A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy

Gregory O’Brien

Format: Hardback
Availability: No longer in print or in stock
Pages: 184
Published: February 2011
Specs: 24.8cm x 20.0cm
ISBN: 9781869404703

This is the story of a micronaut. Artist, designer and illustrator Graham Percy travelled far and built a career on the closely observed detail. Born in Taranaki in 1938, Percy spent apprentice years in Auckland before moving to London, where with his photographer-partner Mari Mahr he created a workshop-home, a microcosm of the outside world.

Here fellow-venturer Gregory O’Brien presents an account of Graham Percy’s life and art, by way of motorbike and hot-air balloon, through sketches and bookshelves, touching on childhood losses and adult nostalgia. Including some of Percy’s most compelling drawings, A Micronaut in the Wide World showcases his early design work, vivid children’s book illustration and thriving mature art. The drawings reveal Percy’s passion for the small and hand-drawn; convey quirky remembered and imagined histories; and feature a cast of curious characters, from storks and trainee running targets to Commedia dell’Arte characters and illustrious composers.

In its vivid, exuberant detail — alphabets and elephants, red lettuces and homesick kiwi, the Hungarian navy and the starry skies of the southern hemisphere — A Micronaut in the Wide World is a stimulating rediscovery of a remarkable artist.


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A Micronaut in the Wide World is a little gem: a telescope fixed intently on the singular, driving preoccupations of a wonderful artist’s working life. Inspirational. — Kate De Goldi

The drawings in the book and in the exhibition are filled with a love of humanity and rich humour. - Pete Morris, SunLive

In A Micronaut in the Wide World O’Brien uses Percy’s Le Corbusier-esque townhouse in Wimbledon and its contents as a metaphor for Percy’s immersive love of building worlds within worlds, of exploring life’s minute details. - Jamie Hanton, Landfall Review