Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August: Or Not

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

the front cover with the title, Or Not
   The book for August is titled Or Not. As specified by the Artists' Book Ideation cards, the structure is based on an historic book structure known as a palimpsest. Or Not is a palimpsest of last month's book, The End of the World is Near!. On the front cover, the lone image is the tiny red elephant... seen on the cover of End of the World is Near! as the logo of the United States' Republican National Political Party. The remainder of the cover of End of the World..! has been whited out, painted over, and erased to form the new book cover for Or Not.  In the new book, the red elephant symbolizes the mascot of a mythical circus, and is now printed on a bright yellow balloon. As specified by the ABI cards, primary colors were hand painted onto the neutral-colored text block.

first page spread... our own circus collaged from a '60's little Golden Book
 All of the Artist's Book Ideation cards specifications were met... The text was generated by a process of erasure from the the 1960's Little Golden Book, Dr. Dan and the Circus. In addition to hand painting, imagery and text were taken from other sources.. cut from the Dr. Dan and the Circus book and then collaged across the page spread to form the narrative of this modern-day parable.

The Circus poster and the circus workers?
making up the rules...
The narrative is expressed in a formal yet impressionistic manner, as specified by two of the Adjective Cards drawn. The overpainting of the pages gives a transparent quality not only to the actual pages, but to the layers of meaning hidden in the childlike story. As the protagonists begin their circus, they organize and set up a society with rules and laws. In this circus, the rules are: don't ride horses, down swallow fire, don't even think...

everyone has a part
Yet, it's clear that each person is important,

the basics of life in the circus...
and the way to a successful circus is to look, laugh, shout, and make anything.

The best circus ever!
Resulting in the best circus ever... a story that doesn't end but continues...could that mean life everlasting?

the back cover... the trick is successful relationships

   Martyn Lyons states that a palimpsest is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document. The Mirriam-Webster dictionary states that a palimpsest means an old document in which the original writing has been erased and replaced by new writing. It also means many layered, and something which has changed over time and shows evidence of that change.  The early palimpsests were often created as a means to recycle book materials.. saving the time and money of acquiring precious and hard to get velum or papyrus. But sometimes they were created as a means to sanctify non-religious or pagan transcripts.. not by merely burning, but by rewriting holy scripture and words over the offending script. So, that's what this artist did with the pessimistic book The End of the World is Near!... whited it out, covered it up, picked out a few good parts, and rewrote it as the parable of a circus as Or Not.

Artist book Ideation Cards for September:
Color:  Least Favorite
Image: Abstract
Layout: Centered on the Page
Paper: Transparent, Translucent
Structure: Codex: pamphlet, multisection binding, board book, stacked folios, etc.
Technique: High tech: letterpress, printmaking, etc.
Text: Self generated
Adjectives: Scientific or research-based; serious; mystical or spiritual

Andrea Z.  sent in this description of the book she made using July's Artists' Book Ideation cards:

Andrea's August book, Statistics

Winston Churchill once said: "I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself". With statistics we pretend to understand and explain nearly everything. They lead us to believe that they make things more transparent but in reality they mostly prove what the creator wants to people to believe.
I took the prompt "transparency" and the idea that you can find statistics for nearly everything and play with it. The paper is semi-transparent vellum. The last page contains a map of the USA with all fifty states. Each preceding page only contains the states that are relevant for the respective statistic. I picked unusual topics like "states where it is illegal to hunt with a bow shorter than 28 inches (Montana and South Dakota)" or "Top 10 states with the highest rate of summer Olympians per resident in 2016 (Surprise: Rhode Island)"
All drawn Artist's Ideation Cards were used: Primary colors red, yellow and blue on neutral paper, a layout across the gutter, pamphlet (historic) binding, and a transparent process of erasure lifted from outside sources.

Statistics: transparent vellum pages and hand drawn imagery and text...

Thanks Andrea, for that fascinating and funny book! And thanks to Matthew E. for the title to this month's book, Or Not. 

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