A vintage pulp fiction novel comes to life with the help of artist Thomas Allen.
The wildly talented Thomas Allen’s ingenious idea to bring characters from pulp fiction novels to life by setting them free from their respective covers and catapulting them into their new 3-D worlds was partially inspired by a couple of items from his youth that most of our readers of a certain age will be familiar with. The good-old View-Master and classic pop-up books.
According to an interview with Allen in 2007, while he was working on a fellowship he was tasked with re-telling classic mythology using images culled from anatomy books. During this tedious project Allen came across an old pulp fiction paperback and started cutting. The result was one of those “lightbulb” moments whereupon Allen realized that by removing the characters from the cover of the book, they suddenly took on the distinct appearance of a classic “pop-up” book element.
Clearly a perfectionist, Allen prefers to use vintage pulp novels that pre-date the 1970s as the covers were painted giving his cut-out subjects a more “realistic” appearance. When it comes to where he finds his materials Allen is mum on how he tracks the books down and who could blame him as he’s truly tapped into a vein full of nearly endless fuel for his vintage paper ne’er-do-well’s second lives as (almost) living and breathing art. If you pretty much flipped your lid while looking at the images in this post like I did, a large collection of Allen’s photographic catalog is a part of a beautiful book called Thomas Allen: Uncovered. Loads of images follow.
Dig it, daddio.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Girls & guns: Outrageously sexy pulp illustrations from vintage ‘men’s interest’ magazines