Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Not many people know this. But not many people know about artists' books and even if they do, not so many people know that they can go to public institutions, museums, university and other libraries who have such things in their collections and ASK TO SEE THEM!

If you're a fan of contemporary art, you can see, up close, examples from the hand of super-famous artists like Matisse - his magnificent livre d'artiste Jazz for instance, a copy of which is the Victoria & Albert Museum Library - and also from not-so-famous ones like, ahem, me. By the way, the V&A Library has quite a few bookworks of mine and gave me an exhibition in 1990.

Public collections are exactly that: open to the public. They may have different rules for accessing items, but nothing off-putting. The brilliant British Library in London, for example, asks that you register for a reader's card if you want to consult the Library - not a problem! Go and check out work of mine (quite a lot of it) in their collections, including recent acquisitions described at that link.


Monday, January 14, 2019

I'D RATHER BE A MASOCHIST...

Still some air left in the trumpet so here's something more or less completely different. I'd Rather Be a Masochist Than An Analyst. 1988. One-of-a-kind bookwork.

If you're a visual artist, what's your reply if someone asks you to describe your style? I have as much trouble answering that question as I've had with saying what my age is. The truthful reply to both questions is: it varies.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

QUANTUM LEAPING

You might not see my Quantum Leap as a book and I wouldn't blame you. Art objects in the genre Artists’ Books can have all kinds of odd characteristics which make them unsuitable for bookshelves. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France has categories such as livre d'artiste, livre-objet, livre de peintre etc. to describe the variety of artist-made book-like things which grace their special collections. These un-bookish expensive artefacts are stored away, unless visitors specifically ask to see them, because if they were constantly handled they would gradually disintegrate. So, of course, would paintings, drawings, sculpture etc. in museums if they were daily caressed by the crowds.

If they consider the definition of ‘book’ to mean what it familiarly does, some people see the price of certain artists’ books as exorbitant. The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. bought my one-of-a-kind Quantum Leap for $5000 in 1990. Some people would say “They paid that for a book?” Yet if it was not classed as 'book' but simply as 'art' then the price would seem to them normal, or even low. Perception, context!

As a painter/printmaker/writer/builder the artist’s book genre was a way to bring together my interests and skills so I started NdA Press in 1974. It’s a 'press' only in the loosest sense and an etching press is my only printing equipment. Visual content is my principal focus. The bookworks I’ve made are either very small editions or consist of just one copy. Text is usually brief and my own but occasionally by others.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

MOZART, MATISSE, BLANCHE ET MOI

Trumpeting for today. Another artist's book: Mozart, Matisse, Blanche et Moi. Drypoints, 32 pages.
Below are a couple of the images.

Drypoint is an intaglio printmaking technique. The difference between a drypoint, an engraving and an etching (all three of which are intaglio) is that lines drawn on a metal plate with a drypoint needle don't break the surface very deeply. The tool cuts a rather jagged furrow which, when filled with oily printing ink, produces a furry, shadowy line. An engraving is drawn with a much harder, chisel-like tool (burin) which cuts a deep groove in the metal. When inked and printed, engraved lines have a sharp, precise look. Etching, which relies on acid biting unprotected areas of a metal plate, can achieve a wide variety of effects in line and tone according to the length of time in the acid bath and other factors.





TRUMPETING BEGINS: For a Song

Okay, trumpet blowing in the wind. For a start, I'll post a daily selection of some of my artist's books.
 Here's For A Song seven poems and etchings.








Monday, January 07, 2019

TO BLOW OR NOT TO BLOW?

When is the right time to blow one's own trumpet, loud enough to reach the ears one would like to reach? You know what I mean.

If, as a child and later on as well, you often felt you weren't heard, a plaintive desire to be heard persists. But you learn how to be quietly modest (or comically boastful) about your achievements.

Time to beat the drum?

Sunday, January 06, 2019

CATEGORIES. NOT

Categories. I hate categories. But to function efficiently, successfully, our society demands that you define your category.

Who goes there?
Me. Moi. Io. Eu. Ya......
What category is that?
I don't want to define it.

Then you can't expect to be given the kind of recognition you're asking for. You have to be a product, a brand. You have to fit into a slot. 


I want to redesign my website completely. Built it myself in 2002 and I tweak it now and then but I think It's got too many doors leading to other doors.

Would any of you like to take a slow virtual walk through it and tell me if you agree it's overloaded?