Just because Abbi Jacobson becomes increasingly famed for her role as Abbi Abrams on Broad City doesn’t mean she has any plans to neglect her first love, illustrating. Already the proud author of two coloring books, titled aptly Color This Book: San Francisco and Color This Book: New York, Jacobson’s latest larger scale project is a testament to her growth as a visual artist–not to mention the innovative nature of the concept on which the book is based. With Carry This Book, Jacobson explores the nature of what it means to curate a day-to-day existence in a single purse, backpack, tote, wallet or anything in between.
During an interview with cohort Ilana Glazer at Space 98 in Williamsburg, Jacobson explained her fascination with what people carry around with them throughout the day–the things they feel they can’t leave the house without. Glazer added to this by making an especial note of of the particular lifestyle of those who live in New York, a culture that thrives on constantly being out of one’s apartment and therefore needing to bring, well, a wealth of shit for “on the go” in order to anticipate any unforeseen needs.
The thoroughness with which Jacobson illustrates a total of fifty-three people, both ranging from celebrities to fictional characters to God himself, is no small feat. From the timeless (Marilyn Monroe) to the timely (Donald Trump)–and even to the most random (arguably Billie Jean King)–there are few personality types left unexplored for bag carrying potential.
However, below are what The Opiate considers to be the most creative:
- Marty McFly: Already inventive for the curveball of a pick it is, the character of Marty McFly is also compelling for his backpack contents closely mirroring some of what Patrick Bateman might carry–Huey Lewis and the News tape and JVC video camera included.
- Mario–as in Nintendo Mario: Perhaps most intriguing of all because of the parsimony with which Mario selects his possessions, it’s clear that all a stereotyped Italian needs for life outside the house is a plunger and some mustache wax.
- Lucille Ball: It is somewhat of a surprise that Jacobson would choose Ball herself as a subject instead of her beloved alter ego, Lucy Ricardo, but then, it’s more than likely that Jacobson empathizes with having her TV persona constantly conflated with her true self. As for the imagined essentials in Lucy’s purse, well, it’s only mildly shocking that she was pencil-obsessed.
- Robert Durst: For the man who only needs one thing–a Burp-B-Gone prescription–he can’t even seem to remember that, let alone who he killed last.
- Sigmund Freud: While not necessarily an unexpected choice for inclusion, Jacobson does render him with the most dynamism, featuring hilarious field notes and just enough mentions of cocaine.
Interspersed between each portable interior is not only elaborately designed striped dividers, but also commentary on the art and purpose of carrying in the first place–such as the page featuring what everyone carries with them all the time regardless of who they are: anger, love, goals, dread, emotional baggage, regrets, ambitions, sorrows, hopes, anxiety, dreams and pain.
The way the Egyptians lugged their possessions into death is an essential part of how modern (non-dead) man lives now, always carting around pounds of items like a harness around his neck. Maybe it’s a testament to the fact that humankind is inherently nomadic. At least those of the city-dwelling variety. And that Jacobson is able to convey this through visuals and words as well comedically timed as Broad City itself is proof that this won’t be her last contribution to the book world by any means.