Mary Pickford, Queen of the Silent Film Era

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The Porcupine's Quill, Mar 24, 2020 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 200 pages
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At the age of 17, Toronto-born Gladys Louise Smith, known to the world as Mary Pickford, burst onto the silent-film scene. But Pickford was more than just ‘the girl with the curls’. In addition to her acting career—an unequivocal success spanning 52 features—Pickford helped establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the studio United Artists. The first woman to create her own film corporation, she pioneered the roles of the independent actress, film star, producer and distributor.

In Mary Pickford, Queen of the Silent Film Era, wood engraver George A. Walker tells the story of Pickford’s life in a visual, sequential narrative not unlike the silent films of old. Walker’s black-and-white wood engravings recall the monochromatic media of Pickford’s films, and echo the experience of interpreting stories visually.

Mary Pickford, Queen of the Silent Film Era originated as a limited edition of 35 copies hand printed in Walker’s studio in Leslieville, Toronto.


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About the author (2020)

George A. Walker is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist and author whose courses in book arts and printmaking at OCAD University in Toronto, where he is Associate Professor, have been offered continuously since 1985. His artworks are held in collections ranging from the Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York City and he has had over 15 solo exhibitions as well as been included in more than 100 group shows. Among many book projects—both trade and limited edition—Walker has illustrated 2 hand-printed books by internationally acclaimed author Neil Gaiman. Walker also illustrated the first Canadian edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, both published by the Cheshire Cat Press. The Cheshire Cat Press is a partnership between Andy Malcolm and George Walker which continues to publish limited edition books featuring the writing of Lewis Carroll.

George Walker was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 2002 for his contribution to the cultural area of Book Arts. He is also a member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto where he was featured in a solo exhibition of his books and printmaking in the spring of 2019. Walker’s latest book-length project presents the iconic life of Hollywood silent-film star Mary Pickford in a suite of 87 wood engravings.

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