Gordon Silveria’s Sinister Delights came to our attention in an unusual way. We often find candidates for our Book of the Week by cruising through the Blurb Bookstore, or when a title suddenly jumps onto our bestseller list. But this one began with a random photograph.
Let me explain. Many of us are amateur shutterbugs here at Blurb, and I have a habit of turning my lunch hours into impromptu photo safaris through downtown San Francisco. Back in November, while looking for images of cartoon characters in graffiti and shop windows, I spotted this sculpture at the Academy of Art University’s gallery space:
Fast-forward to December 21. I was organizing photos at home when I found this image and began to wonder what exactly it was I’d photographed. There wasn’t much to go on, but luckily the artist’s signature was visible in one of the other works on the wall behind the lamp. So I Googled “Gordon Silveria” and lo and behold, he had a Blurb book!
As it turns out, Mr. Silveria is an instructor in the Academy of Art’s illustration department and he recently received a Masters degree in sculpture. Sinister Delights is his MFA final review portfolio. And it’s fascinating. Often satirical and always disarming, Silveria’s work combines vintage toys, automata, an aggressively cartoonish, instantly recognizable style, and sharply political content. His pieces tackle religion, family, autobiography, and art history in a way that’s bright, confrontational…and more than a little creepy.
That’s intentional. As Silveria notes in the text: “My sculptures subversively explode the trope of childhood as a happy, carefree time full of light and color,” instead exploring the dark side of “paranoia, fear and helplessness…living in a world that constantly sheds innocence.” Heady stuff.
It’s always a kick to discover the connections between the books we see everyday and the real world outside of Blurb. And thanks to Sinister Delights, now I know that the sculpture in my photograph is entitled “The Enlightenment of Reverend Phelps.”