Today I received the proof prints of my new publication “Touring the residual landscape” which is now ready for purchase on Blurb.
Blurb has done a good job again. The print on the creme white uncoated paper imitates the original look of the ink drawings on handmade indian album paper with little specs of plant parts very well, much beyond my expectations. I like the booklet a lot, it’s kind of cool to have it in hands and leaf through the pages.
The layout is very simple, the same as in the original. Only the semi transparent silk kraft paper sheet between the pages is missing. The drawings are scaled to the format of the Blurb book using the maximum width. Those drawings that have been drawn in landscape format with the book turned by 90° are reprinted the same way.
The 41 comic festival takes place at Angouleme these days. Unfortunately Angouleme is located a long way from my place in the South-West of France between Limoges and Bordeaux. I would love to see and talk to some of the artists like Mattias Adolfsson (Mattias inks) and buy of course the one or other signed book copy.
It seems that one of my favorite publishers L’Association is not represented this year.
I am not a fan of those boring comics that do not much else than celebrating violence and killing readers time with stereotype hero stories. I know that the comics or graphic novels that interest me are only a small fraction with a marginal position in the market. Perhaps one even could say that those are not part of the highly commercial comic book market at all.
Monotype techniques are frequently used by these artists and I found many inspiring applications of that versatile technique. Located in Durbuy, in the Belgian Ardennes, the “S” Grand Atelier offers a series of creative workshops for mentally disabled artists and functions as a kind of laboratory. Some interesting publications based on monotyping have been released.
I have begun to read Booktrek: Selected Essays on Artists’ Books since 1972 Paperback – September 30, 2013
by Clive Phillpot (Author) , Lionel Bovier (Editor) , Christophe Cherix (Introduction). It seems that amazon.com will have it only by end of this month. There is a short introduction on artbook.com . I wonder how that copy got into my “local” bookstore so early.
It is a good read so far as I have an interest in artists’ books and the scene as it developed since 1970. After a couple of essays I learned quite a bit about the difficulties to define the genre and the many ways to categorize artists’ books. The history from prestigious limited editions of books with artists illustrations (the early Picasso books published by Kahnweiler for example) to artists books that were made in larger editions at cheap price to reach a broader audience is explained. Often the author refers to Ed Ruscha’s book 26 gasoline stations, which changed the landscape of “bookworks”. Bookworks is a term created by Phillpot to describe better what could be meant with artists’ books which too often still is confused with books in limited editions and illustrated by artists. You can see Clive Phillpot talking on the Amsterdam book fair on the matter (link to youtube video).
Readers get also an idea how museums like the MOMA built their collections and what the position of artists’ books are in the art market. Also a lot of names and events are mentioned which open many paths to follow and to expand the fun of reading.
“Waldspaziergang” was my first attempt in the genre of cheap artist’s books in unlimited edition as print on demand works. The concept of that book was to take a photo with my phone camera 24 times after 25 steps made on my usual way into the woods. In addition to that 2 full circle panoramas and some mushroom images are collected in the book, produced with the most simple means. You might want to take a look at some similar humble recordings of moving images.
I have written a kind of book review on another of my favorite books on art by Kathan Brown,the founder of Crown Point Press: “Know that you are lucky”. I do not say much about the content because I do not want to spoil the experience those will have who go and get that book to read. After I had been half-way through the book I thought “what a beautiful life” and a feeling of gratitude towards the author came up.
There is still a chance to get your signed copy directly at the Crown Point Press bookstore.
Crown point press maintains also an interesting youtube channel from which I picked the video which gives an impression of the magic printmaking has.
At present I read Tracey Emin’s book “My life in a column” which is a reprint of her weekly writing 2005-2009 for the British newspaper “The indepedent”.
For long time I had not much interest and sympathy for the artist and her work. I had the impression that there was a solely on publicity and attention centred egomaniac women at work that would do anything to make it big.
