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