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Badaude's Shakespeare & Company Murals

4074195473_3fe30cf738_m Illustrator Joanna Walsh was inspired by Shakespeare & Co’s energetic and creative atmosphere after attending a launch party at the bookshop. She asked bookshop owner Sylvia Whitman how she could be part of it.
 
"The shop is lined with bookshelves - floor to ceiling in every available space. The only place I could draw was on the stairs which are too narrow to hold even a shelf of Michelin roadmaps. I drew directly onto the wall with pencil and then with permanent markers. I usually work in black and white only, but the gilt paint was an extra touch suggested by Corrinne, the carpenter who was making gilt-edged shelves for the shop whilst I was there.
 
The mural's theme was inspired by the author photos that had been tacked to the wall before I started work. I wanted to make a Trompe d'oeil 'portrait gallery' complete with appropriate frames and wallpaper. Because Shakespeare & Company is an English-language bookshop, and because of its links to the Beat writers, as well as to Joyce, Hemingway and others, the portraits had to be English-language writers who had written about, or lived in Paris. I already knew what most of the writers looked like, except Edith Wharton. I included her because I love the French sections of “The Custom of the Country” and was delighted to find that she looked exactly as I’d hoped: a solid, square-jawed Gibson Girl with a wicked eye.
 
I became interested in how the writers presented themselves to be photographed. I came across lots of photos of Jean Rhys in the pose I used to draw her here, with her chin resting on her folded hands. I wondered whether this was a stock “cute” actress pose (she was an chorus girl, having failed to make it in speaking parts on the English stage due to her heavy Jamaican accent), but it’s very much undermined by the crazy determination of her expression. Djuna Barnes, who was also an illustrator, dresses for the camera and her whole persona is very graphic—as stylized as her writing.
 
Sylvia wanted to include poetry in the mural but we failed to find an appropriate English-language poem about Paris. We went for Joyce’s because his eliptical style is closer to poetry than that of most of the other writers I drew, and because this passage mentions the area of Paris where Shakespeare & Company is located:

    'My Latin quarter hat. God, we simply must dress the character. I want puce gloves. You were a student, weren't you? Of what in the other devil's name? Paysayenn. P. C. N., you know: physiques, chimiques et naturelles. Aha. Eating your groatsworth of mou en civet, fleshpots of Egypt, elbowed by belching cabmen. Just say in the most natural tone: when I was in Paris, boul' Mich', I used to. Yes, used to carry punched tickets to prove an alibi if they arrested you for murder somewhere. Justice. On the night of the seventeenth of February 1904 the prisoner was seen by two witnesses. Other fellow did it: other me. Hat, tie, overcoat, nose. Lui, c'est moi. You seem to have enjoyed yourself.'

Bonapart Paris apartments

Comments

Awesome. So cool,Joanna to be part of such a historical place!

badaude

It is!

Mira Kamdar

Wonderful piece Melissa! Love the Joyce quote.

Thanks but I didn't write this piece!!! :)

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