“I have a habit of exploring places through books and bookstores.
Actually, no. This is more severe than a “habit”.
I sleep with a small pile of books in my bed. I never leave the house without one book on my person; when traveling, I will pack 5 books in my suitcase, forgetting underwear for a long weekend away. I have purchased the same book over and over again, not to read myself but to gift to someone - even if I don’t know to whom at the time. I buy books I know that I may not read but I know I will want to have near me. I regularly pick my favorite books off my shelf, just to feel their pages move. I dissect books, slowly - both their content and form - to see what makes them work. To dive deep into their fascinating machinery in hopes that I can learn their secrets.
I’ve been making books with my hands for over a decade. And I have made several major moves in my life. With each new city I have sought out like-minded artists and writers and set up publishing projects. In my mind, and practice, getting to know a space is getting to know a larger creative community is developing a deeper understanding of the book form. Finding new ways to work with people is developing new forms to bind our experiences together is establishing new systems to distribute throughout the environment.
I moved to New York City in January, initially to be an artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works in Red Hook. And to make a new home for myself. And to make books. The residency helped me to do that, allowed me the opportunity to work within a supportive creative environment and also, to teach. While at Pioneer Works I developed and taught a ten-week zine course. We looked at a history of zines and DIY/self-publishing and learned methods of production. Throughout the course I always described zines as a search: the need to find people and develop a community made manifest through ink and staples and folded paper. The class was titled, appropriately enough, Paper Cuts.
Paper Cuts also shares a name with my ongoing reading program on Clocktower Radio. My search and exploration through the New York zine and artist book community is currently being recorded and archived online. Each program features writers, artists, and publishers who share their work in print, on paper, and in small editions. I am learning to become a better (internet) radio host as I listen to the work of my peers and talk shop with people whose ongoing production I love and find endlessly fascinating.
For the past two years I have been making a new artist book or zine project every month. This continuing body of work allows me to follow my impulses - to pick apart my interests in materials, process, and craft. My slow dissection meets hard (self-imposed) deadlines and forces the wheels within wheels to grind away at concepts and curiosities. This is the Great Work and Daily Ritual that acts as the crucible for my practice. A generative and dynamic space where each month’s book changes dramatically from the 1st to the 30th (31st…28th (29th)); where fluctuating access, budgets, timelines, and facilities yield rich restrictions and opportunities.
I am currently using my monthly book practice and larger print/drawing installations to explore themes of travel, progress, and “home.” My recent body of work, “Dynamics of an Asteroid,” crosses an optimistic and fantastic look at potential end-of-the-world scenarios with recent proposals and milestones of space exploration. NASA and JPL’s proposals to capture and explore asteroids, the recent landing on comet Philae, mysterious lights and the pyramid on Asteroid Ceres, the wonky orbit and big heart of tiny Pluto, are all intertwined with the science-fiction of space exploration and the early fantastic travel stories of Jules Verne. I am assimilating the storytelling and information design of Paul Laffoley, the diagraming of Dispensationalism, the engravings of Alfred Kubin, and the otherworldly and epic sci-fi imagery of Jack Kirby into my established visual language. I want to combine the exploration of space with terrestrial landscapes and the collision of eras. Much of my work presents a narrative of a world unconcerned with linear storytelling - instead building upon a visual and material environment that makes its rules and shifting variables known to the viewer. An archaeology of content and form in which digging deeper also means digging outwards. Lateral and Sidereal simultaneously…
Late last year I curated a traveling artist book exhibition, titled Pulp Atlas, that had a unique set of requirements. Each of the 12 artists participating was to make an edition of 12 books and mail copies to each other. Each artists ends up with a full set of 12 different books and the responsibility of hosting an artist book exhibition in a non-gallery space in their city. Through Pulp Atlas, this collection of work has been seen in bookstores, libraries, airstream trailers, book fairs, and alternative venues across the US, UK and, locally, at the Reanimation Library in Brooklyn in February of 2015.
Forward motion is important. Deadlines are incredibly helpful. Community is revitalizing and nurturing. Coffee is god.
And my cities are made of paper. They expand and unfold, unwieldy. Only visible in small sections, necessitating a close reading, and forever opening up… “
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