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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paper, Scissors

I like to cut up books. As a bookseller, I see thousands and thousands of "worthless" books that are discarded by their previous owners, schools, and libraries. Many of these books have lovely graphics and artwork that can easily be liberated from their imprisoning bindings with a sharp pair of scissors or exacto knife and re-used as components of a new piece of artwork. I'm particularly interested in old school books and educational materials which often depict a brightly colored world of the nuclear family and rosy future envisioned by technology and the American way of life (if you are white, heterosexual, and middle class, that is). This material easily lends itself to the collage medium which by playful juxtaposition throws into question the worldview and assumptions presented in these books.  Usually I start by sitting down with a pile of books - odd volumes of The Golden Book Encyclopedia from the sixties are particularly fruitful, and start snipping away at images I like.  It's after I have a pile of cut-outs that I move them around on a background and fit them into a composition.  Sometimes I have art brunches with a group of friends and we all sit around after fritatta and scones, cutting up books over cups of coffees.  Lots of surreal art, assemblages, calendars and even poems have arisen from this method.  More art from cut-up books can be seen here.

We are in the middle of a big book purchase - an estate of a woman who had a large and beautifully kept collection of books, with an emphasis on bird and garden books.  It's funny that this buy is happening after my last blog entry about bird and nature books.

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