Celebrate the smiley face’s impact on art, music, pop and alternative culture with The Sm;)e Book. Showcasing an unprecedented collection of some the world’s most potent visual communicators.
From plastic grocery bags to original emojis to household goods and paraphernalia, the yellow smiley face is an iconic mark of modern culture. A new book funding on Kickstarter celebrates the symbol’s decades-long history as it dives into the eclectic uses that range from fine art to graffiti to Hollywood. In 60 pages, The Sm;)e Book compiles work from 70 artists, including Banksy, the Chapman Brothers, Alicia McCarthy, and James Joyce.
Despite the smiley’s well-known status throughout the mainstream culture, the book is particularly personal to co-creators DB Burkeman and Rich Browd. Burkeman shares with Colossal that his mother was fascinated by the hippie movement and plastered surfaces with smiley face stickers and adorned her clothing with grinning patches and pins. As he grew up and later became a DJ, he noticed the symbol flourishing in the punk and rave scenes as a new kind of countercultural mark. Browd had a similar childhood experience, growing fascinated by the icon in “graffiti, skate graphics, and the Pop Art collection of a wealthy friend’s parents.”
Today, the duo remains enamored with the evolution of the smiley face and its prevalence in seemingly contradictory spaces. “In the history of graphic design, I can think of no other symbol that has ever held such a duality—used simultaneously as both a positive mainstream driver and a counterculture subverter of that very mainstream,” Burkeman writes.
Alex Da Corte, Alex Fuller, Alex Trochut, Alfie Steiner, Alicia McCarthy, Anthony Sarcone, Aurel Schmidt, BANKSY, Carlos Valencia, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Chris Alborano, Cody Hudson, Curtis Kulig, DB Burkeman, Derek Gardner, Destroy All Monsters, Eric Elms, Erik Foss, Greg Bogin, IMBUE, INVADER, James Cauty, James Joyce, Jeremy Deller, KATSU, Mark Flood, Matthew Nichols, Misaki Kawai, Norman Cook (a.k.a. Fatboy Slim), Patrick Rocha, Paul Insect + BÄST, Paul Weston, Philip Gerald, Rachel Maclean, Richard Prince, Rich Browd, Rob Pruitt, Ron English, Sadie Benning, Sayre Gomez, SKULLPHONE, Tyrrell Winston, Wolfgang Tillmans, Yung Jake, and 1UP CREW