I’ve got a couple of the photographs up in the artwork section already, so please have a look and let me know what you think.
Archive for the ‘art’ Category
I managed to shoot 668 photos — it’s simply amazing how differently you approach photography when you’re working with a digital camera (a Panasonic Lumix G1 — not quite officially a digital SLR, but as close as makes no difference) that allows you to take several thousand photographs, compared to having to mentally keep track of how many rolls of film you have to hand.
Anyway, if you click the thumbnail you’ll see the first of the photographs after a dose of heavy manipulation. I’m quite enjoying manipulating a photograph until it’s almost a painting, playing with the lights & shadows to create an impossible Baroque chiaroscuro.
I’ll be adding some more manipulated photographs to the artwork galleries over the next few days.
I was lucky enough to be on a business trip to New York again last week, and I so had the opportunity to visit the Center for Book Arts.
The Center is a great resource — they have a decent-sized Letterpress studio with several proof presses, an equally well-resourced Bindery area, an exhibition space (illustrated here in a photo from their website), and enough space left over for a small shop selling hand-bound chapbooks, broadsides, and exhibition catalogues.
But the main purpose of my visit was to see The Collaged Accordion — an exhibition of Star Black’s large-scale accordion books that merge found texts & photographs and ephemera.
Star’s collaged accordion books are intricately layered with a fine sense of texture and the individual properties of the found images and materials. They combine echoes of Joseph Cornell’s boxes with a sensibility for the subtler textures and possibilities of paper.
I wish I could have spent a lot longer at the Center, but unfortunately I had to fly back to the UK that same day and had far too much to do.
If you get the chance to go to New York then the Center is definitely worth visiting.
As I’ve been working on The Book of the Erinyes I’ve been trying to work out who it’s likely to appeal to.
The problem is that it doesn’t fit comfortably in any one area. It sits between art and craft, between bookbinding and book art, between mainstream and underground. It’s art made in the interstices.
Personally I find interstitial art to be more interesting, but as an artist it makes it very hard to find existing markets in which to promote it.
When you’re trying to sell or promote artwork (or indeed anything) the first thing you need to understand is your potential audience, because this usually dictates how and where you market your artwork. There are many existing routes you can use if your work fits neatly into a genre or discipline, but if your work floats between established definitions then it’s far more difficult.
This chain of thought led me to the Interstitial Arts Foundation, which was founded by a group of literary, visual, musical, and performance artists for the purpose of developing and promoting interstitial art. There’s quite a lot to digest on their website, and I’ve only read a fraction of it so far, but I recommend it as a very interesting collection of ideas.
However I’m still left with the problem of how to get The Book of the Erinyes “out there” — how to raise awareness of it so that I can sell some copies of the limited edition handmade book and of the various other related artwork (I’m planning an unlimited paperback print-on-demand version, and various limited edition postcards, not to mention a free ebook version).
My personal view (and, please, if you have a different view, leave me a comment below) is that The Book of the Erinyes might appeal to two key audiences:
- Book Arts/Bookbinding Arts — a more traditional arts audience, albeit still in a grey area between the more fine-art area of Book Arts & Artist’s Books, and the more craft-orientated area of Bookbinding. And of course it also involves Letterpress printing, which is another separate area!
- Arty & Weird — this is my working name for a sub-cultural strand that seems to cross various boundaries, but can be broadly defined as those people who have an interest in art combined with one or more of the following interests:
- graphic novels (particularly those by people like Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman, and the Hellblazer series),
- goth or alternative music sub-culture,
- films by David Lynch or Terry Gilliam,
- books by the likes of Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, and Jeff VanderMeer.
I promise I’ll try to think of a better name for this imperfectly-defined audience — if one already exists please let me know!
So, having worked out who I think might be interested in The Book of the Erinyes I now have to find ways to reach them.
And this is where you, dear reader, come in. I’m soliciting suggestions and ideas as to how to reach my target audiences. Please leave me a comment below if you have any ideas.
