The power of paper

Back in March, I wrote about why I love paper and real books more than e-readers. In that post, I shared some of the artwork of a book artist, Brian Dettmer, who takes a scalpel to books and transforms them into works of art.

This past weekend, I got to see Dettmer’s work in person at Pulse Miami, just one of many art festivals that took place in the Miami area as part of a larger celebration of art, Art Week Miami.

Now, I love art, and experiencing art is one of the ways my life flourishes. But I don’t generally love ultra contemporary art, and since Pulse Miami is billed as a contemporary festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As my husband and I walked through the expo halls, we were wowed by some of what we saw, unimpressed with other works and horrified by others that seemed nightmarish or vulgar only for the sake of being nightmarish or vulgar.  Continue reading

Missing the forest

I’ve been hard at work this week on an art project that will (I hope) be a gift for one of my nephews. He’s graduating from high school next week, and I’m a very proud aunt, despite having nothing to do with his success in high school. In fact, one time when I was visiting, he asked me how much math I had taken in school (I minored in it in college), and I told him I had forgotten most of the math I had learned, which, unfortunately, meant that I was useless when it came to helping him with the particular algebra-trig or calculus problem he was working on.

But I digress, and I don’t have time to digress. The gift is something for his college dorm, unless it ends up looking like something a 1st grader made (with apologies to any 1st graders reading this – I’m sure your art projects are fabulous).

Because I procrastinated in getting started on the project, I’m less than a week away from having to finish it and am spending several hours each day working on the tiny little details that make up the whole work. I’m sure I’m learning a great lesson in patience, but I also find myself wondering whose dumb idea it was to plan out such an complicated piece. Oh, yeah. Mine.  Continue reading

You can’t do this with your e-reader!

As promised, I’m continuing this week’s discussion about paper and my love of it, especially when it’s bound together with other paper to form a book. A friend posted an intriguing link to Facebook earlier this week, showing some of the artwork of Brian Dettmer, a book “surgeon.” And I was instantly entranced!

“Webster Two Point Oh” by Brian Dettmer

Eugene’s Blog beautifully highlights these works, and another blogger followed up yesterday with an interview with the surgeon/artist himself – showcasing more of his work. Dettmer takes books (and other media) and carves them into intricate sculptures. You can see a gallery of images at Dettmer’s site, his flickr pages, or the blogs. It’s definitely worth taking time to browse through them.

Looking through his artwork reminded me of a discussion I first had several years ago in a class in grad school (a debate played out over and over in the media). E-readers were a newly-emerging technology at the time, and our professor wanted to know whether we thought printed books would die out because of the new readers. I’m an unapologetic bibliophile, and so the thought of books all converting to electronic form made me panicky then, and still causes a little flutter of concern in me today.  Continue reading