Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Book Art Extravaganza

Even though books are art in and of themselves, it's become quite the trend to turn this readable art form into something purely aesthetic. (And YA author and reality TV star Lauren Conrad used them for more "practical" purposes, to much controversy.)

Scottish artist Georgia Russell removes and uses the pages of books to create her artistic visions:

Artist: Georgia Russel

Other artists, like Robert The, turn a single book into a carved-out sculpture that doesn't look at all like a book:

Artist: Robert The

While Brian Dettmer carves elaborate scenes into the pages of books:

Artist: Brian Dettmer

There there's photographer Cara Barer who manipulates pages into a book-like sculpture:

Artist: Cara Barer

And yet other artists (Su Blackwell, for one) create pop-up scenes within the pages of a bound book (my personal fave):

Artist: Su Blackwell
Artist: Su Blackwell
Artist: Unknown

Artist: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

These are all versions of book art I had seen before. But just this week, a friend of mine introduced me to a new style of carvings. Specifically those of artist Guy Laramee.

Now, Laramee's unique carvings aren't like the ones by Robert The or Brian Dettmer, where they take a single book and work their magic. Instead, Laramee takes multiple books and carves and paints landscapes along the top edge:

Artist: Guy Laramee

Artist: Guy Laramee
Artist: Guy Laramee

Laramee, naturally, explores the single book art form as well:

Artist: Guy Laramee

Artist: Guy Laramee

But there's something about his pieces that feels very different to me than anything else I've seen before in the book-art family. He takes a man-made book and turns it into something that feels truly of nature, an intriguing dichotomy, I think. But Laramee himself has an even more complex reasoning behind his art, that of the expression of cultural erosion over time, particularly now as the book itself is gaining recognition as a "dying art."

In his Artist Statement he says:
 Cultures emerge, become obsolete, and are replaced by new ones. With the vanishing of cultures, some people are displaced and destroyed. We are currently told that the paper book is bound to die. The library, as a place, is finished. One might ask so what? Do we really believe that “new technologies” will change anything concerning our existential dilemma, our human condition? And even if we could change the content of all the books on earth, would this change anything in relation to the domination of analytical knowledge over intuitive knowledge? What is it in ourselves that insists on grabbing, on casting the flow of experience into concepts?


My work, in 3D as well as in painting, originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation.


So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.

After 30 years of practice, the only thing I still wish my art to do is this: to project us into this thick “cloud of unknowing.”

See Laramee's full Artist's Statement HERE

An interesting concept, no? :)

Be sure to check out his projects on his website, complete with further explanations (and sometimes poetry) about his specific purpose in creating each collection. (My favorite is The Great Wall.)

Artist: Guy Laramee

Friday, September 14, 2012

Typewriters Galore

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap Tap. Zing! Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. 

That is me typing on my typewriter when I was eleven years old.

I'd found it at a garage sale in my development. All I could think was "WANT." So, I rode by bike home, dug up the cash, and hurried back over to buy it. When I got it home, I hooked it up and it didn't work. Then I fiddled--not something a kid should probably do with an old piece of machinery if she actually wants it to ever work again, but somehow after cleaning the ribbon, taking out pieces and putting them right back in, I got the keys to pound out some inked letters on paper. I wrote poems, plays, random prose. I loved that thing. To this day I don't know what happened to it. I remember that it stopped working and I needed to replace a part, but I never did. I think my mom threw it away after that because it was just gone.

Ever since, I have been dying for a "new" typewriter. I was ecstatic when I was at "journalism camp" at Northwestern the summer between my junior and senior year of college, we were required to do type our articles on Smith Coronas. I'll gaze into store windows when an typewriter sits up front until someone literally drags me away. I reblog photos of typewriters whenever possible on Tumblr. I adore them. I don't know what it is.

