The Purple Book: Sensuality & Symbolism in Contemporary Art & Illustration

If you’re like me and you love a mixture of fashion illustration and portraiture with a twist of abstraction then this is the book for you. I came across it the other day in a store called Berkelouw Books in Paddington after a friend pointed it out. Funnily enough she was initially drawn to it because her favourite colour is purple, but we were both pleasantly surprised by the content. The book includes a collection of poems and short stories from various writers including Christina Rossetti and Edgar Allan Poe. However having been in awe of the illustrations, I accordingly did not pay much attention to the writing.

Some of the artists whose works are shown in the book include Vania Zouravliov, Amilie Hegardt and Tim Hon Hung Lee. In particular my favourite illustrations in the book were done by Laura Laine. Usually in black and white, Laine’s 


Laura Laine illustration

drawings depict haunting yet beautiful women. This is perhaps due to their impossible body positioning and proportions, and dramatized hair. The theme of female sensuality throughout the book is unmistakably empowering rather than demeaning. Personally, I am generally more concerned with the aesthetic appeal of artworks rather than attempting to dissect what the artist intends for them to convey. However, I was fascinated by how these drawings can hold such emotion, and how this can be translated to a viewer with one glance. 

Recently I have been doing some of my own abstract portraiture, painting the faces of strong, beautiful women. I am yet to discover what I find so interesting about painting their faces, but for now I am enjoying the process. In the next couple of weeks I will post some images of my portraits for you to view. 

In the bookstore, the book was $70 which is quite expensive (especially if you’re on a shoestring student budget like me). I have had a look online and if you are keen to buy it there are some websites which sell it for around $50.

Please message me if you liked this article or have some suggestions of similar books I could check out. I love to learn from my readers! 


Sloane Culture


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s