What is an artist’s book?
Generally speaking it is a book that is recognised as an independent art work. In other words it is a publication which purpose is to represent conceptual art work in a book format or to document a live exhibition (as stated by the author and book artist Johanna Drucker).
There are no specific rules when creating an artist’s book. The idea of the book is perhaps the most important thing. It can be conveyed straightforwardly or in an abstract way. Artist’s book could be an original piece of art that has no properties of a traditional book, as well as limited edition publications. The contents of such book could be images, text, photographs and sculptural objects or a combination of all the things mentioned. I can name only one distinctive condition – artist’s book should be enjoyed not only by a reader, but also by a spectator.
There are no specific rules when creating an artist’s book. I can name only one distinctive condition – artist’s book should be enjoyed not only by a reader, but also by a spectator.
I am fascinated by book artists who can utilize the structure and visual parts of the book for the purpose of communicating the idea (no matter how simple it is). It gives me great pleasure to examine such a book where all of the details were carefully thought out, as if there was no unnecessary image or word. To be precise, I invite you to research contemporary book artist’s such as Yasutomo Ota, Patrizia Meinert, Zhu Yingchun. They have a unique quality of transforming simple ideas in an elaborate way. To be frank, these examples are determined by my own personal sympathy. There are many more great artist’s books. Everyone who has an interest can find their own books that draw in an inspire to observe the surroundings. It can be as a reminder of our unique daily lives and what it means to enjoy simple things.
Why and how do I create books?
Honestly, I haven’t found a better format, which would help me to express my ideas. You can fit so much inside the book, speak about the things that move you. When I am making a book I act freely, since there is so much space for self-expression. As I fill the pages I can evolve my ideas and further draw in the spectator/reader into the ongoing theme. What brings me joy is that every page can be a separate piece of art and create new meanings when taken out of context.
Speaking about the process, as soon as I have an abstract idea for the book, I try to document everything: I write down every related thought, create schematic sketches, map out my thoughts. I also collect related material, texts and look over other authors works about my selected theme. This kind of research helps me to further develop my ideas and dictates the visual aspects of a book, as well as technical decisions. In my creative practise, I have made many publications that talk about different ideas, but to me every new art work is an extension of a previous one. Each new book shows my evolved outlook of my previous investigations. I suppose it is because I have a habit to go back to my finished projects and re-analyse them – this way I gain new unexpected ideas.
Visually the opportunities are quite broad: illustration, typography, photographs and other graphical elements. The format of the book can also have many choices. You can elevate your idea just by choosing appropriate book format, paper, book-binding method. Broad selection of printing techniques give you a lot of freedom of experimentation. You can combine these techniques, especially when your author’s book is published in small editions. By knowing these possibilities, I can be confident to not constrain myself and use them to fully communicate my idea.
When I made a book “Auto-portrait” I chose a 10 x 15 cm ( 4″ x 6″) format, because I used photos from my personal photo album, where all of the photos were in this exact format. To reveal the idea behind my book “Memory” I used few details from cinema as an inspiration (for example, subtitles or a format of a book that resembles movie screen ratio). Artist’s book “Misinformation” invites the viewer to experience information fog – when you feel uncertain what is real and what is false. To strengthen this idea I chose a specific printing technique (flat digital print and embossed silk-screen) and paper (different opacity paper). Project “CAPTCHA exercises” carries the research of inaccuracy in typography. For this reason the book format is also inaccurate – complicated folds and unusual pages.
Recent project – “Succeed”
My most recent creative project is publication “Succeed”. It is a visual tour around the common and banal concepts of happiness and luck. I was inspired to create this book after spending some time at the gatherings with my peers, were we discussed courter life crisis phenomena in which happiness and luck concepts play a big part. Even though discussions with friends about the everyday existence make me re-think my own life, it also helps me to calm down and except myself as I am.
The book is divided into two separate parts that contrast one another by visualizing the duality of mentioned concepts. One part of the book is made of a continuous folded colour paper (36 x 125 cm or 14 x 49.2 inches ) and another is a separate 40 pages black and white book. Together these parts communicate to the viewer when he/she examines the book and create new visual thoughts by observing and combining images, forms, lines and contrasts. I did not shy away from abstract, intuitive images. I tried to create an emotion that leads the viewer during this visual tour.