Tuesday, 4 December 2012

English Road Movies

John Bently of Liver and Lights has produced a 4-part series of little handmade books called English Road Movies. Each one contains a poem and wood-cut illustrations about a different journey. To Penge on an old Routemaster, via Bromley Sth by train, via Brixton on the 159 from Streatham Hill and the overnight coach from Buchanan Street, Glasgow to Kings Cross.

Each poem is a heart-warmingly honest and funny portrayal of the romance, nightmares and sheer mundane hell of travel. It is perhaps the most definitive folk tradition of the English to elaborate upon the trials and tribulations of a journey to friends, family and total strangers with a level of cinematic clarity and drama to rival the finest Hollywood screenwriters. Here Bently takes this a step further by promoting his portfolio of travel tales to book form, dedicating them to the paper and ink we all know our own stories likewise deserve.

The books are £12 each. Or if you want something incredibly special you can invest in the whole series shrouded in a hand-painted wooden slipcase in the shape of a Red London Bus for £120, we only have one of these in the shop so no dilly-dallying.

- Jon Lander

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Alien Invasion

Screen Printer and Book Artist Otto recently arrived at Pitfield Street on his gargantuan BMW motorbike loaded with more of his creations.

COOKFOODBOOK a collaboration with Katherina Manolessou is a great alternative food book, bearing no recipes, no information, no soft focus close ups of rows of spice piles and, most importantly, no smiling Nigellas. As with all Otto’s books, it is exquisitely made; designed, screen-printed and bound to perfection.

He also brought in one copy of his fold-out book Alien Invasion (so first one here wins). This book is mind-blowing. When closed it is unusually tall (making it a puzzle to find it a home in our presumptuously sized shelves). It opens out like a butterfly spreading its wings, exponentially doubling its size through three stages of unfolding until it rises to an unbelievable 8 times its original size. Otto often illustrates poems written by others, this case is no exception, except in this instance it is the word of God (intrigued?). It’s bold in scope and awe-inspiring stuff.

COOKFOODBOOK costs £25 and Alien Invasion costs £60. Both are available in the Bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cycle of Violence

This Graphic Novel by Turner-Prize winning artist Grayson Perry was written and published back in 1992. Now, two decades on, it has been re-released as a deluxe hardback edition, with a new foreword by the artist.
The story is of Bradley Gaines, a professional cyclist (no relation to Wiggins!) in the year 2023 who is fighting his inner demons as a result of an abusive childhood. Cycle of Violence is a work of aggressive catharsis; It is impulsive, immediate and deeply personal. 
Grayson Perry, inspired by outsider artists such as Henry Darger, created a work that has the look and feel of Outsider Art; It is crude, but honest. In style, it pays homage to the ornate looping graphics of Aubrey Beardsley, drawing the viewer into the visual carnage with contrasting sensitivity. 
Perry describes reading it again as "a striking encounter with my younger angrier self".  But whilst it may represent a very different moment in his life, it is instantly recognisable as the work of the superstar we know today. It glitters with his trademark humour: that ability to not take himself too seriously, which is all too rare and so so valuable.

Cycle of Violence by Grayson Perry costs £16.50 and is available in the Bookartbookshop now. It is published by Atlas Press.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Two Little Books

A Lifelog of the Platform

This colourful little hand-made book by artist KD Xia is a nugget of understated fun and philosophy. It documents the life of an Underground Platform (Old Street Tube, a stone’s throw from our shop) through photographs taken at the same second each morning – 8:37:01. And so we form a picture of the life of a platform – the people that wait on it, the arrivals, the destinations...

Nestling in the centre of the book is a colour postcard of the platform, a blurred memento of a place that the artist describes as an ‘isolated dreamworld’. Xia ruminates on the meaning of this non-place with no phone signal and the act of photographing it in this digital age where virtually every facet of our life is logged on social networking websites.


