Monday, 29 July 2013

My Entry for Sheffield's International Artist Book Prize

During my final year of uni I volunteered at Bank Street Arts, a gallery in Sheffield city centre and I had the pleasure of working with the Artist Book Collection and their biennial prize. My whole body of work for the 3 years of my degree was centred around books which started off after a lightening sort of moment in first year. I slowly became more aware of Artists books and what they were and more importantly what they could be. 

I was fortunate enough to be really involved in cataloguing the artist book collection that Bank Street had from the previous prizes and also to help design, organise and run their stand at Leeds Artist Book fair in 2012 (Heaven!)

So this year when I knew the prize was coming up again for it's 4th year, I dug out one of my artists books from my final year and entered it in this years student prize! If the whole concept of book art and artists books is new to you then bare with me in this post. I'm hoping I can explain my logic simply and perhaps you will find a new medium you would like to explore.

The outside of my book

The first page  of my diary and the book is kept in tact

Showing the inside pages

Close up view of the inside pages
So you may be wondering what on earth this unreadable book is all about but there is a method to my madness I assure you!

There's 3 key factors in my work that inspire it and also help explain it:

1. A book can be seen as two separate entities: a physical object and it's content

2. Painstaking methods of working including weaving, cutting and re-arranging

3. Ambivalence; the simultaneous existence of two conflicting feelings towards something.

So now you have these 3 factors in your head, let me try and explain the above piece. I have kept a diary for nearly half of my life so the content is naturally very precious to me, yet the methods I use in my work manipulate and destroy. For an exhibition brief about Identity I challenged myself to 'blend' two of my earliest diaries into one, creating an object that looks and feels the same from the outside, not no longer communicates to the viewer. Through this ambivalence in my work, I will never get those diaries or memories back.  

So I packaged it up and sent it it off last week ready for the deadline of the 31st. After seeing the calibre of entries from the previous years, I am not aiming to place in any way shape or form. But I will enjoy my book being in the exhibition and hopefully I will be able to go up and see it in the show.

For the official website of the prize click here

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