EDIT: Thanks to the Interstitial Arts Foundation for citing & discussing this post.
I’m making very good progress with the Letterpress part of the Book of the Erinyes at the moment — I’m managing to fit in 2 sessions of work at Brighton Independent Printmaking each week, and I’m really on a roll.
Proof prints for chapters 6 and 7 below (click through to see larger versions & leave comments):
I thought I’d share a very short video I put together from some clips of me printing out a page of the Book of the Erinyes.
At some point in the not-too-distant future I’ll put together something a bit better, but in the meantime:
Yesterday I spent the day in London doing a whistle-stop tour of a few exhibitions as background research for the Book of the Erinyes.
Bookbinding at the V&A
First stop was the V&A in South Kensington to see a small display of Fine Bindings for the Man Booker Prize 2009 designed by the Society of Designer Bookbinders.
It’s only a small display (6 books) but it’s well worth seeing these bindings “in the flesh” as they’re great. The display can be found in Room 74 (20th Century section) of the V&A until 21st March 2010, and admission is free.
The binding illustrated here is by Rachel Ward-Sale. More information about all six bindings, their binders, and the techniques & materials used can be found on the Society of Designer Bookbinders website.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption
After the V&A I headed up to Soho to see Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption at the Lazarides Gallery in Greek Street — an exhibition of political comic book and graphic novel work by artists and writers including Dave McKean, Pat Mills, Peter Kuper, Janek Koza, Dan Goldman, and pop culture figures Lightspeed Champion and V V Brown.
I’m particularly fond of Dave McKean’s artwork—especially the magnificent Sandman covers—so it was great to see some of his larger-scale collages close-up. His artwork on display was about the widespread corruption surrounding AIDS relief to villages in China.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption is on until 28th November 2009 at the Lazarides Gallery, Greek Street, London. Admission is free.
One of the elements of the handmade Book of the Erinyes will be the use of marbled paper — sometimes on the outside cover, and sometimes on the endpapers/inside cover.
As with all the parts of the book, I’m determined to make it all myself, so I bought myself a copy of Techniques for Marbleizing Paper by Gabriele Grünebaum.
First I made an alum solution, using 6 teaspoons of Alum in 450ml of water. The alum solution works as a mordant — it fixes the marbling colours onto the surface of the paper. After bringing the solution to the boil then letting it cool, I sponged it liberally onto a number of sheets of paper then left them overnight to dry.
The next day I prepared the marbling size, using 6 teaspoons of Carragheen Moss Powder dissolved in 4 pints of hand-hot water, and left it to cool before starting some experiments, following the patterns in Gabriele Grünebaum’s book.
I decided to use Acrylic Inks — they don’t require any dispersing agent to be added for marbling, and the pigments are strong enough to retain a good strong colour even when spread across the surface of the size. The ones I bought come with pipettes in the lids of the bottles, which made the process even easier.
I was fairly pleased with the results, but I’m obviously going to have to get a lot more practice to control the process.
Just got back from seeing Romilly Saumarez Smith: Bookbindings for Eileen Hogan at the V&A.
It’s a small exhibition, just outside the National Art Library, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Obviously I was on the look-out for inspiration for binding the Book of the Erinyes, and Romilly Saumarez Smith didn’t let me down.
Romilly Saumarez Smith studied book binding and paper conservation at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and went on to become the first female forwarder at Zaehnsdorf’s Bindery (Zaehnsdorf’s Bindery was taken over by Shepherds in 1998 and the bindery now trades under the single name of Sangorski & Sutcliffe.). In the 1990s she began increasingly to use metal in her bindings, and gradually moved to making jewellery.
One of the innovative materials Saumarez Smith uses for binding is pillow ticking (the strong cotton fabric used to cover pillows and mattresses). The ticking is coloured with multi-layered washes of leather dye, backed with Japanese paper and rubbed with beeswax. She also uses dye and wax resist techniques to great effect.
The exhibition at the V&A is on until 2nd August 2009. More details on the V&A website.