Tall City, Wide Country

A Book to Read Forward and Backward

Seymour Chwast | The Viking Press 1983

If Tall City, Wide Country just appeared in my local bookstore, I would snatch it up in a New York minute—for two reasons—brilliant concept, brilliant illustrations. It has every quality of the books I like that are occasionally being produced today. Only thing is it was produced in 1983! It happens to have been created by the renowned Seymour Chwast and Push Pin Studios. Why it isn’t in print today is another example of what’s confounds me about publishing, (probably Seymour as well).

This book has it all. Scale, perspective, color, wild animals, dogs, buildings, nature, streets, cars, airplanes, farmers, upper east-siders, clowns and two curious kids. Every spread is full of out-of-whack juxtaposed elements in a way that is classic Chwast—and resoundingly playful. I’m pretty sure these illustrations were created laboriously with green ink line drawings colored with hand-cut Cello-Tac (colored film). They feel every bit as graphic and contemporary as anything done today. No mistake that they came from the mind and hand of a man that loves to draw.

As this book is hard to find new today, I am posting it in its entirety in hopes that Seymour doesn’t mind. I want to share it with creators and consumers as a book to aspire to. Reprint, reprint!

9 Responses to “Tall City, Wide Country”

  • Deb Miner says:

    Love it. Thanks for posting–so great to see the whole thing.

  • great post. great book. he did an album, barefoot jimmy i believe, back then i was checking out the other day. still fresh, though i much prefer this palette as opposed to the pastel phase he went through

  • Mary Zisk says:

    Cello-tak? Wow, I forgot about that stuff. But do you think he really used it for this. I would love to know what his medium was.

  • Ang says:

    gotta love those cows!

  • Patricia says:

    It’s a beauty! I was awake in 1983, how did I miss this? Do you think if we started a Facebook campaign they’d reissue it? ;

  • Jessie says:

    I love this book, and so do my kids. I just came across this web site because I want to buy a few copies to give as gifts. I got my signed copy with a bunch of other great Chwast and Chwast’s family’s books in a charity auction.

  • Hi Craig,

    Good news! Creative Editions will be publishing a new edition of TALL CITY, WIDE COUNTRY in March, 2013.

    With all best wishes,

    Anna Erickson
    The Creative Company

    • Craig says:

      Hi Anna, I am thrilled for you and Seymour! You are bringing back an extraordinary book for all to enjoy. Congrats to all of you!

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