self portrait as a wicked book

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, handmade books, handmade papers, public art

Several of my artist books are in a permanent collection at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and will be in a new exhibit, in March 2018, titled “Artist’s Books – Chapter 13 – Lyricism And Laughter”!

Here are a few photos of one of my books in the exhibit. It’s titled “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”. I made it with handmade paper, hand-marbled paper, ink… and two original limerick poems.

The poems, on each side, are:

There was a young lady in Linen

who really loved laughter and sinnin’

She made wicked books that if given a look

you’d see that they’re often quite winnin’

——————

The lady in Linen was known,

for the books she is said to have sewn.

But when very hard pressed she began to protest

“Oh come now it’s quite over blown!”

 

When I exhibit my artist books I’m asked to write statements about them

Here, below, is what I wrote about “Self-portrait…”

Artist statement about the work:  By personifying herself as an open book – (or more precisely, as the linen thread binding the books within this book) –  with original limericks and pop-up book elements the artist pokes fun at self-styled “moral” groups who personify inanimate objects; books, movies and other art objects by describing them as “immoral”, “wicked” or “sinful”.  By writing “clean” limericks the artist is poking fun at the idea that a poetic form like a limerick could be defined as a “naughty” art.  An object or art form is just that, an object or technique – what people do with it may have a good, bad or neutral effect. But even the effect depends on the viewer’s perspective.  Thus “Self Portrait as a Wicked Book” is enclosed in a hand-marbled envelope – implying that the contents could be hidden from view, that the viewer has a choice to view it or not. The book is intended to be displayed accordion style so that the viewer can see it from different angles of their own choosing.  The textual reference within the limerick to “overblown” refers to the ways self-styled “moral” groups would ascribe moral qualities to the entire personhood of an author as a result of one written object the author had created.  The content also refers – both textually and by using colorful marbling and pop-ups – to the ways that censorship (or a “wicked” designation) actually increases interest in the object banned.

Artist’s back story for this book: A religious segment of the Oklahoma population has a penchant for banning books and a history of doing so.  To name two dramatic examples;  In 1997 the book “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass  and the movie by the same name was banned by Oklahoma City in such a way that the banning received national attention; Oklahoma City police went to the houses of adults, over the age of 21, who had rented the movie and seized it.  In 2005, the year I made “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”, the Oklahoma House of Representatives banned all books – for children and adults – that had references to gay characters or gay people.  Around that time period I remember noticing that (in Oklahoma) the commercial bookstores “gay book sections” got smaller and were hidden the back corner of the store.  Books that questioned religion, or discussed censorship in anything but a positive light were also few and far between.  There was a general perception – as evidenced by what was offered on library or bookstore shelves and what wasn’t, what books were reviewed in the Oklahoma media and what ones weren’t – that there were “good” books and there were bad, sinful, “wicked” ones – and this one group of self-styled “moral” people would tell you which books were which and few people in Oklahoma dared (or even thought) to question that group.

big artist pants

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures

Well today I pulled up my big artist pants, squared my shoulders, and submitted my artist book “A Fish Story” to the 23 Sandy Gallery www.23sandy.com for an upcoming juried book arts exhibit titled “Pop-Up Now II”.  Wish me luck! I’m hoping to get to play with the big artists in that exhibit!  The juror’s are impressive (intimidating?!) – the artist’s who were in the first “Pop-Up” exhibit at 23 Sandy were OMG awesome (you can see some of their book-work  via this link here: http://23sandy.com/works/product-category/curated-collections/pop-up-movable) – So I have a serious case of the little kid to big kid adoration. You know stuff along the lines of “Oh I wanna play! Pick me! Please? Pretty please? I’ll show you my glue and paper collection…I can do this… I wanna learn that…Show me how… teach me ….let me…aww com’on…”

And this gives you a glimpse into my philosophy of selecting which gallery and which arts events I try to participate in: Does it inspire me to do my absolute best? Does it challenge me as an artist? If the answer is yes – then I get my brave on and go for it! No matter what the outcome is – I’ll learn something in the process and I’ll become a better artist for the effort!

One of the big learning curves – besides making a pop-up book with 4 different movable pop-up mechanisms (whew!) – was making a video of “A Fish Story”! I’m so gosh-darn proud of it I’m posting a link to it again here: https://youtu.be/3gx6QmzXlpM  – and in case you’ve just joined this show here is a still photo of one of the pages of “A Fish Story” – that green tab lets the viewer move the fish into the water away from the fisherman. (Yep, that mechanism was hard to construct… but details about that is a different blog post.)

Clancy-1-c

page from the artist book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

Finally A Fish Story

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures

Here is the long awaited video of my artist book “A Fish Story” – first I had to catch it (make the video), then I had to grill it (edit it down to one minute – the gallery wants all videos at a minute or less) then I had to de-bone it (remove the sound) after a next-door friend said he could hear his electric sander in the background of the video. (Q: How does a deaf person edit sound on a video? A: Verrry carefully with help from spouse and friends!)  But finally… here is A Fish Story!

a fish story progressing dangerously

artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures, writing

As I’ve been sharing on my blog today – www.sueclancy.com – I’m working on a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story”. In the photos below I’m living dangerously; I’m taking my now-dry pages and binding them carefully so that the parts that make the movable pop-up parts will be hidden – but will still allow for movement. In one of the photos you can see some of the hidden works before it’s hidden. I call the binding “living dangerously” because I’ve spent months at hand making each page so one slip of my knife now, or a mistake with the binding, and a page is dead! Some people sky dive or bungee cord jump or visit with elderly relatives… me, I bind a pop-up book. Whew!

Living dangerously and binding a pop-up book titled "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

Living dangerously and binding a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

A few of the dry pages from the pop-up book "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

A few of the dry pages from the pop-up book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

 

 

more fish story progress

art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures, writing

As I posted to my www.sueclancy.com blog a bit ago I’m working on a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story”. Here is another photo of some freshly made (caught?) page spreads; the page at the top has a fishing line that moves, the page at the bottom has a fish that moves. In the photo I’m checking to see that the movable parts still move even after swimming in all that glue!

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

a fish story in progress

A Creative Life, art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures, writing

For several months now I’ve been working on a pop-up artist book titled “A Fish Story”. Here are a few pages with freshly glued down cut paper shapes. In the photo I’m checking to see if the pop-up movable parts still move. The page spread at the top of the photo has an actual fishing-line that moves. The page spread at the bottom has a map that folds out. Not pictured are the months I’ve spent writing the story, designing the book layout, sketching the illustration/artwork, dyeing the handmade papers then cutting (out of that dyed paper) all of the various shapes that make up the book’s story.

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy