A visit to the artists’ book collection

As research for the new Summer Show catalogue brief, we were told to go to the Artists’s book collection in the uni library and pick one interesting example. We had to also think about how the book could work as an inspiration for the catalogue. I looked at a few different books. They were all interesting and very unique for sure. The one book that really caught my attention was a book called Tilt: the black flagged streets by Ken Campbell. I was instantly intrigued when I opened the book. The closed book had an interesting cover shape and when I opened it I was surprised to notice that the pages inside where not the same shape as the cover. I really liked that! I don’t think I have seen that in any book before. In addition, I also liked the pages and how they looked and how they were done. They almost had like a magical feel to them. I took pictures of the book and wrote down the name for further research.

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Tilt: the black flagged streets by Ken Campbell

In the library, I started researching more information about Ken Campbell and the book. I found out that it was made in 1988 in an edition of 80. It is quite impressive how he has made 80 of them considering how complicated the process was. Each page has many layers on them. Some parts were letterpressed, some printed with found lino blocks and handmade zinc blocks, and parts had metallic dusting on them. All done by hand. I read that it was important to Ken Campbell to let the processes shape the form f the book through improvisation rather than pre-determine everything. In his own words he aims to…

…“find the form of the book on the bed of the press during its making; while texts, images and procedures find appropriate dramatic weight in the improvised final work.”

I thought that it was quite relevant to the Summer Show catalogue too, because we will riso print it. The registration will always be a bit off, so you ca never know exactly how the final outcome will look before you have made it. It is not a bad thing if instead of trying to fight it, you embrace it and make it part of the design. Also the layering is a common thing between the catalogue and Campbell’s work. I found a lot of examples of books that he has made and they all consist of multiple layers (see below). We will also print different layers on top of each other in different colors.

I also thought that we could take inspiration from the cover of Tilt: the black flagged streets. In class we talked about the catalogue needing and I though it would be a nice idea to fold a different shape sheet of paper abound the spine of the catalogue booklet. It would make the booklet look more interesting and more unique and you could also see a glimpse of the first page behind the cover. This cover concept would also be relatively easy to produce and we could use a different color paper for it. I made a few mockups of it using different cover shapes to see which one would look the best. Personally, I like the last one the best. I think the jagged folding looks strong and stylish.

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