We have recently acquired and restocked books by French Canadian comics group Milleputois. My favourite work is the new mini-book Couple by Pascal Girard (pictured above). Only 16 pages long, and entirely wordless, yet each little square page says so much. Each page shows a different scene, with different people, some are obviously couples in the conventional sense, whilst others are merely strangers interacting in some quiet way on the train or in the park – the little glances and shuffles that form our day, yet are totally forgotten a second later. Girard shows us the moments between moments, the tiny sparks of energy that fizzle between people silently all the time.

A Lifelog of the Platform costs just £3 and Couple costs something similar....they are both available in the bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Two Books About East London

B’east Postcard Book

A collection of 48 vivid postcards showing the ‘Best of East’ (hence B’east). Looking through the book makes it very tempting to shut the shop early and take a wander through East London’s streets, looking for all the colourful people, cafe’s, pubs, shops, graffiti, green spaces (on a sunny day), and hidden spots it heralds.

Why not buy this book and send out a postcard to all your favourite people inviting them to meet you at the site photographed for a cream cake, pint of bitter or jellied eel (delete as appropriate). Or alternatively hoard them all to yourself, so you can tack them up above your toaster and gaze longingly at the epitome of cool that is East London (unless you live in East London, in which case that would be ridiculous).

The B’east Postcard Book costs £12.99 and is available in the bookartbookshop now.

I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

This book is heart-warming and hilarious. Less about East London than about one incredible man: a certain Joseph Markovitch.  A photojournalist publication with a difference – the photographer Martin Usborne has given a voice to his unconventional muse.
Joseph Markovitch has lived in East London since he was born on 1st January 1927. Quotes from him on a range of East-London related topics accompany photographs of him in situ around the streets of East London. It’s these words that steal the show – they are laugh out loud funny. Sentences such as ‘Some of the kids used to beat me up – but in a friendly way’ and ‘Hey if a meteor landed in Hoxton Square you think anyone could survive?’

I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ years is by Martin Usborne and is published by Hoxton Mini-Press. It costs £12.50 and is available in the Bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Theater of Nature or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet

We have recently restocked this concertina book by Angela Lorenz first published in 2002. It is a short history of the Cabinet of Curiosity, written as a poem and lavishly illustrated with etchings and watercolours inspired by archive and museum material.

Described on the back cover as a ‘pop-up museum housed in a magic lantern’ If a cabinet of curiosity could morph into a book then this would be its form. The cover mimics the wooden panelling of a display case, central to which is a ‘stained-glass window’ depicting  one of the curiosities (a boy with webbed feet and dog-head knees, curious indeed!).

Lorenz takes us through the rise and fall of the cabinets, collected by Kings and noblemen, wealthy merchants and early scientists (or natural philosophers as they were then known) to entertain visitors and prove their grasp of the world.

Along the way we are provided with beautiful illustrations of unicorns, lobster claw flutes, giant-headed men and two-tailed lizards.

The Theater of Nature or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet costs £25 and is available in the Bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 15 July 2012

4000 SHOTS

4000 Shots by Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade is a hand-sized paperback containing stills from his super-8 film of the same name. Each frame of the film showed a different unknown man from the streets of modern day Buenos Aires. In the book, each frame has become a page, and by flicking through like a flip book, the film can be reanimated in our hands. 

The pictures are close-up, grainy, black and white, and often very blurred. They could have been taken from any era, but somehow they look like they are more from the sixties or seventies than the present day. They look strikingly like photos lifted from the surveillance files of a bygone Latin-American dictatorship. The men look haggard and downtrodden, behind their furrowed brows one can imagine the broiling of a violent insurrection.

The book includes a foreword in English and Portugese and costs £10. It is signed with an embossed 'bite' from the artist.

