Je kunt met je oude boeken naar De Slegte, maar je zou net als de Amerikaanse illustrator-kunstenaar Thomas Allen ze als materiaal kunnen gebruiken voor allerlei creaties book-art.
Het zijn vooral de pulp covers die hem inspireerden omdat ze nog ontsnapten aan de latere stilistiek en er heuse mensen op afgebeeld stonden. Verbindingen met de toenmalige cinema waren niet ver te zoeken, maar ook de jeugdherinneringen, de dromen van weleer verlieten hun covers en kwamen in een driedimensionele droomwereld terecht.


Inspired by a View-Master and pop-up books as a child, Thomas Allen became interested in recreating these three-dimensional experiences by using mid century books and pulp fiction paperbacks as still life subjects. Allen gently cuts around the shape of his figures, physically releasing them from their two dimensional surface, and then places them in a new display of meaningful interactions. His characters are brought to life from their pages and covers by detailed lighting and selective focus, ultimately telling a distinct narrative with their newly defined settings. He explores the human experience by exploring sexuality, desire, childhood and scientific norms. In his earlier work from Uncoveredand New Releases, Allen portrayed unrequited love, dramatic sexuality, violence and dynamic scenes of movement. In Beautiful Evidence, Allen plays with the findings of science, the complexity of the universe, identifying with the wonder and innocence of childhood. With an offbeat and cinematic way of storytelling, Allen continues to create photography that is animated, contemplative and intriguing.

(Foley Gallery, NY:


I had a fellowship for a series of work that used anatomy books to tell stories from mythology. I had another grant coming up and I just started cutting up a book. When I pulled it, things started popping off the page. I had a paperback novel where one man’s punching another man on the cover. I realized I could make it look three-dimensional. It was like a pop up book.


Prior to [this project] I was using Photoshop and making props, cut-outs that I would print onto card stock and cut out and place over the books, and then use light to hide all the tricks. But [for this project] I decided not to use any outside help. I rely on how I cut something and how I light it. As I started using more than one book together, the whole premise of how one story can become another story took the project somewhere else.


I use pulp covers because I like the way they’re illustrated. Around the ’70s they stopped painting [pulp covers] like that and I avoid those covers because they became too stylistic. I use them because [the characters] look like real people, they’re almost like realist paintings.


The covers are suggestive in the first place. I felt like I could push the suggestiveness into crossing gender lines. Someone asked me if I’d ever thought about using gay pulp covers. I looked at them, and while the lesbian ones are fine and look like other pulp covers, the gay male ones, the way they’re painted or drawn, look much too invented and cartoon-like. I felt like that would be too easy and obvious. The real challenge is to take blatantly straight images and make them sexual.


​I am a career artist, freelance illustrator, ‘gentleman farmer’ and distance runner. I earned a BFA from Wayne State University (Detroit) and an MFA from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis). Represented by Foley Gallery in New York, my work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally. Permanent collections include the Museum of Fine Arts—Houston, The Milwaukee Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Target Corporation, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, the Progressive Corporation and Twitter. Serving as both educator and visiting artist, I’ve lectured extensively about my work and taught a variety of photography courses and workshops across the country. Highlights include the University of Minnesota, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (MI), Penland School of Crafts (NC), AIGA Austin Design Ranch (TX) and Los Angeles Center of Photography. In 2007, Aperture Foundation (NY) published



Covers waren net als de toenmalige film-affiches een vergroting van de inhoudelijke sfeer die lezer of kijker over de spreekwoordelijke drempel wilden trekken. Denk aan de droom-afbeeldingen op de dozen van treinen en spellen. Je kreeg een beeld dat je natuurlijk nergens in de werkelijkheid zou aantreffen tenzij je bereid was mee te gaan in je verbeelding en je Marklin een heuse locomotief werd en het meisje dat je groot-ogig aankeek in jouw armen zou terechtkomen. Daarom zijn de personages hier letterlijk uit hun papieren cover losgekomen en worden ze driedimensioneel, een opstap naar wat er gebeurt als je je ogen sluit.