It’s no secret that for inspiration I look at a lot of American ephemera. I collect some, but I am also constantly on the lookout for good books to have on hand to refer to for a quick jolt of brilliance. I’ve got books on neon and cigarette packs, enamelled signs and billboards, wheel charts and travel brochures, and on and on. One recent purchase really stands out in my mind—so much so that I felt I needed to mention it here: “Striking Images” – Edited and Designed by Monte Beauchamp. It’s a book of vintage matchbook cover art. There have been other books on the subject, but this one stands out in my mind as having the best, the most unusual, and the most colorful selection of this genre I have ever seen. But what really stands out in my mind is that many of the images are blown up to either full page size—or larger. Monte is also well known as the man behind “Blab!” magazine, a publication that anyone interested in what is current in the Fine Art and Illustration worlds cannot afford to be without. Also worthy of mentioning is that if any of you are going to be in the vicinity of Manhattan (Kansas that is) between the months of August and October you should definitely take in the Blab! Retrospective being held at the Beach Museum of Art.