So, naturally, when Flavorwire posted a great slideslow of fun typewriters that are currently on the market last week, I drooled.I I saved the link for later second and third viewings, and of course, for purchase potential. Then today, another typewriter-related article from The Atlantic was sent to me by a friend, this time discussing more than just regular old typewriter options. This time, it focused on 25-year-old guy who, after finding a typewriter on the side of the street one day, decided to find a why to hook it up to a computer:

Jack Zylkin, an engineer, hooks antique typewriters up to modern computers and tablets to create functioning writing machines -- and then sells them on Etsy. It's almost a perfect storm of hipster obsessions. Vintage? Check. Handmade? Check. iPad? Check. Open source? Check. Et cetera. You might be tempted roll your eyes, but watch this documentary from Etsy's Handmade Portraits series and see if he doesn't convince you that there's something extremely satisfying about merging antique machinery with glossy, networked devices. The video was produced by Jenny Schweitzer, who provides more background on the project here

See the original post HERE

I don't know if I would want one necessarily, though it is pretty damn awesome.

I will have to ponder this further. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Costner Co-writes New Adventure Series for S&S

Today's SHOCKING news: another celebrity has landed a book deal.

This time, Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) has inked an agreement with actor Kevin Costner for a adventure series, according to GalleyCat:
Actor Kevin Costner has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books imprint for an adventure series. It begins with The Explorers Guild, Volume One: Passage to Shambhala in 2014. The book is aimed at a broad group of readers, ranging from “young adult to more mature mystery and adventure enthusiasts.”

Writer and art director Jon Baird (pictured, left) also worked on the project with Costner (middle), which will be illustrated by Rick Ross (middle). Rob Weisbach and Fonda Snyder at Rob Weisbach Creative Management negotiated the deal with publisher Judith Curr. Atria senior editor Sarah Durand and assistant editor Daniel Loedel will edit the book.

Here’s more from the release: “Behind the staid rooms of an old world gentlemen’s club operates a darker, more mysterious organization: The Explorers Guild, a clandestine group of adventurers who seek out the places where light gives way to shadow and reason is usurped by myth … Set against the backdrop of World War I, with Western Civilization spiraling into chaos, the first installment in The Explorers Guild series, A Passage to Shambhala, concerns the Guild’s quest to find Shambhala, the golden city of Buddhist myth. Each member is driven toward the City for a different reason: one believes that finding it will save his brother’s life; another hopes that it will reveal a path to spiritual enlightenment. Some believe the power of the city can be used to restore peace, while others are certain that Shambhala is responsible for bringing mankind to the brink of apocalypse.”

See the original post HERE

While the market seems to be more and more inundated with celeb authors, it's nice to see that Costner chose to co-write his book--and to publicly acknowledge it. What a strange concept for a celeb novelist! And while the plot sounds a little all over the place to me--and with way too broad a targeted audience--I'm somewhat intrigued.

Other celebs with book deals this week? Musician Carlos Santana and actress Jessica Lange.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Say "Happy Roald Dahl Month" with Literery-themed Recipes

I learned today that September is Roald Dahl Month. A bit of a strange coincidence too given how often I've talked about Roald Dahl lately with not only by cubemate, but also with random people coming by to troll the free book shelf, my father, my six-year-old sister, and many others. He just keeps popping up!

And when I saw that the Huffington Post did a post about foods from children's books, it reminded me immediately of Roald Dahl and the crazy cookbooks based on his stories.

I owned both of these cookbooks once upon a time. I'd flip through the pages, giggling at the ridiculousness, but I'll admit that I never once made anything from them.

I kind of wish now that I still had these gems so I could make something with my sisters, yet in the hustle and bustle that is growing up, the books seem to have vanished. At least HuffPo has given me some new literary dishes to give a whirl (and they've thrown in some Roald Dahl-related treats too!):

Harry Potter: Butterbeer

Alice in Wonderland: Jam-filled "Eat Me" Cupcakes

The Hunger Games: Lamb Stew with Dried Plums

James and the Giant Peach: Peach Juice
Oliver Twist: Gruel
 See the complete article and slideshow HERE