The alphabet series grew from drawings based on Oscar Wilde's fairytales and the artist's realization that, although aimed at children, dark adult themes lurked beneath the surface. His a-to-z shows various animals, domestic and exotic, inhabiting the letters, some interwoven, some tangential, and some directly forming the shapes. They are wickedly clever and a joy to view. Each letter is a mini tour de force of invention and each more aesthetically beautiful than the last. Hats off to Mann for his dual solution to avoiding xylophone as the option for that pesky X! Finally they are made by the artist as much for adults as for children and to be equally appealing to both. They are, as he says himself, "for the child to grow up with rather than to grow out of."
- James Hanley RHA
Born in 1972 in Dunedin, New Zealand. Educated at the Otago School of Fine Art, NZ. Employed as an animation artist by Vidmark Television, NZ from 1994-1996. In 1997 he moved to Dublin to become a member of the Graphic Studio Dublin. He has worked as a printmaker at Stoney Road Press in Dublin since 2002 and shows in Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
"I enjoy mechanics and the exposed working of the machine. Machines that look like something from the industrial revolution, but poorly designed. It is as if they might have once existed, but didn’t stand the test of time. With the benefit of hindsight they were a ridiculous idea. I am fascinated by them, not so much the workings of them but that they work at all.
Titles are important to me. I enjoy word play and visual puns. I like them to be amusing, not in a humourous sense, but to be engaging and hold the viewer’s interest in a W. Heath Robinson sort of way."