Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Events: Workshops, Workshops, Workshops

Mark your calendars JCBA fans, there are a number of workshops coming up. The workshops are great ways to immerse yourself into art, whether you're an aspiring artist, an artistic master, or you're looking for a fun afternoon. They also work as fun date ideas. I went to a Book Arts 101 with my boyfriend, Jack, as a first date. We had a ball. We ended breaking-up (its not a miracle worker,) but I highly recommend it.

Advance Copier Art
On Satuday, March 19th, from 9:30-4:30 pm, Instructor & Fluxus artist Ginny Llyod will be teaching more copier art techniques. This class is appropriate for those who haven't taken the other copier art classes, but for those who have, you will be learning new techniques. The techniques you will learn involve hand-cutting pages, perforated pages & tricks to learn on the computer.

Book Arts 101: Vernal 
On Saturday, March 26th, from 12:30-4 pm & on Thursday, March 31, from 5:30-9 pm, John Cutrone will host another of our popular Book Arts 101 sessions. In this class, you'll get an in-depth view of the book in the collection, then you'll move over to the letterpress studio to print off a cover page. After that, you'll learn how to make a Single Signature Pamphlet Stitch. In this session, the books featured are inspired by the vernal equinox.

Natural Dyes for Book Art Applications
On Saturday, April 16th, from 10-5 pm, John Cutrone will be teaching a class on creating dyes to be used for your artistic endeavors. Paper that will be used includes hemp cord, linen thread, handmade paper& muslin. The dyes will include brazilwood, black walnut, osage orange, madder, red & yellow onionskins, marigold, turmeric, cochineal & kakishibu, a Japanese dye created out of fermented persimmons.  And since the workshop is close to Easter time, if there's time, you can bring eggs to dye, also.

In order to sign up for these classes, contact John Cutrone at jcutrone@fau.edu or call the front desk as 561-297-0455.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two View Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth is a Gothic fairy tale set in the WWII Franco-controlled Spain. The story follows young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) as she moves to the forest of Spain with her pregnant mother (Ariadna Gil) so that the baby will be born with its father, Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez.) Captain Vidal is cruel & malicious & holds a post in the forest to delete the Spanish Maquis guerrillas. One night, Ofelia meets a fairy that draws her into an old, stone labyrinth where she meets a faun, who tells her that she is a princess reincarnate, & in order for the girl to sit on her throne in the underworld kingdom again, she must accomplish three tasks before the next full moon. Using the Book of Crossroads as her guide, she begins her quest, but, can she fully trust a faun, who are known to be tricky & mischievous, & how will the Captain interfere with Ofelia's tasks?

Director Guillermo del Toro was extremely inspired by the fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm & Aesop. In their tales, they were often moral lessons for children & showed the effects of obedience & disobedience. Magic was never explained; it was just there, & the fables were often gruesome. For example, in the tale of Snow White, Snow White gets her revenge on the Queen by making the Queen dance on hot, iron shoes until she drops dead. Pan's Labyrinth doesn't shy away from the gore, as the film shows that the true casualties of war are the children & that sometimes fantasy monsters aren't as bad as the real monsters in our life. This is portrayed beautifully in the film through creative art direction in the film, attractive cinematography & the young Ivana Baquero drives the film & hold it on her shoulders with great skill.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Looky Lookie: Sudden Flutter & An Interview w/ Carol Todaro

Sudden Flutter by Carol Todaro is bound in the yotsume toji style within a spine made of hand-made paper coated with black sumi ink. The book can be opened & placed at the spine so that the pages can flutter like bird wings. The book was designed, printed & bound by Todaro. The image & text was created with Adobe Photoshop & printed with archival inks on coated Mylar using an Epson Stylus Color printer. The end sheets are hand drawn with sandpaper & the pages are hand-cut.

In this months' segment of "Looky Lookie," I also decided to include an interview that I conducted with Carol. She is a local artist & a dear friend of the Center & was happy to humor us. It will allow us a little insight on Sudden Flutter & Carol's life as an artist.

JCBA: First off, how do you feel Sudden Flutter relates to other pieces of yours?
Carol Todaro: Sudden Flutter is one of the first books that I made & it is a touchstone for me in the sense that it is my first use of a fundamental image that I've returned to in other work over the last decade. In two larger installation pieces, for example, I've used the image of pages-as-wings.

JCBA: Who or what influences you regarding the content, the materials & the techniques that you use for your pieces?
CT: Many teachers have influenced me, from high school forward: Donald Saff had a profound influence on me in graduate school. Keith Smith was the first book artist that focused my attention to the genre & his books were my first teachers in book arts. Buzz Spector is another book-influence, through his writings & his work.

JCBA: What is your schooling background?
CT: I have an MFA in drawing & printmaking from the University of South Florida.

