‘The death of the book’
With modern technology advancing everyday, books are becoming relics. An actual physical book is a wondrous thing, knowledge of centuries old, fantastical stories passed down and modern sciences all can be contained within the pages of a compact book. A book can show more than just its cover and contents, the wear and tear of a used book speaks volumes of its owner. Soon these once cherished treasures will be phased out and outcompeted by modern technology. E-books readers are small electronic devices which can store large quantities of books, straight away they trump over the physical book, no longer will you need to lug around a book in your bag and have to worry about finishing it the book early in your journey, now you can carry a vast multitude of different genres in the palm of your hand.
On an emotional level people can relate to books, can influence people greatly and provide sanctuary from stress in everyday life. From personal experience I can vouch for the experience of owning and reading a book. While searching through my fathers old childhood possessions I found his collection of Robert E. Howard Conan books, you could instantly see from their appearance that they had been well used, the descriptive narrative had sparked a light in my fathers imagination as helped craft him towards a career in art and design. I recently started reading these books myself and the vintage feel of the books really engrosses you and enraptures you in another world. There is a sense that the books are being read to you, not just you reading them, a world lives within the books and everyones imaginations allow them to experience the stories in their own way.
While visiting the V&A I saw an exhibition on books covers, these book where meant to used as inspiration towards redesigning my own book cover as part of my coursework. I found the books interesting, but lacking, I like designs that awe-inspiring and capture the audience’s imagination. I documented my trip but then went on to find my own inspiration. Whilst searching I came across Guy Laramee, his work is created from books but is completely detached from the actual contents of the books. Rather than creatively redesign book covers he uses the books as a 3 dimensional piece and creates sculptures from them, in a sense they are physical metaphors for the tales concealed within their pages. This idea would not be possible without the physical book, an e-book reader takes away this user engagement with the book itself - they contain vast quantities of literature but there is something missing. It is emotionless, there is little to no actual interaction with the book, it just becomes text.
We are becoming a ridiculously lazy society, technology is just glorified shortcuts to trivial problems which didn’t need fixing. Television is a way of engaging your imagination with minimal effort required by the audience, the e-book is bridging the gap from books which require concentration to monotonous television. Artists like Guy Laramee are trying to reveal to people that books have so much to give, they have the ingredients your mind needs to craft whatever it wants.
Using my research into books and Guy Laramee I undertook my creative process into making my own book cover. Straight away I knew I didn’t want to
just redesign a book cover, I bought a book from a charity shop and began brainstorming my ideas. I wanted to get across the message of how the e-book is taking over and brushing the book aside. To do this i made the book seem like something old and forgotten - hence why I used the packing paper and charcoal, to insinuate that the e-book is a tyrannical I damaged the book with a gunshot wound, then to silence the book completely I used nails to shut it. The message here is the e-book has dealt the book a painful blow and by reaching high sales numbers it has somewhat silenced the book. My piece works as a physical metaphor like Guy Laramee’s work, and is meant to be experienced as a physical piece, the nails prevent you from even opening the book and finding out what its hiding.
I would have liked to present my work in a similar way to what I saw at the V&A, putting the 3 dimensional book in a glass case, however I would prefer to put it upright so the book can be seen from all angles and experienced as a book. An e-book lacks any kind of artistic potential in my opinion, besides designing the layout of the pages they lack any physical presence.
The process of creating this piece, I cannot really refer to it as a book any more as it is a sculpture from a book, has opened my eyes to the potential for design in something as simple as a book.
Aside from the actual physical presence of the book, the idea of boldly presenting a statement in very much present in street artist Shepard Fairey’s work. As a street artist Fairey is no stranger to the public, he uses the street as his canvas and this allows his work to be readily available to society.
10:54 am • 25 May 2012
This is my A2 graphics coursework tumblr.
As the new pages system is rubbish I suggest you follow these instructions to find all my work.
-Type ‘editorial’ in the search box to bring up all posts containing my editorial work.
-Type ‘book’ in the search box to bring up all posts containing my book project work.
-Type ‘narrative’ in the search box to bring up all posts containing my Paul M Smith inspired work.
-Type ‘pigs’ in the search box to bring up all posts containing my origami/Three little pigs mature book cover redesign work.
4:51 pm • 21 May 2012
Here is the second final book cover.
Again I used the same bauhaus and soviet blend of design for the layout and typography but this time I extended the bauhaus influence with the inclusion of the origami pigs. Their shape is similar to that found in constructivism and again this complimented the mature theme and helped with giving the cover a powerful style.
4:35 pm • 21 May 2012
Here is one of the final book covers.
