Charles Vess’ bookshelves

I was thinking about posting a newspaper article I did about Charles Vess a few years back. Then I discovered that it had the most horrid sort of feature lede imaginable. (In my defense, I can only say that I was so struck by one of his Stardust paintings that I wanted to start off with it. Too bad I did it so poorly.)

So, I’m just going to put up this excerpt about books I spotted on his shelves:

His influences are many and surround him on the sprawling bookshelves of his Abingdon studio. On one shelf, a book of Norman Rockwell art is sandwiched between Aubrey Beardsley, king of 19th- century weirdness, and Bernie Wrightson, king of 20th-century zombie art. On another shelf, Charles Addams sits next to John Singer Sargent.

“They’re my friends,” Vess said of the books. “They help you when you have a problem.”

His friends have more room to spread out than he does. Though he has several rooms in this old Main Street building, his drawing table is sequestered in a small nook and surrounded by shelves.

-Roanoke Times, circa 2003


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