There was a slight change in this opinion when her book “1000 drawings” came out which I saw in my favourite book shop years ago. I did not buy it as it seemed so expensive and the drawings, which are mostly monotype prints, were not yet interesting enough for me. The book disappeared from the table in the shop after a couple of weeks and so did my interest in Tracey Emin, until recently.
Most of these interviews seem to follow the same script or contain similar elements. The interviewers open a couple of drawers to find out how Emin fits into those stereotypes that have been published about her, particularly in connection with her “bed” that comes up again and again. Emin usually escapes from those traps, often with quite witty answers. So I finally ended up on the website with her shop that offers also signed copies of the book in question.
I placed the order and roughly a week or so later the book arrived nicely packed from the UK with a lovely autograph dated 2013. The book itself is light in weight even though medium thick in page count.
Frankly I did not expect too much, but when I started reading I found it amusing and consumed 50-60 pages in one session. It is hard to describe what it is that makes that wild mixture of slapstick, British humour, heartbreaking stories and other things interesting. It is entertaining, light writing, rarely boring and often enough suddenly abysmal serious and touching. I believe these short columns would have made a fantastic web log with uncounted readers waiting each week for the next story.
What I understand better now is that self-centered art is not necessarily selfish or ego-centric. I gained a lot of respect for Tracey Emin as woman artist who is painfully honest and direct in her art that is about questions like : How do we get along with us and our lifes? How do we handle our feelings, our losses, our failures? Tracey Emin has learned or is gifted to debate that with herself in a way that impresses me.
The book certainly has some lengths here and there and not so great passages on alcohol and having no sex, but those topics get more and more out of sight after the first 50-60 pages. I loved the way she talks about the Beckhams and a couple of other people she met. I can imagine how some sort of celebrities will run in panic when she enters a party. But I do not want to say more. Just get that signed copy on the Tracey Emin shop rather than to buy it on Amazon UK, where you can find some far more profound reviews than this one.
My Blurb membership is growing old, a bit at least. The first book order I placed on Blurb.com goes back to August 2008. Blurb always has been a bit slow in development from my point of view, but development takes place and for the better. The book editing software is doing OK, there is PAYPAL integration, there is now an ebook option and you can generate a pdf-file from your book (at a bit of costs though) to name those changes that seem important to me.
End of last year to my surprise I got an invitation for an interview with some of the friendly Blurb staff. I was motivated by a 100$ coupon so I took the chance. Blurb wants to know what tools their customers use to make their Blurb publications. I requested them to keep the entry levels as low as possible, I use a version of photoshop elements to do very basic manipulations on images that are too dark or seem out of color balance. I write my text Microsoft word and that’s it. Then I transfer text and images into the book editing software.
I used the coupon to cover some of the costs for two private books in small square format (7X7 inch). One solely with images taken with the Hipstamatic app and an Iphone 3GS (square pics at the top), and a second one with images taken with a NIKON D90. Both books had the maximum page count of 240 for premium paper and 440 for standard paper,in total both books contain ca. 1000 images. Below you can see image examples. I find the results very satisfying, especially the results from the low tech phone camera.
The resolution of the images is not very high and dose not represent the original resolution as I took the images from the online book preview. What I want to show is that Blurb can print in excellent colors and they can print also difficult images, like the ones with a lot of black. I had taken a picture of a Gothic painting that is shown in a very dark room at the Hotel de Dieu, Beaune (Burgundy). Only some spotlight illuminate the paintings, the room is like a black chamber. I metered the light with the D90 spot meter and took some very nice pictures, which I cannot show here for copyright reasons. Those images were printed very well by Blurb.
I had to ask for a re-print unfortunately of the Hipstamatic book because some pages had some strange,foreign color spots outside of the image area. The reprint was delivered by FEDEX within a week or so. So this order was not 100% perfect, but close to perfect. I could see only very slight differences in print between the original print and the re-print. It seems that the contrast was not always the same, sometimes a bit stronger in the first print and sometimes in the second print, it is really hard to see.