I'm Ali, a London based
creator, curator, hoarder
Kuriosas is my portal for
cherishing, celebrating and
archiving oddball artefacts
and vintage graphics I
come across, documenting
unusual people and places,
and musing over visual
culture past and present.
My work as an artist,
illustrator can be found here:
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Studio visit: Jurri Arrak
Lithuanian Children’s Books
Surreal 1970’s Hungarian Book Covers
1960’s psychedelic illustration
East German 1970’s geometry book
Lviv Book Market: Soviet children’s books
1950’s Swedish songbook
Lviv Book Market, Ukraine – Soviet Book Covers
Soviet graphic design
Soviet building postcards
Latvian puppet postcards
East German cat brooches
Soviet pin badges / Tallinn Russian market
1930’s Portugese illustration
1920’s German silent film making book
Schminke Modernist House, Germany
1940’s Jumping Gnome illustration
Soviet Christmas postcards
1960’s Latvian illustration
1950’s interior design article
1915 Czech pig riding postcard
Estonian Abstract Art
1960’s psychedelic poetry books
Romanian puppet postcard
Early 20th century surreal postcards
1970’s czech greetings card
1960’s Japanese plastic dog brooch
Lviv Book Market, Ukraine – More Soviet book covers
Soviet illustration postcards
1960’s psychedelic bib
Picked up these superb and wonderfully Eastern Bloc Christmas postcards in Romania a while back, all dating back to the 1970s.
This festive Brutalist block one is particularly spectacular
Am (almost) final installment about my travels around Finland. After my time in Helsinki and at the Haihatus art residency I featured in my earlier posts, I spent the last part of my trip in Tampere, Finland’s second largest city around 100 miles north of Helsinki, visiting a Finnish artist I’d met called Leena
On a mission to find the Perala museum full of Finnish product design in my recent post, I accidentally but happily stumbled upon the 1952 ‘summer cottage’ of seminal Finnish architect Alvar Aalto called the Experimental House, on the sleepy island of Muuratsalo nestled in forest next to the epic and dreamy Lake Päijänne, the second biggest lake in Finland.
During my time in Finland, scouring charity shops or ‘kirpiis’ I was hoping to find some odd publications to blog about so was thrilled to come across this beautiful children’s book ‘Kurnau ja Kamaluu.’ Typing that into a translation tool expecting to find a gentle children’s title I was alarmed / tickled to find it means ‘Crouching and Screaming.’ Sounds like a lovely soothing tale for bedtime. Anyway, something was surely lost in translation there as the illustrations contained within it are so sweet and charmingly psychedelic.
Printed in 1978 by Sanoma Osakeythio, Helsinki and written by Jaana Lappo, I love the work of it’s illustrator Outi Markkanen (b.1951).
Eye catching retro colour palettes, with bright pinks and yellows – this far out image below is my favourite
I was really bewitched by some of these scenes, especially the friendship with the giant cat which reminded me a bit of the seminal and wonderful Studio Ghibli film My Neighbour Totoro (1988) where a huge rabbit spirit creature befriends a small girl – I am still fixated on a Totoro type creature coming to see me in my dreams one day.
After over two weeks cooped up at our creative hideout in rural Finland we were itching for a daytrip before we headed back to Helsinki. The one feasible daytrip, beyond the miles of forest and lakes that engulfed us, was the unpronounceable city of Jyväskylä. Finnish travel can be super expensive and on a shoestring artist budget, we decided this was the one trip we would do, and could justify it right at the end of our stay. Well timed as by then our cabin fever levels in our tiny town had reached feverish heights.
The day before we planned to go, I happened to glance in the recycling box at our arts residency – and saw a particularly beguiling woman half obscured in a newspaper supplement. Pulling it out I was even more intrigued by this individual, perched by a lake in a dazzling get-up.