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Oblong Books' storefront to display monthly murals


MILLERTON — Downtown Millerton has an artistic flair this month thanks to the first in an expected series of mural displays in the store window of Oblong Books.

Michelle Charles, manager of Oblong Junior, said the store will have a children’s book artist design the mural once a month at the storefront on Main Street.

"They will be creating a 3-D display out of something that traditionally would have been a 2-D medium," Charles said. "Basically we’re interested in seeing what they would come up with. We have quite a few different people booked, a lot of them are local because it does involve coming back and forth a few times. So often I feel like children's authors and illustrators don’t get their due. It felt like a great way to give attention to people who deserve it and it was an unusual proposition. We’re trying to bring flat picture books to life and the response has been unbelievable."

Carl Chaiet, illustrator of "Man’s First Word," "Being Ernest" and "Could Have Been a Rose," designed the first mural in the series, which included characters and buildings from the books written with his wife, Lynn Kearcher.

"It was my wife’s and Michelle’s idea," Chaiet said. "It was different for me because all of my stuff is illustrations and now they’re real. To create something three dimensional that distorts the avenues of perspective is an interesting challenge."

Chaiet, who is a Sharon, Conn., resident, said art of all kinds, including paintings and film, influences his work.

"The whole concept for me was ‘Man’s First Word,’ throughout the book I spread in images of silent screen stars," Chaiet said. "Harold Lloyd, W.C. Fields and the Three Stooges are all represented here. I do the paintings first then Lynn does the story afterward. There are also scenes of paintings from Rockwell and Raphael in some of the drawings."

Kearcher has lived in New York City for much of her life and window displays were a major part of the culture.

"You go downtown and talk about who is doing what with windows," Kearcher said. "Oblong has a perfect window display for this. Illustrators are great artists and I think they get underplayed. I think this shows what they can do with their books."

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