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Quirky art and books from elsewhere at Amble

David Galletly, Cocoa Pops
David Galletly, Cocoa Pops

Amble Gallery and Books, a little bookstore featuring art from out of town and quirky books on design and art, is less than a year old, but it’s strong identity is a refreshing change from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

The current exhibit, Jaggy Nettles, in its last week (until Sunday, 6/8), is from Scottish artist David Galletly.

Like many of those showing here, Galletly is someone Concetta Barbera knew from when she spent time in Scotland. Barbera was manning the desk when I stopped by and is an owner of Amble. The bookstore/gallery, she said , is a way she stays in touch with her well-loved travels. She’s trying to recapture a little bit of that overseas life right here in Philadelphia.

David Galletly
David Galletly, Plug

Galletly, who is a graphic designer, makes quirky little (maybe 6 x 8 inches) drawings of grids of Rice Krispies or portraits of several Wheatabix or a plug. The drawing titles reflect their subjects–Rice Krispies, Wheatibix, Plug. They are fine-line obsessive takes on the sorts of details no one normally gives a second glance. Their quirky, deadpan approach is engaging, with a slightly challenging I-dare-you-to-love-me edge, and a modesty of intent. The sense of humor–very British–is what keeps them afloat.

An imported book by Arne Bellstorf

The mix of books at Amble is wonderful, perfect for anyone who likes design and art–from local artist Adam Wallacavage‘s book Monster Size Monsters to how-to-do-it design books to zines from the UK. Plus there are silk-screened posters, t-shirts and assorted other items.
Here are a few pictures of some of the things I saw there–

A book on influential comics artist Basil Wolverton.

Running Amok artist zines; like much of what Amble carries, these have Euro origins.

Little Friends
Here’s a silkscreen from Little Friends of Printmaking, a Milwaukee husband and wife team specializing in concert posters. They had an exhibit previously at Amble.

I honestly can’t figure out how the place is staying in business, given how sparse the stock is, but the selection is discerning. I found it all quite charming, and it seemed like a great source for presents.