Beautiful books, beautiful concept. Disbursing seeds like nature did 4 billion years ago. Read all about it in the Orion article ‘Books of Ice’ (Sculptures by Basia Irland. Text by Kathleen Dean Moore.)
“My art is inspired by the death of the printed word. Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century. As a society we’re shifting away from print consumption and heading straight towards full digital lives. My sculptures are products of their environment —both literally and figuratively. As often as I can, I use local newspapers to add authenticity, and the form the sculpture takes is a reflection of the personal connection I feel to that particular city.”Nick Georgiou
If you are an admirer of this artist’s work, as I am, you will enjoy watching the videos embedded here.
“My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.”
North Carolina, U.S. artist, Grace White, makes miniatures for scale models to be looked at, admired and gently played with. The tiny replicas are all so charming, but the little books stole my heart.
“I’ve learned about historic book structures and styles from colleagues who are book conservators (I myself am a paper conservator in a library), and those beautiful old books are what I wanted to duplicate for my historic miniature scenes. And although I love miniature books (real ones that open and have pages), I dislike the way they look in dollhouse scenes because they won’t stay closed, and so they tend to look awkward. So my books came about because I wanted books that would look realistic and beautiful and old, but that wouldn’t draw attention to themselves by behaving inappropriately.”
Images and quotes used with the permission of the artist. You can see more of her miniature books and the furniture that they fit into, here on her Flickr photostream.
Many of the altered book artists that I have featured on this blog use old books, often otherwise destined for landfills or recycle plants. The artists interpret their form and content to create new art, building on past ideas. American artist Robert The, on the other hand often creates his work from new, still readable books.
Robert The has done a series of carvings of guns from books and I was delighted to read the reaction of Johnathan Lethem when he was given one such sculpture of one of his books, appropriately named Gun. In the extensive and fascinating The Ecstasy of Influence: a Plagiarism, he writes:
“A few years ago someone brought me a strange gift, purchased at MoMA’s downtown design store: a copy of my own first novel, Gun, With Occasional Music, expertly cut into the contours of a pistol. The object was the work of Robert The, an artist whose specialty is the reincarnation of everyday materials. I regard my first book as an old friend, one who never fails to remind me of the spirit with which I entered into this game of art and commerce—that to be allowed to insert the materials of my imagination onto the shelves of bookstores and into the minds of readers (if only a handful) was a wild privilege. I was paid $6,000 for three years of writing, but at the time I’d have happily published the results for nothing. Now my old friend had come home in a new form, one I was unlikely to have imagined for it myself. The gun-book wasn’t readable, exactly, but I couldn’t take offense at that. The fertile spirit of stray connection this appropriated object conveyed back to me—the strange beauty of its second use—was a reward for being a published writer I could never have fathomed in advance. And the world makes room for both my novel and Robert The’s gun-book. There’s no need to choose between the two. “
I was unable to find a photograph of the carved Gun, but below is an example of one of Robert The’s gun sculptures.
“Collecting bits and pieces from my travels around the world and assembling them into a fine art collection of Curios, is my passion. I have an eye for collecting vintage items to retell stories of the past, bring new life and preserving memories. Each piece that I design includes a mixture of the discarded, and forgotten ordinary moments in everyday life. As of late I have had an obsession with restoring and creating pieces of art with antique books that have been discarded.”
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