Category Archives: Profiles

Podcast Profiles: Author Georges Simenon, Creator Of Inspector Maigret (LRB)

London Review of Books’ John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about Georges Simenon, whose output was so prodigious that even he didn’t know how many books he wrote.

Georges Simenon - Maigret ReturnsTRANSCRIPT

Thomas Jones: Hello, and welcome to the London Review of Books podcast. My name is Thomas Jones, and today I’m talking to John Lanchester, who’s written a piece in the current issue of the LRB about Georges Simenon and his 75 Maigret novels, which Penguin have just finished reissuing in new translations. Hello, John.

John Lanchester: Hi Tom. Thanks for having me.

TJ: Thank you for joining me. And I thought we could begin where you begin your piece with Simenon’s ‘colossal output’, as you put it, and that nobody knows how many books he actually wrote, though it was probably more than four hundred, which is fewer than Barbara Cartland, but still puts the rest of us to shame.

JL: He didn’t half crack on, that’s true. Yes, he started as a young man in Liège, his home town in Belgium. And he got a job as a reporter on the local paper. I think he was not quite 16, which is properly strange. It’s like something out of a high concept kid’s TV show, you know, Georges Simenon – Boy Reporter, and very early on latched onto the idea of making money through writing.He began writing when he was 18, his first book came out when he was 19. He started writing every sort of potboiler, thrillers, romances, sort of semi-porn westerns, things like that, at an absolutely astounding rate of productivity. And his target was eighty pages a day, typewritten, and even on the assumption that the pages … I mean, a short page would be 150 words and it could well have been more, but it was 10,000 words a day, and he did that every single day. And then he’d write eighty pages, and then he’d go and be sick. Just from the physical and mental exertion and the strain. That was in the morning. And then he’d recover and do a bit of light reading and pottering about. And then the next day he did the same again, over and over and over for about seven years. And in that period, as you’ve mentioned, we don’t know exactly how many, because he forgot, and he had multiple pseudonyms. The main one being Georges Sim, which was how he was known when he began writing the Simenon novels. People thought that Simenon was a pseudonym because George Sim was so well known, but he seems to have written about 150 or more books in this seven-year burst. It  makes you feel peculiar even to think about what that must have been like.

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Artist Profiles: Russian Watercolor Painter Eleanor Mill – “Exacting”

From MyModernMet (May 25, 2020):

Eleanor Mill Watercolor Artist“Buildings and constructions once created by people but now fallen into oblivion have an inspirational value for me,” Mill tells My Modern Met. “They are silent witnesses of history. These giants towering over densely populated cities preserve the memories from the moment of their creation until the last stone drops off their walls.”

Eleanor Mill Watercolor ArtistRussian graphic designer and watercolor painter Eleanor Mill has a knack for capturing the spirit of place. Through her architectural watercolor sketches, she documents buildings with exacting detail. At the same time, Mill imbues her work with the color and light that gives each environment character. This allows viewers to come along with her as she places the memories of her travels down on paper.

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Art: “The Lives Of Rubens” Through 17-Century Biographies (The Getty)

Art + Ideas - Getty PodcastsPeter Paul Rubens was among the most influential artists in 17th-century Europe. Despite a childhood marred by a scandal that landed his father in prison, Rubens rose to become not only a prominent court painter in the Spanish Netherlands but also a lauded diplomat who worked across Western Europe.

With countless biographies written about the artist and exhibitions of his work continuing into the present day, the legacy of this Flemish Baroque artist is hard to overstate.

In this episode, Getty curator Anne Woollett discusses the life of Rubens through 17th-century biographies by three authors: Giovanni Baglione, Joachim von Sandrart, and Roger de Piles.

For images, transcripts, and more, visit getty.edu/podcasts.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist and diplomat. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens’s highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history.

Top Designers: “Imagined Architectural Spaces” By Alexis Christodoulou

Alexis Christodoulou - Imagined Architectural Spaces

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Alexis Christodoulou, a self-taught 3D artist living in Cape Town, South Africa has spent the last 6 years building a collection of works focusing on imaginary architecture. While working professionally as a copywriter for the last decade, Alexis taught himself 3D rendering as a hobby.

From a lifelong fascination of digital worlds and 3D graphics from playing video games a boy, Alexis became frustrated with the lack of modern aesthetics represented therein. The images he creates are a simple extension of this desire to see fantastic spaces come to life that echo a more modern and clean aesthetic.

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Video Profiles: 78-Year Old British-American Singer Graham Nash (CBS Sunday)

Singer-songwriter Graham Nash had recently embarked on a sold-out tour, until it was cancelled due to coronavirus. Anthony Mason sits down with Nash in New York City to talk with the former member of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash about how he has maintained his productivity while remaining under lockdown.

Literary Arts: New Website Archives Work Of British Illustrator And Designer Peter Campbell (1937-2011)

The website is about the work of the designer, writer and illustrator Peter Campbell (1937‑2011). The intention is to present an archive of Peter’s illustration, design and editorial work, as well as occasional selections from his writing.

British Illustrator Peter Campbell - London Review of Books

When asked what he did for a living, Peter would usually say he was a designer, or, a typographer. Designing for print – books, exhibition catalogues, magazines, posters – Peter Campbell - Self-Portraittook up the most substantial part of his time, at the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s and thereafter as a freelance. He was also an illustrator, a journalist, an author of children’s books, an editor and a publisher. The great range of his professional work, and his encompassing interest in the work of others, made him a collaborator sought out by writers, publishers and artists.

Diana Souhami, who worked with Peter often, wrote in the Guardian after his death: “He had the ability to conceptualise what each publishing project needed and to get it right. He was hugely and diversely productive, but seldom hit a wrong note.”

Discussing his journalism in her appreciation in the London ReviewMary‑Kay Wilmers wrote: “There are people whom getting a grip doesn’t suit, who don’t want to be confined. One can honour the world in depth or across a wide range and there were few aspects of the world that Peter didn’t wish to honour.”

He probably would have been delighted by – and certainly modestly sceptical of – Alan Bennett’s appraisal, in the posthumous publication of a catalogue of his pictures in Artwork, that he was “an heir to Ardizzone, Bawden and Ravilious.”

Peter Campbell was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1937. In 1960 he emigrated to London where he lived for the rest of his life. He died in 2011.

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