-Jon Lander

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The wonderful world of Yeon Ock Lee

The artist Yeon Ock Lee has installed this beautifully intricate balsa wood cabinet containing a variety of photography, illustration and inspiration books made from 2000-2011. The two bodies of work within are a series of small books outlining the artist's adventures within that time titled the 'Time of Cicadae' and 'A Place to go to feel the beauty of Nothingness'

Both works expound on the importance of conscious awareness within the present moment, about how life literally is slipping through our fingers at every moment, and thus each moment is significantly precious.

Titles within 'Time of Cicadae' include 'There is no schedule to keep up', 'One Thursday' and 'The importance of the time doing nothing'.

The theme of the 'time of cicadae' relates to how in their 17 years of life, Cicadas only spend 2 weeks above the ground in summer. So for 16 and a bit years of life cicadae are devoted entirely to becoming a real cicada, which in itself only lasts for these final two weeks. Yeon Ock reflects on this as a human through her work, and in turn has treated her own life and work with the same respect.

'Chase Victoria Line' is a book by Yeon Ock that explores the world and life above the victoria line. Mapping the course of the victoria line above ground, Yeon has created geometric limited edition prints of destinations and signs of life that we can now be aware of as we are travelling underneath at dizzying speeds.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Another beautifully hand crafted book for our 10th anniversary celebration- This miniature hatbox contains 3 fold out accordian books with stories and images responding to the question ' What is to be done?'
Each folded by hand and illustrated on one side with narrative on the corresponding side, the hat box explores memories, hats and histories.

-Laura Luck


palindrome |ˈpalinˌdrōm|
a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward, e.g., madam or nurses run.

In celebration of all things that go backwards and forwards with the same consistency, this little black papercut palindrome is a discovery of shape and texture from whichever angle it is viewed from.

-Laura Luck

'Where the seiche sips' is an artist book and a cassette tape created through sound and drawing. In early January this year, Daniel spent 3 days automatic drawing and creating sound loops inspired by an image of a group of people stuck at sea on a rocky outcropping. The result is a composition of surreal sounds and imagery.


-Laura Luck


Nowhere is the first limited edition artist book created by Irene Pineda. 
It is a beautifully hand crafted and paper cut poem that undulates and perforates through the pages of the book.

-Laura Luck

Nowhere explores words existing in our language that have a meaning but not a tangible presence, they are the absences or opposites of elements that surround us and shape our understanding and perception of reality. Words such as silence, emptiness, and zero, could be described as "nothing", and be denied of their existence, yet we feel the need of defining them and give them a place in our vocabulary.
The book tells the story of the place Nowhere where all these non existing things live. It describes each word through typography and a play with a visual representation of their meaning, transforming their abstract nature into concrete concepts.

to see the whole book and other work by the artist 

The Frail and the Whale

Part of our last window exhibition by the cargo collective, 'The Frail and the Whale' is an intricately inked illustrated zine depicting a story of the sea.

-Laura Luck


An A4 publication by Neil Mabbs- a demonstration of the beauty to be found in simplicity. A compilation of different photograms that explore the rotation of a single square of graph paper and a series of different sized squares, overlaid on a shifting texture from fine to coarse.

-Laura Luck

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Observer's Book Of

Andrew Malone has bestowed upon us a breathtaking series of altered books. Some of you may be familiar with the classic Observer’s Book Of series, maybe as a result of rifling through the dustier shelves in shops or at home... or perhaps you are just old.

Each book is a completely unique hand-cut artwork. Malone cuts around the outline of every illustration (unless they are on both sides of a page, in which case one gets dissected in the process).

As a book lover, I find altered books can be so wrong they’re right. To deface a book, perhaps one that is becoming increasingly rare, antiquated and valuable should by all rights be a crime. But when done well, it can be a beautiful act. It takes with one hand and gives with the other; every moment of destruction is at once a moment of creation.

These have been in the glass cabinet for a few weeks now, and the Moths, Eggs and Birds books have already been sold. Horses and Ponies, Butterflies, Dogs and Furniture are still available as I write and are £80 each. 

