You may have seen John Hendrix's illustrations in Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times or Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine for United Airlines. Hendrix combines his significant skill at crafting a strong drawing with a designer's eye for composition to create visually arresting images that are heavy with significance. He's also a big fan of Civil War history, a fact that informs his forthcoming children's book, John Brown: His Fight For Freedom. The famous abolitionist may seem an odd choice for a young reader, what with the murders and the attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory and all, but Hendrix handles the matter truthfully and with respect for his readers' intelligence. Hendrix also highlights the idealism of a man out of step with his own time, who believed slavery was an abomination in God's eyes, and who was recognized by Thoreau and Emerson as a visionary civil-rights advocate. In honor of John Brown, Hendrix has commandeered the gallery and the front window at Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-6100 or www.subbooks.com) with original illustrations and developmental drawings that show the process of making the book itself. His front window display, a massive open Bible with a chain and padlock atop it and a Bowie knife slicing said chain asunder, is classic Hendrix magic. Nothing could more perfectly represent the two sides of Brown's public character. Hendrix's work is on display daily through Sunday, September 27. On Thursday, September 10, Hendrix celebrates the official release of the book with a reception and signing.
Aug. 10-Sept. 27, 2009