Gray Malin’s Book Signing at Google’s Pop-Up in NYC

by Chris Silver Smith

I happened to attend Gray Malin‘s book signing at Google’s Pop-Up store in New York City’s Flatiron district last week. He is a rising fine art photographer who is particularly known for pristine, bright aerial photos, and he was promoting his new book, Escape. Having this art event hosted at Google’s little shop might have seemed apropos, since many assume that his photos must have been made with the help of drones, or that they are digitally manipulated to the stunning brightness they display. But, this isn’t the case.

ESCAPE - book by Gray Malin

ESCAPE – book by Gray Malin

I was visiting Manhattan while attending the annual SMX East conference where I spoke on leveraging social media for the benefit for search engine rankings, and I also took the opportunity to check out Google’s trendy little popup store. As I describe in my article about the store, Google seems to be seeking to entertain visitors and to enchant them with their displays and demos at the location. For instance, one wall had a number of reproductions of famous pieces of art hung on it, and signs invited one to use the latest Pixel phone to identify them via invoking Google Assistant.

Malin Gray book signing, Google Popup Store, Flatiron District, New York

Malin Gray book signing, Google Popup Store, Flatiron District, New York

In this context, Malin’s book signing fit in very well. There’s something about Malin’s photos that seem to be a spiritual match for Google’s overall design aesthetic, anyway. Google’s design hallmarks of playfulness coupled with the primary colors of its logo and their frequent use of white space seem to be very similar to the photos in Malin’s new book, which tend to have dominate pastel colors, and/or primary colors, and also frequently a lot of white space. In fact, Malin’s photos convey a sense of serenity through slight over-exposure in many instances, and higher contrast, rendering them lighter, and with the remaining colors more saturated.

Gray Malin shows his new book, Escape.

Gray Malin shows his new book, Escape.

Malin’s works are also undeniably playful to a degree, what with focusing on the aerial views of scenes that are much less common than views from the ground. I’m quite reminded of the almost-voyeuristic novelty from back when the satellite photos of places where introduced to Google Maps.

Byron Bay by Gray Malin, Escape

Byron Bay by Gray Malin, Escape

Purchase Gray Malin's Escape book #googlepopup

Purchase Gray Malin’s Escape book #googlepopup

Google’s mix of introducing its new tech and combining that with events and work involving cool artists is brilliant, and obviously engineered to amp-up the buzz around their offerings. But, this is brilliant on the part of Malin as well (and his publisher, Abrams Books, no doubt) — he majored in Marketing and business savviness has clearly informed much of his rise to stardom. He has partnered with hotel chains, Disney, shoe brands, and others in creating art. His recent social media posts even feature endorsements of luggage.

Gray Malin should likely be described as a contemporary successor to the artist, Jeff Koons, who is known for combining Pop Art and savvy merchandising.

 

Gray Malin Escape Sunglasses

Gray Malin Escape Sunglasses

The art event was fun. For those of us who had signed-up and stood in line early, there was a big group photo of us sporting the “Escape” sunglasses that were designed to coordinate with the book, and Malin was at the center. (He said he’d use the photo to post on social media, but the pic apparently later hit the cutting-room floor since he did not subsequently post it.) The sunglasses with the book’s title, “Escape”, printed across the lenses, were quite cute, and were likely intended to be ephemeral, but I would guess that they will also become a highly-valued little collectible since I do not see them offered for sale. Malin has apparently supplied similar coordinated sunglasses at at least one of his previous launch events.

Chris Silver Smith and Gray Malin, Google Pop-Up Store, NYC, 2017

Chris Silver Smith and Gray Malin, Google Pop-Up Store, NYC, 2017

Google served complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres for official attendees, and I must say the nibbles were quite delicious.

There were a number of Gray Malin fans present, and they were very delighted to meet the artist that night.

Book signing for Gray Malin at Google Popup Store, Flatiron, Manhattan, 2017

Book signing for Gray Malin at Google Popup Store, Flatiron, Manhattan, 2017

Malin remarked that it was funny that I had come all the way to New York for his book signing, since he is now also based in Dallas like I am. I did not mention that half the interest for me was the Google Pop-Up, and Google sadly did not put one in Dallas.

The book is a very beautiful piece, and very aptly named. It definitely makes for a great coffee table book.

Chris Silver Smith

Chris Silver Smith



 
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