Taboo teasers

When was the last time you had a great conversation – out of the blue, intriguing and interesting? This is what Jason Schragger, creative director at Shraga, and Mark Carolan, co-founder of Gallery of Wonderful, pondered, realising that ‘we aren’t as good at talking as we used to be’. Their ruminations led to The Book of Conversations, a tome to get conversational juices flowing. Simply bound in linen with white embossed foil and not a word on the cover, it comprises 120 questions, interpreted by 120 artists, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and other creatives. The questions present ‘a lifetime of ideas and philosophies’, says Carolan, and they range from ‘If you could do one thing again for the first time, what would you do?’ to ‘Should it be illegal to not look after your parents?’. ‘We wanted to allow people to talk about taboos, such as sex, religion, politics and racism. By approaching the subjects from a different angle maybe we can find new solutions.’ The visual treatments are as diverse as the questions. Among Carolan’s favourites are ‘the simplicity of illustrator Max Breuer’s image -a hand-drawn football made of football chants’, ‘the depth and detail’ from Andrew Proctor, who used to work at Aardman Animations, and ‘how personal David Ashford’s piece is’. The brief was deliberately open, with Schragger and Carolan resisting the urge to send suggestions to contributors. ‘Every image surprised us,’ says Carolan. ‘Not one page looks like another. Yet the questions give the book a nice synergy that we are happy with.

‘The Book of Conversations, priced 39.90 euro (£36.60), is on sale at www.bookofconversations.com

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