Title: pepita: Inoue meets Gaudí
Author: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: Viz Media
Price: $24.99 (HC, full color)
Vintage: 2011 by Nikkei Business Publications, April 2013 by Viz Media
Genre: Art books, history, photography, sketch book
This is not your typical art book. At least, not one you’d expect from America’s largest manga publisher. In fact, not one you would typically associate with manga/anime at all. This is the study by one Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Real, Vagabond) of the Spanish architect Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet. In 2011, Inoue went on a tour through Barcelona, following in Gaudí’s footsteps. He visited important places in Gaudí’s life, including his childhood home, and each of his major architectural works in Barcelona. Inoue is completely taken with the architect’s curved lines and way of incorporating themes of nature. Not just using themes of nature in his build style, but also working with the nature surrounding the building to allow both to work in harmony. For example, building something around nature rather than cutting through and destroying it. Or using recycled materials as adornments, or the stones removed from a build site in the building’s construction. Inoue seems impressed with Gaudí’s style, naturalism, and life. The fact that Inoue is a manga creator is irrelevant. He is simply a student discovering a master’s works.
The book’s contents include photographs taken during Inoue’s trip, often with little illustrations sketched over them, shared with pages from Inoue’s sketchbook. It’s sort of like a journal of his journey. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. Inoue chronicled his experience and put it into a book to share Gaudí’s work and ideals with others. And it’s a really moving experience in a very beautiful book. Scattered throughout some really amazing sketches and paintings, as well as beautiful photographs, are notes from Inoue on his experience, as well as historical notes about each building, and a sort of mini biography of Gaudí’s entire life. This is a really simple, wonderful book, perfect for any bookshelf or coffee table. It’s calming, it’s interesting, it’s unique. Viz has done an excellent job with its presentation, and the price point is right on. If you’re a fan of art, architecture, Inoue, history, or Gaudí, pick this up and you won’t be disappointed. Read it to relax on a dreary day, or take it to a park on a warm and sunny day to enjoy it in the middle of nature. Explore the beauty of nature and life with Inoue and Gaudí.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.