Ignore them [the rules] or eat a sandwich

Maira Kalman keeps illustrated blogs. They’re very witty. She’s an illustrator and wrote “The Principles of Uncertainty” exploring Heisenbergs uncertainty principle  through narrative illustration.

She has a TED talk here (The Illustrated Woman):


And also a talk here (Art and the Power of Not Knowing):


A picture from “The Principles of Uncertainty”:


Maira Kalmans images are generated from her observations of everyday life. They’re sometimes abstracted but also connected with history, popular culture, politics and the absurd. She obsessively records events and experiences and reproduces them as paintings with textual narrative. Most are very short singular pieces collected together under a theme.  She illustrates for both adult and childrens’ books.


Artists who can be funny and dark at the same time really impress me. I like the sense of existential crisis you get from Maira Kalman but also the gentle self-effacing humor which compels you through her books. The text and the painting need each other to achieve this feeling although I think the text needs the painting more than the painting needs the text. Or maybe I’m wrong.

She has a quick, simple style of painting. It suits the idea of the journal format, ephemeral, throwaway or even ‘provisional’ but that’s a rubbish label. It appeals to everyone because of its naivety, making it seem quite commercial but it’s also pretty depressing at times so there’s a nice tension there.


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