Fantasmagoria by Sergio Serrano ($12)

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Fantasmagoria is like watching Disney’s Fantasia on acid. Through nightmarish re-imaginings of popular imagery from our childhood, Serrano offers a welcome new take on the trend of adult colouring books. Currently lauded as a meditative practice, the act of colouring also appeals to our nostalgic impulses, which is precisely what Fanstamagoria zeroes in on. By colouring-in the familiar-cum-strange tableaus in this collection, we actually enact the disturbing work of our own nostalgia—distorting and twisting memories into something surreal. If you’re not on the adult colouring book bandwagon already, Serrano’s book of truly mesmerizing images is a good place to start.

Sergio Serrano is a graphic designer and artist born in Mexico, now living in Edmonton. He received a BA in Design from the University of Alberta in 2009. His design client-work focuses mainly on the arts and education. Literature and mythology are recurring themes in his artwork, which explores the narratives humans create in order to understand themselves and their place in the world around them. He works in print media and book works, creating images and objects that feel both familiar and unknown. His work also deals with the communication and transformation of these narratives in language, content and form.

Review by Stephanie Bailey
After receiving her MA in English Lit from the University of Victoria, Stephanie Bailey made a sailor hat out of her degree and took to the tumultuous seas of editorial work.
@s____bailey

“FABLES FOR THE FASIONABLE” by BRITTNEY GROETELAARS ($10)

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In a culture characterized by lazy cynicism and cool irreverence, the overt moralism of the fable as a genre has fallen out of favour. It’s now been replaced by irony—the rhetorical device de rigueur (which, if rendered as an emoji, would be the one wearing sunglasses). The great irony critic of our time, David Foster Wallace, has famously remarked that any artistic rebel who now eschews this cult of irony would probably be called out for being “backward, quaint, naïve, anachronistic.” Not so with Brittney Groetelaars and her refreshingly new collection of stories and images, “Fables for the Fashionable, supplying us with some much-needed “moral fibre for [our] fast food times of intellectual constipation.”

Unlike traditional fables with chatty foxes and frugal ants, her stories feature animals that refuse to be anthropomorphized. In stories like “The Tapeworm and the Millennial” and “The Cows, the Farmer and the Livestock Pharmaceutical Salesman,” animals figure to reveal just how inhumane, and frankly, un-human, we’ve all become in these techno-obsessed, postmodern times. In so doing, Groetelaars forces the “fashionable” (i.e. all of us) to address the untrendy issue of #morality without the hashtag.

Brittney Groetelaars is a cultural contributor working and living in Vancouver, BC. She received her BFA in Film, Video and Integrated Media at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Working in a wide array of digital media formats focusing in 3D graphics, she explores themes of digital marketing and urban branding. 

Review by Stephanie Bailey
After receiving her MA in English Lit from the University of Victoria, Stephanie Bailey made a sailor hat out of her degree and took to the tumultuous seas of editorial work.
@s____bailey

STATIC CONTROL: Book Series by Brandi Strauss ($9)

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Do you like films but lack the attention span to sit through a Tarkovsky or Buñuel masterpiece? Well then, Brandi Strauss’ collages are for you. Each of Strauss’ books brandishes roughly a dozen different collages—all seriously cinematic in scope. Piecing together found images into carefully crafted chaos, each collage condenses what feels like a three hour exploration of human perception and imagination into one immediate Drop of Doom experience. Each book contains its own coherent theme, tackling it all: man vs. nature, machine, history, and, last but not least, mortality. Strauss’ aesthetic is undeniably low-fi video, but the content is definitely highbrow filmic genius. Now playing in a bookstore near you!

Can’t get enough of Edmonton’s very own Brandi Strauss? Join us at The Drawing Room Friday, August 14th at 8pm, for the opening reception of her show, Explore Your Illusions: Fragments of the Mind. The exhibition will feature a number handmade collages and silkscreened prints, and will run from August 14th – September 5th, 2015.

Contact Static Control for commissions or digital prints: brandimstrauss@gmail.com. Check out more of her stuff here: staticcontrol.tumblr.com.

Review by Stephanie Bailey
After receiving her MA in English Lit from the University of Victoria, Stephanie Bailey made a sailor hat out of her degree and took to the tumultuous seas of editorial work.
@s____bailey