There's something about a classically styled silhouette that just screams "high-class." You can picture the shadow-etched profiles on the brooches of moneyed dowagers or hanging on the walls of old-money mansions. In fact, if I had a mansion, I'd have Olly Moss' fantastic silhouettes all over the place. I don't have a mansion. Thankfully, a new book collects the graphic artist's silhouette work all in one place.
Silhouettes from Popular Culture features work previously shown in art exhibitions and galleries. The small hardcover, which is Moss' first, works a sharp paradox, taking familiar faces from movies, TV and video games — all mass-market creations — and recasting them in a form once reserved for the elites of society. The minimalism also highlights the design details that make characters like Chun Li, Mario and Wile E. Coyote so attractive and memorable.
Moss — who is an avid gamer — has sprinkled a few video game personas in the pages of Silhouettes, almost always in a way that makes you smile or laugh. At first, you flip through the book quickly, riding the buzz of recognition that pops with each page. Then, you go through it again, noting the way that Moss nails the shape of a nose or a brow to make the character instantly recognisable. It's a clever little volume that functions like both a game of memory and an art appreciation homework assignment.