of_a Dirty Old Man
ECCO house publishing was looking to release a collector’s book set from lowbrow author Charles Bukowski’s three most notable novels. The covers needed to be eye catching and stand out amongst the other titles on the crowded bookshelves. I avoided using Bukowski’s alcoholism as a theme in favor of something unexpected. During his early writing career, his work appeared in Playboy, Hustler, and Penthouse, joining the ranks of modern literary giants. Bukowski’s gritty storytelling often unravels his tumultuous relationships with women, yet this author proves time and time again that, in his own way, he is a hopeless romantic at heart.
For the covers I searched for an abstract way to merge the challenging themes of lust and filth. This project called for a beautifully perverse approach. I wanted to hint at Bukowski’s attraction to women by collaging vintage Playboy centerfolds and referenced the magazine’s slip on the cover. To achieve this I used craft paper and old mailing labels for the book’s dust jacket, which also served to censor the graphic imagery on the cover. Bukowski, amongst other beatnik poets of the time, was known for experimenting with the “cut up technique,” slicing up and rearranging text to form new compositions. As a nod to this approach, I recreated the novel titles out of magazine clippings. These book covers were designed to set the tone of the words that are compiled within.