-Jon Lander

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Flip Books of Scott Blake

One of the first books I bought from the shop before I began working here was the flip book Barcode Ozzy by Scott Blake, it was a birthday gift for my brother (no words, takes 2 seconds to read, just perfect for his pea-sized intellect*). A photo-real image of Ozzy Osbourne zooms out to reveal that it is constructed from thousands of barcodes. I also hazily recall that Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey and possibly Jesus were available. Ah, these were simpler times. Now Elvis, Marilyn, Bruce Lee, Chairman Mao, Andy Warhol, Madonna and Amy Goodman (I’m sorry but I don’t know this person and am going to presume that I’m meant to) have all been turned into barcode flip books. Well except the ever awkward Amy Goodman who has been turned into a QR Code (that square barcode for smart phones).

I have absolutely no idea how Scott Blake makes these, I can only assume that he is a wizard.

And that’s not all. Scott Blake has also made some smaller flip books of a book of matches being lit, a watch revolving through exactly one minute, and – I never knew flip books could be so poignant – the precise moment in which the second plane struck the twin towers.

The barcode flip books cost £7 and the other smaller ones are £3.50. In the case of the 9/11 book, Blake donates a portion of the revenue to relevant charities. They are all available in the shop now.

*this of course is a joke, as he is soon to graduate as a doctor and therefore, we would hope, very clever.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Journey

Over the years we have stocked many titles by the illustrator/graphic designer/print maker Belinda Chen, but this new work is on another plane - It is simply exquisite. Silk-screen printed illustrations transport us into another world where buildings have sunglasses, trees have brains, fish use boats, boats have palm trees, flowers have lifts, islands are bears and cacti wear bow ties.

But it is the way this wordless story has been bound and assembled that transforms this book into something else. Bound as a concertina, and held between two sheets of embossed and die-cut plywood that yields to the touch and curves to fit snugly, invitingly into one’s hand.

The Journey costs £65 and is in a limited edition of 25. It is available in the Bookartbookshop now.
Belinda Chen’s other titles Bel’s Paradoxical World, Crazy World, Trip in Budapest, Faces, Book of Stairs and Awkward  are also available and range from £15 to just £2.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 13 May 2012

It's Okay

It's Okay by Dmitri Antorka-Pieri (click on image to expand and read text)

The artist Dmitri Antorka-Pieri recently brought in a selection of interesting bookworks. Printed on colourful card, Dmitri’s intricate abstract doodles and life affirming poems are beautiful to behold. My undisputed favourite is the fold-out book, It’s Okay (See image). I have already bought my copy and now must decide who to give it to – I think it definitely feels like an object to share.

The pages of the zine-format book, Sleep, exhibit a series of drawings and writing made in a darkened room in the moments before sleep. Text overlaps, drawings unravel and disconnect, and a hazy image of Dmitri’s life forms out of the dozy tangle of lines.

Another fold-out work (I’m not sure if it can be described as a book), Drawing, contains  a series of ink drawings accompanied by a poem that encourages us all to make art and be happy. Well why not?

The books range in price from £2 to £6 and are available in the bookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Neil Mabbs

Another book artist employing the newspaper format as well as the A5 Zine format is Neil Mabbs.
We recently acquired from Neil a fascinating portfolio of 7 different publications that weave together themes of archive, index, sociology, design, and a melancholic sense of loss and the imprint it leaves (I mean this last one in a very literal sense as in the case of Field Studies, a photographic survey of the imprints left by tents in fields). Neil Mabbs is a cultural forager in the vein of Jeremy Deller or Tony Hayward*.

Many of the books draw on the bizarre universe of the charity shop – such as Missing, a survey of jigsaw puzzles, or Loss of Order, in which Mabbs scrupulously documented the contents of bargain bins. The province is his playground in his survey of village notice boards, Ordinary Language Typography, in which he trawls up gems of British society at work with notices such as “Too much grass? Why not use our sheep, they’re perfect Lawnmowers” and “How to detect a cannabis factory”.

