5 books to help you see like an artist, by Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall*

A literary guide for the visually curious, from semiotics to color theory (don’t be intimidated).


Document’s contributors are compiling reading lists with a twist. We’re asking writers, authors, artists, scholars for their old favorites and anticipated releases.

Not many are fortunate to be called protégé of Virgil Abloh, but Samuel Ross isn’t just fortunate—he’s talented. The British designer and creative powerhouse cut his teeth devising creative solutions for Hood By Air and YEEZY before starting his own brand A-Cold-Wall* in 2015. Since then, the Brixton-born designer has collaborated with Nike, Kanye West, Takashi Murakami, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Daniel Arsham, and Oakley, whilst also having been nominated for an LVMH Prize, an ANDAM Prize, and making this year’s 30 under 30 lists by Forbes.

Ross’s literary preferences mirror his creative trajectory, his own work heavily influenced by the works of legends like Ai Weiwei, John Berger, and Sondra Perry. Through his reading list, you get a better idea of how his creative narrative started and evolved through classics.

Ways of Seeing by John Berger
A classic, often revisited.

Sondra Perry: Typhoon Coming On anthology edited by Amira Gad
Groundbreaking work—well informed on POC experience within Digital space. Unprecedented collation of new wave thoughts, channels of observation, and critic thought.

Humanity by Ai Weiwei
A short read, a reminder of what is truly important and happening in real-time.

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers
One of my favourite artists, the topic is quite obvious, the analytic approach to deciphering colour theory is informative and digs into the psychology of.

This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics by Sean Hall
I first came across this book whilst studying, a great introduction.

A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions by Arthur Jafa
A master’s work—the sheer dimensions and weight of the book render the depth and intensity of its context.

Written by Madeleine Holth for Document Journal

5 books to help you see like an artist, by Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall*

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