Monday, April 6, 2009

Influences and Inspiration 3: Beautiful Sacrilege

Pre getting into art, I was getting into book making. Nothing too heavy duty (I don't have the patience or precision to be truly accomplished at any craft. It's gotta be loose and messy to work for me!), just some coptic bound journals and other cool little books, and as I researched I kept coming across and getting really excited about altered books. I love books and I love art, what could be better than the marriage of the two? But there was one big problem, when I sat down to begin my first book, I just couldn't do it. Cut up, paint on and otherwise "deface" a book? Horrors! I could not bring myself to make that first mark.

Part of this was a complete lack of faith in my own abilities. I know that altered book artists don't wreck books, they turn them into art, but I felt destructive, not creative. I simply could not see myself as an "artist" whose work was worthy of a book's demise. And the other part was the deep and abiding love I have for books. It is true love, and a good measure of lust. I love the way they smell. I love the way they feel. I find words and paragraphs and entire books that make me positively ache, they are just so good. Deeply satisfying, but never satiated, we have bookcases in every room and Dr. Seuss-like topply piles in corners and on tables, yet my Amazon wish list is still long, long, long. Rip up and draw on one of those sweet, sweet babies? Ouch.

I've only recently started using some book pages in my work, because I have a copy of George Orwell's 1984 that fell apart, literally and completely. And even then...that first page...hurt.

But there are some artists out there doing things so wondrous with books, that even I can't begrudge the volumes that are sacrificed. A few of my absolute favourites (click on the names for more, 'cause you're going to want more. They are so amazing!):

For a book, I can't think of a nobler way to go. *sniff*

(Another link to more awesome altered books.)


  1. i feel your pain! i wrote a similar little post over the weekend regarding books and art. such a beautiful art form! so scared to hurt them!

  2. These truly are magnificent...

    think of it this way...the books are very happy to "get out" and be transformed...since fewer books are made into art than are read...the non-art books dream nothing of being turned into art one day. :)

  3. I love this way of looking at it! Books dreaming of being made into art! Awesome.


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