A new gallery devoted to the work of beloved artist Dr Seuss is attracting lovers of his famous creations from far and wide.
There’s a happy new place at the bottom end of Rokeby Road. It’s not hard to find. Just head north towards the railway station and look for Iconic Art Gallery & Framing, a light-filled space with red-and-white striped hats dangling in the window.
As festive as that might sound, the hats have nothing to do with St Nicholas, Father Christmas or Santa Claus.
It’s a permanent exhibition devoted to the beloved American children’s author Dr Seuss and his iconic artwork, as well as books and merchandise featuring the popular Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Step inside the imaginary world of Dr Seuss – whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel – and you might find the owner, Mary Morrison, talking to her husband, Philip, in rhyme: “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun. But you have to know how!” The response from Philip, the talented craftsman who frames the prints at the studio out back, is good-humoured.
“She talks like that all the time,” he laughs. “I can never understand her.”
It’s not surprising that customers – who have been flocking in since the gallery opened a few months ago – also break into rhyme as they check out the famous limited edition prints straight from their favourite childhood books.
The colourful works, some originally in crayon, some watercolours or acrylic, are surrounded by familiar quotes: “You can find MAGIC wherever you look. Sit back and relax. All you need is a book,” and “why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
The Morrisons have certainly stood out in the short time since they have been welcomed to Subi. They had already made friends with customers of all ages who are also avid fans of the cartoonist who wrote and illustrated 60 children’s books and sold more than 600 million copies during his career, including stints as a political cartoonist and illustrator before he died in 1991.
Philip is thrilled at the gallery’s overwhelming success after moving here from Queensland – where they had a similar gallery in Montville on the Sunshine Coast – to be closer to their son, after COVID.
Dr Seuss, he says, has brought him out of retirement to indulge in his long-time hobby.
“I have always loved Dr Seuss,” he says. “I grew up with the books from a very early age. And have done a lot of research on him.”
Although Iconic is not the only Perth agent for Dr Seuss works, it is the only place where customers can walk away with the framed print on the same day as purchase.
The price for prints starts at $1,100, with the Cat In The Hat being one of the most popular. The Cat That Changed The World has sold out at $9,000, as has Green Eggs & Ham for $8,500.
“They just bring back happy memories of people’s childhoods,” says Philip. “You see people walk in and they are full of smiles just looking at the artwork. Our biggest customers are young married people.
The Morrisons also offer a hanging service and will visit customers’ homes to advise on the best places to put them.
“They are suitable, not just for nurseries, but for any room in the house.” says Philip.
And, as a matter of interest, just who was the Grinch who stole Christmas?
“I don’t know,” says Philip. “But he’s as cuddly as a cactus. And as charming as an eel. A really bad banana with a greasy black peel.”
Iconic Art Gallery & Framing, 83 Rokeby Road, Subiaco.