My Life is a Book

roadbook, 2015
a selection of artist books

Who doesn’t love a book? How great to lose yourself in the inner world of an author.Turning the pages and revealing previously unknown thoughts and dreams.Turning more pages and finding surprises, unexpected emotions, unimaginable plot twists. Such pleasure also in the tender physicality in holding a book, in finding the corner of the delicate page, leafing over trying not to fold or tear. But this tiny physical movement is all in service of the thoughts being formed. A book is a journey for the reader as well as the writer. We are connected with someone else’s experience and therefore connected in a new way with our own experience.

Alphabetland, 2001

Art is full of seductive surfaces, enticing details, intriguing techniques — but you mustn’t touch! However the appeal of a book is that it asks to be held, touched, for its pages to be turned for its ‘skin’ to be peeled back and to look under its knickers. Not really surprising then that artists are drawn to the book as a form of expression.

il benzinaio, 1992

Art is full of seductive surfaces, enticing details, intriguing techniques — but you mustn’t touch! However the appeal of a book is that it asks to be held, touched, for its pages to be turned for its ‘skin’ to be peeled back and to look under its knickers. Not really surprising then that artists are drawn to the book as a form of expression.

Coney Island, 2002

The STORY
 And who doesn’t love a good story. Not necessarily talking about scope and grandeur of a Tolstoy novel. But maybe just the weird occurrences of everyday life, soon forgotten but sometimes narrated to friend or lover, maybe even entered in a diary. These insignificant fragments are the stuff of life. Are they connected, do they add up to a tale of grand wealth and power? Maybe not, but they are my life.

A trip to the supermarket
 A holiday trip
 A visit to the fun fair
 Visiting my parents in Florida
 A walk in the country
 Getting robbed in while driving a taxi cab in New York.

Tales of New York, 1998

Maybe not earth shattering events, but when lodged within an artists book they have resonance and seem like the stuff of personal myth.

The BOOK
 And then there are the seductive techniques which make the artists book richer visually than a simple catalogue or ordinary book. The range of approaches are endless, but I have followed my own instincts. I have used cutouts, which coerce the reader into interacting and reveal hidden threads of story beneath. The popups, which hint at a third dimension. Diverse printing techniques — screenprint, monotypes, digital print, hand colouring, lithography. So many approaches are possible, many more than I myself have explored. And then there are the sculptural elements. This is a great pleasure to me as a sculptor. The tactile physicality of the production is an added satisfaction. The cover might have a small bronze sculpture inset, or a supermarket trolley embedded in it. The paper will be robust, textured, and rich. And the colours — none of that simple offset reproduction. No, it will be hand printed and hand bound, giving just that extra sense of an occasion.
 It is simply the best medium an artist could choose to work in!

Read The Story of a Family Man online here.
 Read more about all of these books and more here.

Jeff and Mabel Hit the Road, 2009
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