About My Book Art

As a bookworm and writer who became a collage artist relatively early on in life, it was only a matter of time before I got onto book art. I discovered the form around the time I discovered both zines and sequential comics, so it was likely these new experimentations with words and images that set me on the path.

I made my first book art piece in 2012 in the form of a tiny Moleskine journal I received as a giveaway, the structure of which I initially “outlined” through a series of rubber stamped sets. As I progressed through the pages, I was then tasked with creating some sort of visual picture to go with these sets. Some of the pages also ended up being interactive, including doors and envelopes to open and objects to remove and replace. This became “Surrealist Journal #1 – Trouble Comes in 3s.”

This was followed by “Surrealist Journal #2 – The Neurotic’s Abecedary,” inspired by a small notebook I found with long horizontal pages. Here the task was to simply collage each double-page spread with a visual display that would match a word starting with each alphabet letter. The following year, “The Scrapbook of Dreams” came along, inspired by a found notebook of blank comic book panels. (See “ABOUT THE SCRAPBOOK OF DREAMS” for more information.) This book sold 100 copies, and has been placed in the UW Suzzallo Library’s Special Collections Department under book art. The next few book art pieces were also inspired by found materials, though the pages for “Lacunae” were deliberately sought out as an appropriate base for a redacted book art form.

In 2020, I discovered mail art. The small size and letter-based format inspired me to take my previously rather basic zines to the next level. Two new forms of mail art emerged (which I still simply thought of as zines): 1) double-sided abstract patterned backgrounds on which I would then create a not intentionally sequential series of double-page-spread collages, and 2) a concept-driven sequential structure designed around deliberately chosen words and collaged pictures. Sometimes the text would lead the way and sometimes the imagery would, but I gravitated towards not using an illustrative form as much as opening up a dialog between picture and text.

More recently, I’ve been deliberately seeking out existing book art forms to attempt to follow, as well as brainstorming about forms of my own. It now seems clear to me that the various combinations of and possibilities for text, image and form seem virtually infinite.