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Forty-Seven Days to Oz

Moser, Barry
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Moser, Barry
Pennyroyal Press
Art & Photography

Moser's account of how he created his illustrations for the Pennyroyal Press edition of The Wizard of Oz. Reproductions of his almost-photographic pencil drawings reveal the political underpinnings of his politically inspired wood engravings in the completed book. A FASCINATING GLIMPSE AT AN OZ ARTIST'S CREATIVE PROCESS!

From the Author's Note: The following account of the process of inventing the sixty-two images for L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was taken directly from the day book which I keep to chronicle my work. Entries are made daily for the most part, usually at night, and usually after the day's work is done and my brain has been treated to a bit of Bourbon. Made hurriedly, there is little thought given to syntax and composition. Therefore, I have done some rudimentary editing for the sake of clarity and to repair injuries done to the language. Care has been taken, however, to reflect the hurried flavor of the language and the informal mood of the day book. It is misleading to suggest that the images for the Pennyroyal Oz were accomplished in only forty-seven days. While it is true that the one hundred and thirty-five preparatory studies were indeed executed in forty-seven days, it should be noted that nearly two years of meditation, conversation, and research had been done before I commenced the drawings.

A Sample Entry From the Journal: May 3, 1985 -- Finished the drawing for the King of the Flying Monkeys. Continuing my anachronistic play with costume and machinery, I have garbed him in leather flight helmet & jacket, aviator's white scarf (again playing close to the cusp of kitsch). His flying machine will belie him though. The Gate to the Emerald City is taken directly from my photographs of the huge circular boiler doors (manufactured by James Beggs & Co.) which were made for the Brassworks in Haydenville, Massachusetts. I reworked the monograms to read OZ, took off two of the existing handles, and added a combination lock. I am enjoying the immediacy of using the photo directly. Especially when one brings to it the wealth of drawing skills acquired over twenty-five years. There is also a viable implication of the use of machinery to produce these particular images.

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