Neil Mabbs books range in price from £5 to £10 and are available in the book shop now. 
Missing  was a co-winner in our 10th anniversary book art competition .

*Hayward’s books such as Loving Couples and Indian Rat Traps have been a long-term proud occupant of our shelves.

- Jon Lander

The Comix Reader 3

After writing about a £256 letterpress edition I thought it would be best to point out not all our books are in that price bracket, and decided there could no better contrast than The Comix Reader, a bargain at just one pound sterling. The Comix Reader is a compilation of short comics by an array of contemporary comics writers. 

It is published as a newspaper (full colour, mind you) which not only allows the generous price tag but is perfectly suited to the content: a call to arms against the bland (and corrupt) conventions that permeate our nations newsprint and a salute to the days of the Sunday Funnies, albeit with a more knowing satirical bite; this is comix with an 'x' after all. Each comic is refreshingly different from the next - there is no house style here - but each shares a common taste for the subversive, the experimental, or the angst-ridden that is so often the hallmark of alternative comics.

But most importantly the Comix Reader can be hilarious. I struggled to suppress peals of laughter (resulting in me emitting strangled yelps into the quiet sanctuary of the book shop, probably alarming customers somewhat) at reading Sean Duffield’s comic depicting Alan Sugar on the toilet.

This is the third issue of the Comix Reader. It is edited by Richard Cowdry and the cover is by the very talented Elliot Baggott. It is available from the Bookartbookshop now for £1.

- Jon Lander

Sunday, 22 April 2012



Earlier this month our window display was home to two copies of David W. Speck's letterpress edition of his arrangement of George Brecht's 1961 score TWO EXERCISES.
The books were opened when the shop opened, and then closed when the shop closed, with new pages being displayed each day.
George Brecht (1926 - 2008) was a conceptual artist who became involved in the Fluxus movement in the 1960s and 70s. Influenced by the work of John Cage, and founded by George Macianus, Fluxus crossed over many disciplines, but it was experimental music that became a particular focus for Brecht. Brecht would compose Event Scores, in which the 'musicians' would perform actions such as polishing a violin, or disassembling a flute, rather than playing in the conventional sense. Of course instruments didn't have to be involved at all. One of these Event Score's was TWO EXERCISES,

Consider an object. Call what is not the object other. Add to the object, from the other, another object, to form a new object and a new other. Repeat until there is no more other. [The first exercise.]

49 years later, Speck rearranged the score using C programming language so that it could be performed by a computer, and performed it as such at Poltroon, London in October 2010.
He then went on to create the letterpress hardback edition of the arrangement that is now available in the bookshop.

The book was designed and printed by David and hand bound by Alexandra Czinczel.

Although they are no longer in the window a copy is tucked away in a cabinet and free to view for anyone who is interested. Very limited edition, £256.

More information about TWO EXERCISES can be found at: http://www.rndmao.org/dws

Friday, 23 March 2012


David Charleston
Shed Press Publications, London.

The introduction to this new book of poems reads “you hold in your hands the very first Shed Press Publication.” This emphasis on the tactile is apt for a book that is, in part, all about hands – hand-bound, hand-printed, even the photographs that accompany the poems are originals, chemically developed in their “Dark Shed”. The result is a truly beautiful object.

The poems themselves speak of the loss of sight “Blindness approaches with such clumsy brushstrokes”.  Descriptions of dusk are accompanied by dimly exposed photographs of fields and trees. You get a sense that something is slowly slipping away, that we are being left with “Next-to-nothing”. But for all this loss, it is the little things that we can revel in all the more, as with the line from Charleston's title poem, "the leaf stuck to my wrist like a small fish/ after bringing in an armful of logs.”

We hope to see more publications soon from this promising new Press.

NEXT-TO-NOTHING is in a limited edition of 102 copies, costs £40 and is available in the bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander