Sunday, July 31, 2016

July: The End of the World is Near!

Color: Muted or pastel
Image: None
Layout: Across the folds or gutters
Paper: Single color
Structure: Codex (pamphlet, multiple section binding, perfect binding, board book, stacked folios, etc.)
Technique: low-tech (typewriter, rubber stamps, stencils, hand lettering, solvent transfers, etc.)
Text: Abstract, non-verbal, gibberish
Adjective: Pessimistic

newspaper on the cover boards with grafitti-like title text
   The book for July is titled The End of the World is Near!. All of the Artist's Ideation Cards design prompts drawn were used, though this artist wasn't keen on using the pessimistic adjective card. Because of that issue, it took some time to come up with the content of this book. In the end, the impending deadline forced a choice, and the reality of creating a book based on all of the mess of lunacy that's happening in the world now and always.. was begun.. and quickly took over the process.

front endpaper and first page
   The background paper, a pen and ink drawing of a black splatter, was the initial jumpstart for the book. This paper painting was found in the artist's paper stash (while cleaning and organizing about 500 sheets of prints, paste-papers, marbled papers, and other decorative papers) just days after the shootings in Texas, Florida, and bombing in Nice, France. It seemed like blood was splattered all over the news, and the horror and tragedy was on the minds of much of the world. This 24 by 20 sheet of white paper with a single splatter of black paint mirrored the metaphorical dried blood all over the news. Like the tragic prophetess Cassandra in Greek mythology, who foresaw the sacking of Troy but was not believed, the world alternately relishes the retelling and yet denies the obvious fore-shadowing of these tragic events.  We constantly hear, what was the reason for such violence? What was the answer to end such tragedy?... The answer seems a static of indecipherable gibberish with fate continuing to repeat itself throughout history, just as the tally marks are repeated across the pages.

second page folio spread
  The paper was cut into four equal sections which were folded into four folios. The folios were assembled and bound as a codex using the drum-leaf method. The abstract nonverbal text is the splatter pattern and the overlay of tally marks in pastel marker that cover each page. Tally marks date back to the Paleolithic era between 25,000 and 35,000 years ago. oh dear.

third folio
   The epitome of pessimism was the prophetess Cassandra in Greek mythology. One of the daughters of King Priam of Troy, Cassandra had been given the gift of prophecy by Apollo. However when she spurned his love, he amended his gift so that no one would believe her revelations, even though she spoke the truth. Eventually the people of Troy put her in prison so they didn't have to hear her constant pessimistic ranting. oh dear.

last page and back endpaper

the back cover, the Obituaries page...

   There's no happy ending to this book.... that's how pessimism works. However, shining light on the shadows of the world helps them to resolve into a less dark place..  creating not just optimism but the beginning of the work to create a positive outcome.

The negative of pessimism is hope. 

 The Artists' Ideation Cards for August are:
Color: Primary
Image: Traced, re-drawn, lifted from outside sources
Layout: Across the folds or gutters
Paper: Neutral
Structure: Historic
Technique: Hand drawn or painted
Text: Process of erasure
Adjectives: formal, transparent, impressionistic

Andrea Z. sent in her book created with the July Ideation cards:

The title of my book is: Dark words / Dunkle Worte.
The main prompts for this book were the categories “pessimistic”, “hand lettering” and “across the fold line”. The latter led to the idea of searching for the same words in German and English that are both pessimistic and dark. When you open the book you see the German word on the right and the English word on the left upside down. Read the English words by turning the book over and starting at the opposite end. Examples of the text are: Blood / Blut; Fall / Sturz; Murder / Mord. I wrote the words across the fold with a brown pen and a child-like handwriting to emphasize that many words trigger bad early memories.
I chose Nideggen paper and stained it with diluted acrylic paint as well as black and sepia ink. It's sewn, cased in, and covered with paste paper. 

The entire book is dark and pessimistic in its appearance, the colors, the content. My husband said although he likes my books, next time I should be more cheerful…

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