When I found out that Maly Siri was coming out with a book back in 2015, I checked Amazon.ca religiously waiting for it to come in stock. Finally that day came, and I was squealing inside once it arrived. But just who is Maly Siri, you ask? Step right up, my friends, and prepare to be amazed….
Born in 1985, Maly is an artist and illustrator from France who studied graphic design in Lyon before moving to Montreal in the late 2000’s. Known for her comics and for creating “The Muse” for the Naughty Alice fragrance line, she has also become famous for her incredible pin-up sketches. If you like Secrets in Lace (and I know you do), you might recognize her work from the calendar she produced with them featuring pin-up girls wearing their lingerie in 2016.
I have featured other pin-up artists on the blog before, but what I like about Maly is the realism she captures in her drawings. Her pieces remind me of classic works by Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, but are brighter and less harsh than their painted predecessors. Life, joy, fierceness, shock, and even fear exude from the pencil strokes, and though I know I am looking at sketches, I almost feel like I am looking at real photos at times. My photographs can’t do the drawings justice, but I think you can still see why she has become one of my favorite modern artists.
So what will you discover if you find a copy of Maly Siri’s Pin-up Art in your hands? Depends on what you’re looking for. 😉 If you open it from the pink side, a plethora of sweet, innocent lovelies and cheesecake will meet your gaze. Buuuuuut, open it from the black side, and you will find yourself in the clutches of the most daring burlesque dancers, spies, gangsters and vixens in print. Check out the extra recipes and pulp stories she includes, and you might feel like a kid reading Where’s Waldo again; never finding a shortage of things to look at.
Most of the ladies featured are fictional characters, however, real-life models and actresses such as Angelique Noire, Idda Van Munster, Bettie Paige, Bernie Dexter, Dita Von Teese, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Eleanor Powell, Jean Marlow, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Hedy Lamarr, and Josephine Baker all find a beautiful tribute from Maly’s fingertips. I wish she would have drawn Norma Shearer or Yvonne De Carlo for us Canadian fans, but maybe that will come in another volume.
Do have I any complaints about this book? Not really, but at this point, I will throw out my one disclaimer. There are some images that feature bondage scenarios (Bettie Page), near-nudity (burlesque dancers in pasties), and toplessness (the Josephine Baker sketch). If this is imagery you do not want to see, don’t buy this book. This is definitely not a book for children, but if you’re looking for a fun yet classic addition to your pin-up collection, Maly Siri’s Pin-up Art should be on your wishlist.
My book is the original French version, but there is also now an English version available for purchase. For more information on Maly and her work, please check out her own blog and follow her on Facebook.
Always with love,
The Canuck Pin-up