From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick
In his youth, Brian Selznick lived out some of his fantasies on the fortressed "Island of G.I. Joe," built in the thicket behind his house. He loved Star Wars and old films, including The Wizard of Oz, 1950s science fiction flicks, and monster movies — particularly The Phantom of the Opera and King Kong. Childhood experiments with theatrical makeup inspired one of his future books, The Boy of a Thousand Faces. Today, Selznick still constructs the worlds of his imagination, filling his studio with sculptures, handcrafted puppets, and dioramas.

Selznick attended the Rhode Island School of Design and studied set design at neighboring Brown University. After graduating, he worked at Eeyore's Books for Children, in Manhattan, where his contacts included book editors, picture book artists, authors, and a knowledgeable staff. He wrote and illustrated his first book while working at the store. He received a 2002 Caldecott Honor and was awarded the 2008 Caldecott Medal for his innovative, cinematic The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a 526-page book told in words and pictures — nearly 300 pages of pictures! — that he both authored and illustrated, and which is now being made into a film directed by Martin Scorsese.

This exhibition is organized by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

What's Pictured: (Above) Frindle, 1998, © Brian Selznick