Tunnel Book: The Pageantry of the Carousel

 

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Lithograph, watercolor, acrylic. 9.5″ x 10″
May 2015
Tunnel books, arranged to simulate a three-dimensional illusion, originated in the 1700’s and were inspired by stage sets. However, its name has a surprising source. In England this form of book was used to advertise a newly built tunnel under the Thames River. The tunnel itself became a national joke. It had cost more than 500,000 pounds (a considerable amount in the 1800’s) and construction was slow, having been suspended for eight years following the death of six laborers. By the time the tunnel was complete, the openings were no longer large enough to accommodate the carriages, rendering it useless. This absurdity makes the tunnel book particularly apt for my metaphor of the carousel as a reflection of society.
References were combined from: Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, the Running Horse Studio Collection in Irwindale, and Balboa Park in San Diego.

The green version of the tunnel book was displayed at Pressing Matters, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art; 25th Parkside National Small Print Exhibition, University of Wisconsin-Parkside; and the San Diego County Fair.

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