As a self-employed artist, I often apply for different grants and opportunities in the hope that financial support will come my way. 2015 was a pleasant year as I had the good fortune to receive a grant from the Jerome Foundation to make an artist book. This included one year of 24-hour access to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, a mentor, and a series of introductory workshops to learn the basics of paper making, letterpress printing, and book binding. The intention of this particular program is to offer artists the resources to create a book, fusing together newly acquired skills with aspects of their own artistic practice.
I must admit that before embarking upon this adventure, I knew very little about the book arts genre. For me, a book was an object, with pages, that contained printed information. I soon found out that the term for such a book is a codex, but that there are many other ways in which a book can manifest itself: a scroll, a box, a print, a sculpture, a t-shirt… the definition of a book for those in this field is merely a “contained narrative”. This gave me a lot to think about over the next few months and after many hours of contemplation, I decided to focus on the element of surprise that books offer us along with the experience they provide.
In the last few years I have become more and more interested in Eastern philosophies, numerology and the spiritual qualities of colour. I have also been experimenting with form and structure, often with paper, which has resulted in numerous origami creations (and a couple of authored books along the way.) So, my goal for this project was to combine all of these elements along with traditional bookmaking skills to create a visually stimulating book that would produce positive energy in the hands of the reader. There was so much to do and very little time!
Nous sommes is a physical manifestation of the spiritual nature of our souls, illustrated through the use of colour, structure, and form. It is a contemplation of life, the game we play; and the universe, the puzzle we all fit into. Just like life itself, my work consists of many layers, each offering an opportunity to participate, to pause, and to ponder.
This work will remain on show until February 19th at The Minnesota Center for Book Arts. I have produced a limited edition of nine books, please feel free to contact me for further information.
Here are some images from the year-long book creation process.