
and pay you to cum in old jam jars.
“It’s Just Breakfast”
A clout ’round the head
and we’re up for the feed
and begging the goose
for the egg that we need
We’re devastated by our own hunger
Famished as a rise from slumber
The paper flutters off the tube
and grows a pair of paper wings
as it glides down to earth
It rests upon the hungry birds
that tear at its perforated skin
Their bellies, full of young stones
and worms, coiling in agony
in their acid graves groan
You muzzle the flowers
and you crumble the light
The mushroom stands for painless death
The toad beneath in silent oath
plunges the glass shard at your throat
A short interview with Graham Lambkin
Do the images begin spontaneously?
My color scheme is arranged beforehand, but the image content develops arbitrarily. I like the initial mark-making to be as loose as possible, so maybe I’ll start attacking the paper with my eyes closed or throw pencils at the surface from across the room—anything to avoid an overly precious start which always frustrates my creative process. Once I’m satisfied that I have enough of a framework to build on I’ll start moving in on the details and taking control.
Which came first for this book: the images or the texts?
The images come first. Sometimes I steer the content toward an idea for a text and bring them together that way, or sometimes I wait until the piece is finished and try to figure out what’s what and describe it.
These works seem to merge your more figurative and abstract drawing styles. Has one style been overtaking the other?
They’ve been in collision for some time, I’ve just learned how to reconcile them more convincingly. Pieces like ‘Limestone’ and ‘Adam & Eve & Onlooker’ are much more figurative, whereas ‘Whale Force’ or ‘Pokus Breaks’ take the abstract position much further. Everything else floats somewhere in between.
The texts remind me of wordplay-focused children’s books, something like Edward Lear. Is there any influence from such books?
Yes, I wanted my book to have some of that about it. Mother Goose as well. The best nursery rhymes have an unsettling side to them. That struck me as an adult re-reading these things to my children over the last 10 years. I was very interested in capturing that simplicity and magnetism.
Do you make up stories to read to your children?
No, but we do a lot of collaborative artwork which is always fun, normally on the back of old shopping bags, or decorating catfood boxes. That sort of thing.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
For children’s books I like classics like Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, B.B.’s Little Grey Men / Down The Bright Steam, and also Jan Brett who’s probably my favorite children’s book illustrator… It changes as they get older.
This post first appeared on April 10, 2014 on 50 Watts (http://50watts.com/filter/graham-lambkin/Came-to-Call-Mine)