Book art


I got my first book on my first birthday, one of those plushy plasticky ones that toddlers can chew on. Apparently I nearly had a cesure when I saw it, extending my arms out of their little sockets to grab the precious thing. At which point (and this is my favorite part) my grandfather exclaimed PUT HER ON A NEWS PAPER!

I don’t know if it was that positive reinforcement, the mystery of the knowledge they held, or the countless summer days I spent swallowed by their imaginary worlds they built around me, but the seduction of books stuck. I, my friends, am a booky. If I feel homesick in a new city, I go to the library.

So let’s bring together two of my favorite things: Books + art = book art.
One of the things I like about book art is the automatic conversation to be had between the conceptual and the material.

Books are literally dense with conceptuallity, with ideas.
Books are also objects that made, and that are sometimes crafted, with glues, string, cardboard, material, and paper, but all represent much more. You don’t burn a book. You especially don’t burn a bible. Before the internet, before the telephone and before trains, there were books. Books are parts of the author’s minds, memories and sometimes hearts duplicated and free to be transported to the four corners of the world, like information bombs projecting their shards wherever (or in this case, in whichever mind) they land.

I love the potential and anticipation of an unread fiction book. You know that there is a mystery, a story to be uncovered and subjectively digested by your imagination. Like a friend you have yet to know, first impressions dictate an initial draw. You read the book, get to know it, and sometimes you think about it as you’re apart. If you like it, you might re-read it, catching different details in the story because you’ve since changed. A difference of course is that REAL friends change as well, while book do not. And friends are a little better at hugs.

Nonetheless we live to communicate. The present moment is active, is interraction. Maybe this is why we (or why I) hold books so preciously, because they are fundamentally very human. They help us pass down knowledge to the next generation and to those to come, and broaden our ever growing collective knowledge. For all of these reasons, I consider books wonderful sculptures that unite many other types of art together (writting, illustration, bookbinding).

Anywho, after that brick of a fruitcake, here’s some fluffy frosting: Pictures of the coolest things I found when I googled “book art”.

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan? By photographer Thomas Allen.

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan? By photographer Thomas Allen.

Cut outs from the spines of books. Not sure by who.

Cut outs from the spines of books. Not sure by who.

The 300 page noisebook. Beautifully black and white.

Carved books by Brian Dettmer

Jonathan Callan"The Defrauder" Callan

A book fossil by Jaqueline Rush Lee


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