AM I PRETTY WHEN I FLY? AN ALBUM OF UPSIDE DOWN DRAWINGS OUT NOW
Photo credit: Scott Kowalchyk
Legendary singer and activist Joan Baez was featured on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” last night, speaking with the host about her new collection of drawings, AM I PRETTY WHEN I FLY? An Album of Upside Down Drawings. Watch the full interview HERE.
Published by Godine (purchase here), this new collection shows another side of Baez: lovingly loose and charming sketches on reoccurring themes such as politics, relationships, women, animals and family. Each section, organized thematically, includes an introductory piece by the artist. Baez approaches her line drawings as exercises in freedom: she begins drawing upside down—often using her non-dominant hand—without any preconceived notion of where the lines might lead her.
Released to critical acclaim, Kirkus praises in a recent starred review, “The pages come alive, taking readers on a pictorial trip through Baez’s life…by gracefully walking a fine line between blunt-force honesty and flights of fancy, the book is satisfying, enjoyable, and rewarding…fans and newcomers alike will appreciate this intimate look into Baez’s unique artistry.”
Baez will hold select book events and signings this spring in celebration of the publication, including April 23 at Los Angeles’ Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (in conversation with Patt Morrison), April 28 at Menlo Park’s Kepler’s Books (in conversation with Angie Coiro), May 6 at Berkeley’s Bay Area Book Festival (in conversation with Greg Sarris) and May 25 at Chicago’s Chicago Humanities Festival/Old Town School of Folk Music (in conversation with Justin Richmond of the Broken Record Podcast).
PRAISE FOR AM I PRETTY WHEN I FLY?
“A book exploding with spontaneity and humor, and a grand tour through the mind of one of the great artists of the twentieth century.”
“Am I Pretty When I Fly? shows me a side of Joan Baez I could not have imagined. It is entertaining, moving, ridiculously funny, insightful, and mysterious.”—Lana Del Rey
“Joan Baez’s book of upside down drawings is moving, subversive, and heartbreaking. Childlike but not childish, full of wonder as well as despair. I loved it. Just like life. Thank you, Joan.”
“Joan Baez is much more than a cultural icon and spiritual/creative godmother to multiple generations of people on this planet. She has repeatedly put herself on the line for peace and justice and for the downtrodden who have nowhere to go. And then there’s that voice—stunning, earth-shattering, loving, reaching in and piercing one’s soul to help us hang on for dear life. And now her artwork and drawings, along with her pointed wit, reach into us again. We know we live in an upside down world, but the human eye, in its every waking moment, is actually taking an upside down picture and turning it right side up on the way to the brain. This book insists we see the world the way it really is. I’ve never seen such a work as this. Wow. Just wow.”—Michael Moore
“These drawings elicit a stunning depth of feeling as they spin off from humor and romp through tenderness, cynicism, anger, heartbreak and—cloaked in silliness—a terrifying peek at current events. She has put down the guitar and reached for a pen and paper without missing a beat.” —Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner
ABOUT JOAN BAEZ
Joan Baez is musical force of nature whose commitment to social activism has never wavered. Starting with her early 1960s recordings, her performances of traditional ballads exerted a powerful attraction on a generation and songs like “House of the Rising Sun” and “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” found their way into the rock vernacular. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 and honored by the Kennedy Center in 2021 among countless other accolades.
At the same time, Baez’s role in the human rights and anti-war movements around the world has earned her place in history, alongside friends and allies, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, the Irish Peace People, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, and others.
Since retiring from active performing in 2019, Baez has focused her formidable talents on painting and drawing. Today, the life and times of Joan Baez are reflected in her “Mischief Makers” series of paintings that immortalize risk-taking visionaries, ranging from Dr. King and Bob Dylan to the Dalai Lama and Patti Smith.
AM I PRETTY WHEN I FLY? BOOK TOUR
April 23—Los Angeles, CA—Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with
April 28—Menlo Park, CA—Kepler’s Books with Angie Coiro
May 6—Berkeley, CA—Bay Area Book Festival with Greg Sarris
May 25—Chicago, IL—Chicago Humanities Festival/Old Town School Of Folk Music with Justin Richmond (of Broken Record Podcast)
JOAN BAEZ INTERVIEWED ON “THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT”
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