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Graeme Base - Animalia

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Animalia - Graeme Base

"Animalia" is an exhibition of original paintings and drawings by Graeme Base featuring published works from his iconic book Animalia, as well as a selection from The Eleventh Hour, The Sign of the Seahorse and The Discovery of Dragons.

Join our collectors preview list for early access to the online catalogue.

Opening reception: Saturday, May 25th, 6 - 9pm Drinks will be provided by our friends at Better Beer and Malocchio. Graeme will be in attendance.

This exhibition will run from May 26th - Jun 16th.

BOOK SIGNING: Graeme Base will be signing copies of his books at the gallery on June 1st, from 11am - 1pm. Copies of Animalia & The Eleventh Hour will be available for purchase.

When Animalia was published in the Autumn of 1986 it marked the beginning of an extraordinary decade for young Australian artist Graeme Base. He had produced one other book a few years earlier which had enjoyed modest success but nothing could prepare him for the rollercoaster ride that lay ahead. Over the next ten years a string of wildly successful titles, The Eleventh Hour, The Sign of the Seahorse and The Discovery of Dragons saw him embark on multiple book tours across Australia, the USA, Canada and the UK as these four exceptional books combined to sell millions of copies globally.

The enormous success of Animalia lay in Base's refusal to talk down to any perceived audience or age-group. It was, in simple terms, an alphabet book, but one like no other, jam-packed with challenges, jokes and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Three years in the making, it elevated Base to international acclaim, winning awards and reaching #5 on the prized New York Times Bestsellers List against all comers - there was no separate childrens' section in those days - testimony to the exceptionally wide appeal of the work. The "Lazy Lions" image even featured on a colossal poster on Sunset Boulevard promoting the Los Angeles Bookfair.

The Eleventh Hour followed in 1988 - an intricate whodunnit with myriad clues hidden in densely detailed artwork. It won Picture Book of the Year in Australia and went on to cement Base's reputation as one of the most successful writer/illustrators in USA.

Fearing being typecast as a creator of "puzzle books", Base next penned an undersea adventure story, The Sign of the Seahorse, composing an orchestral score for a planned stage musical version while he created the artwork. Released in 1992, the book went on to enjoy similar success to its predecessor, with Steven Speilberg optioning it for a film and the music performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to full houses at the Melbourne Concert Hall.

In 1996 Base turned his paintbrush to a subject dear to his heart: Dragons. Under the pseudonym Roland W. Greasebeam he toured an imaginary world in search of spurious first-hand accounts from unlikely explorers of their encounters with all manner of Dragons, Draaks and Beasties. The resulting tome, The Discovery of Dragons, brought to a close this most productive decade and confirmed Base's position as one of the most successful and best-loved picture book illustrators in the world.

Graeme Base has continued to create books into the 2000's in a career spanning over forty years and thirty titles, with China now opening up as a massive new market for his work, but nothing can compare with this amazing early period, 1986 - 1996.

A decade to remember.


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