The Rain Man of drawing

A lot of art books we see look nice, sure, but are generally so precious that we tend to thumb through them once before shelving them quasi-permanently. Blackstock’s Collections: The Drawings of an Artistic Savant (a paperback original available now) is our favorite, most recent exception to that rule.

The work of Gregory L. Blackstock, a retired Seattle pot washer, the book collects his obsessive pictorial lists of, well, pretty much everything. (See samples via the link below.)

Blackstock’s taxonomy — The Early Boeing Jet Planes, Monsters of the Past, The Stringed Musical Instruments, and so on — offers the sort of quietly absorbing thrill imparted by, say, those cult-favorite Schott’s Miscellany trivia books.

As savant-syndrome expert Dr. Darold A. Treffert writes in the introduction, “his drawings show the precision of a Swiss watchmaker coupled with the wide-range musings of a philosopher.”

Along with the chipper retro innocence of a mid-century American boy grown old but not quite up.

Blackstock and his singular work are poignant as well as deeply charming — but more the latter, we’re happy to report, than the former.

“>VIEW sample drawings

“>BUY Blackstock’s Collections: The Drawings of an Artistic Savant; 2006, 144 pages.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

The Rain Man of drawing