JCBA: What are your current projects?
CT: I'm starting a new collaborative piece with Peter Borrebach that will be on view during "O, Miami," the city's new poetry festival, in April this year. It's a piece made for the second-floor window space at Art Center/South Florida on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

JCBA: Besides that project, what are your extracurricular artistic activities?
CT: I'm married to an artist, Tom Lopez, & when we travel we make art, teach art seminars & see exhibitions. I teach at New World School of the Arts. I write, mostly poetry & belong to the Miami Poetry Collective.

JCBA: Since we like to stretch the definition of the book here at the JCBA, what is your definition of a book?
CT: My definition of a book is the very specific & traditional bound volume. Artists' books riff on all of the given physical & conceptual qualities of books & therefore an artists' book can be anything that refers back to those qualities. I like Johanna Drucker's direction, that artists who make books should "interrogate" every part of the book in order to tease out new ideas.

JCBA: With new technology, like the Kindle or the eReader, what do you think is in store for the book format?
CT: I don't know, but here are some thoughts on the topic:
Artists made digital forms of artists' books a part of the genre years ago. Books made for the screen & desktop printer have, in many ways (not all), fulfilled the promise of the artists' book as a democratic multiple.
I've seen a couple of articles recently (one in the New York Times magazine) about books as interior decoration, which I find depressing. I'd hate to see books become nostalgic collectibles. Books are inert without their content, whether that content is carried on pages or embedded in the object as a work of art.
What's evolving right now is a relationship between print media & digital media & I think that's where we need to focus our attention. It seems that publishing as an industry will be most profoundly changed by wide spread screen-reading. One question: how will the end of trade editions (if it comes to that) affect other forms of book production? It seems that small presses can do what they've always done. Is it possible that some materials & products (ink & paper?) will become dear if they are no longer used by mass media? We can make them from scratch, too!

JCBA: Finally, what advice can you give to aspiring book artists (besides "get out while you can?")
CT: My advice is just the opposite, to all artists: make a book. Artists' books are great companions to other art forms, allowing artist to open their processes & expand the line of inquiry. If an artist approached making a book not as a collection of images, but as an image itself, a thing complete, a time-based piece, it can change her work in profound way.

Thank you again, Carol, giving us some little tid-bits & don't forget to check out Carol's work at the art Center/ South Florida this April during "O, Miami."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Graphic Novel of the Month: Barefoot Gen Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

Its 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan & W.W. II is starting to close. That is the setting for Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa. Nakazawa tells the story of young Gen & his family's struggle during the war. Japan is suffering a food shortage & Gen & his siblings, Shinji & Eiko, sacrifice their portions so that their pregnant mother can eat. Gen's father, Daikichi, suffers persecution from the authorities because of his anti-war stance. Gen's elder brother joins the air force, only to learn that he has enlisted to become a kamikaze pilot. It seems that the war has engulfed every aspect of Gen's life, but Gen's family holds on to what is important & stick together through the worst of it. That is, until August 6th.

Barefoot Gen is similar to last month's graphic novel pick, Persepolis. They both follow the themes of family ties & resisting the hegemony during a time of change that devastates a country. Nakazawa draws heavily on his experiences of growing up in Hiroshima. He shows what everyday life was like during his childhood & that may be the reasoning behind the cartoony nature of the novel. It follows traditional manga (a Japanese comic) cartooning, with the rounded faces & big eyes (think Mickey Mouse,) but Nakazawa also uses every comic convention, from speed lines, sweat beads (to represent emotion like embarrassment or confusion,) & "cross popping" veins (to represent anger or irritation.) Still, the drawings are simple, which is suitable to here; the story doesn't need elaborate illustrations. This is the first volume out of an epic 10 volume series, but Volume One works greatly on its own as a modest, emotional & anti-war piece of fiction.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Years & Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit!

Its February 3rd, which for most people in the U.S. means post-Groundhog Day, but over in China (which includes almost 20% of the global population,) today is the New Year & its the most celebrated holiday among the Han influenced cultures (which includes the Koreas, Japan & Vietnam.) But why is it on February 3rd? Well, it actually doesn't fall on the same day every year. In China, they follow the lunisolar calendar. In the lunisolar calendar, the New Year starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice & celebrations last until the next full moon, which means 15 days of festivities. Eat on that America; we only get one night.

Photo brought to you by Shin Yu Pai
There are different traditions for every day. Some are public, like parades featuring the paper dragon dance & fireworks to scare off evil spirits. Then there are more private celebrations which involves giving gifts to family members & eating food like dumplings & nian gao (a cake made of sweetened, glutinous rice.) The 15th day is the Lantern Festival, where patrons light paper lanterns & release them in the air & wish for a good year to come. So, wear your imperial red & welcome in the year of the rabbit.