They weren’t like anyone else. They did whatever they wanted., 2020
From the Parrots series
One-off original artwork
Dry toner on book page
30.6 × 21.7 cm
Featuring illustrations by William T. Cooper, published in Parrots of the World, Second (revised) edition, Lansdown Editions, 1978
Parrots is a series of small scale artworks about parrots, gangster films, classical nature illustration and abstract rhythmic typography. These artworks play with the idea that parrots might be the gangsters of the bird world—intelligent and impeccably dressed, like characters from a Scorsese film, conspiring to get what they want. Gowing’s abstracted geometric typesettings of menacing dialogue from popular gangster films are overprinted on torn out pages from the seminal publication Parrots of the World. The works contrast angular form and language with stunning illustration to create new combinations of form and culture.
This artwork is overprinted on a page torn from a used book. Any imperfections are an intentional part of the work.
Mark Gowing is an artist, designer and publisher working in Gadigal/Wangal country, Sydney, Australia. He is the director of Formist, a publisher, type foundry and graphic design studio, specialising in books, typefaces and cultural and commercial commissions. Gowing is also co-founder of the groundbreaking music arts organisation Longform Editions. With a practice spanning more than 30 years, Gowing has produced projects for leading organisations and institutions with a passionate focus on visual art and language, design, film and music. He has been honoured with solo exhibitions at the 22nd International Poster Biennale in Warsaw, Poland, the Divieto d’Affissione in Turin, Italy and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Gowing is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and his work is held in numerous institutional collections including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, USA.