“Books Are Magic”, and so is Jenny Kroik’s debut edition.


Books Are Magic by Jenny Kroik
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($1200) | 50x40 ($5000)


Didja know that October is National Book Month? Excellent timing, if you ask us—temps are dropping and we’re soon to have the perfect baked-in excuse to bail on plans and stay inside. (Also of note, the National Book Foundation’s slogan for these 31 dedicated bibliophilic days is “fall into a good book”—CUTE.) It’s reading season, y’all, and subsequently the ideal moment to surround yourself with brand new, brilliant art. You’ll want your reading den to reflect your art-wise aesthetic, but of course! And maybe double down on your fave solo indoor diversion at the same time. The newest artist to join our roster can help you with that. Say hello to Jenny Kroik and her debut edition, Books Are Magic.

When she’s not working as a freelance illustrator, teaching as a university art educator, or creating incredible New Yorker covers, Kroik has a keen eye on the world around her. This artist is an enthusiastic and inquisitive observer. Curiosity and an authentic interest in other people and how they play off their surroundings are part of what impel her artwork, and her home base in mega-metropolis NYC makes that sort of exploration easier. The streets of this city provide ample fodder for her to flex her talents, whether afar from a passive point of view or from a direct interactive approach, talking to the people she paints.

Browsing the breadth of her work, you’ll probably pick up on one recurring theme: local book purveyors and the people in them. Books Are Magic is part of an ongoing series inspired by the artist’s appreciation for independent bookstores. Kroik makes a point of visiting as many bookstores around NYC as she can muster, developing a painting of each one in an effort to convey and commemorate their singularity, personality and … well … magic.

If, like Kroik, you’re into cool indie bookstores, the real life Books Are Magic certainly fits the bill. (It’s one of our nearby favorites for sure.) For the basis of this edition, the artist visited the bookstore in Cobble Hill, snapped a few pics of her subject and sketched away, working off her studies for the final painting using gouache on hot press paper. The figure at center is Emma Fusco-Straub, co-owner of Brooklyn’s Books Are Magic, and 20x200 Literary Gallery contributor.

There’s so much delicious character conveyed in Kroik’s depiction of Fusco-Straub’s body language, in the mosaic-like dappled light coming in through the window, in the colorful assemblage of books, each painted with some gesture of individuality. Kroik’s painting is full of her characteristic movement, softness, and unusual sense of depth. Like the invisible buzz of possibilities contained in oh-so many pages, Books Are Magic has an unplaceable vibration worth trying to put your finger on (or at least a frame).

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200

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