I chose to go with a bauhaus and soviet blend of design for the layout and typography. I felt that the bold, blunt and powerful expression of this style was fitting with the mature theme.
4:33 pm • 21 May 2012 • 2 notes
I went on the try using the origami pig pictures in a book cover but using them as the subject, along with the origami three little pigs scene I set up.
4:29 pm • 21 May 2012
I brought in the pictures from my origami/matchstick experiments and combined them with the pictures of the pig models.
I wanted to convey the pigs fleeing their burnt down house, hinting at the wolf’s presence.
Again I went with a very dark style to the pictures.
4:28 pm • 21 May 2012
This is one of the developing pieces for my mature themed Three little pigs book cover re-design.
I wanted to reverse the roles and make the pigs seem quite unsettling and evil, I drew inspiration from various graphic novels such as The Punisher and Arkham Asylum, both use quite dark and highly contrasted pictures.
4:26 pm • 21 May 2012
Here some photographs I took for use with my Three Little Pigs Project.
The project originally began as an origami themed piece, I intended to use origami models as my main subjects but I decided to experiment with actual models of pigs.
I created a small and eerie scene consisting of three origami pigs in a matchstick enclosure with a small studio lamp used to provide strong top lighting and also act as the moon. I went on to use this scene in one of my experiments of the final three little pigs book cover.
While using the studio light I played around with the idea of using hand shadows, an idea which I was inspired by a book at the V&A. This idea was short lived as the pictures weren’t very distinguishable.
I moved on to photographing actual pig models which I then used in the final book cover.
4:18 pm • 21 May 2012
Francois Diday and Knud Baade
Whilst looking around up London for inspiration in galleries I cam across an exhibition called ‘Forests, rocks and torrents’, unfortunately as this was last year I cannot remember which gallery it was, I only jotted down the artists, titles of pieces and notes on each piece.
One such artist was Francois Diday, his work caught my eye at first because I recognised the scenes from my visits to Switzerland and Norway. I primarily enjoy using my camera to photograph landscapes and naturally landscape paintings appeal to me, what I found interesting with Diday’s paintings is the fantastic composition of each piece.
Francois Diday lived in the 1800’s, and considering the 200 years between his paintings and my photographs of Norway, there is very little difference in the scenes as they are all untainted by human expansion and intrusive settlements. The paintings are incredibly realistic and make use of natural and warm tones.
Another artist in the exhibition was Knud Baade, he too painted landscapes of Norwegian mountain ranges and the Fjords. Again his paintings are similar to Diday’s as they have fantastic photorealistic qualities.
The paintings are very tranquil and encompass the viewer with relaxing sensation, very much how you feel when you are in the presence of the Swiss and Norwegian mountains. This is what helped lead me to creating my editorial in such a minimalistic style, I felt the pictures spoke for themselves and didn’t need fancy graphical design in the article which contains them, this would have made the article seem cluttered.
4:17 pm • 20 May 2012
An artist whose mediums know no bounds. From musical composition and instrument design to sculpture, painting and literature, Laramee has received more than 30 art grants in 30 years of practice. His work has been presented in the United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Latin America.
Whilst browsing the web for inspiration into my book project I stumbled across Laramee’s book carving sculptures and I was completely astounded. The attention to detail in every single piece is unbelievable, the carvings are convincingly photo-realistic and I still find myself almost doubting that they are in fact made from books carved into shape with small craft drills.
Laramee takes advantage of the natural colour of the paper in the books for some of the mountain ranges he carves out of the books, and for the flora covering the mountains he uses a variety of dark forest greens with washed out greens as highlights, the colour palettes are very minimal and subdued - very natural.
There is next to no information on how Laramee creates his book carvings, but an educated guess and research into tutorials tells me that a small amount of glue is used to keep the pages together and then either a hand saw or a larger saw is used to cut the base shape out of the book and then a combination of craft drills and sanders are used to carve the shapes. The sanders help give the slightly furry/fluffy texture to the paper which with ink/paint applied helps give the appearance of chalky rock and the plant life covering the mountain ranges.
To emphasise the nature of the actual book, Laramee keeps the cover and spine on the book, this acts as a kind of seal around the carved landscapes, gives a sense of the landscape emerging from within the book.
The pieces do not necessarily speak anything of the actual book used, they are more of a physical metaphor for the images which are painted in the readers head from their imagination.
3:22 pm • 20 May 2012
Here are some photographs from our trip to the V&A.
This trip was intended to help us with our book project, however I drew some other inspiration from the visit which led into my final exam piece.
Upon arriving I came across several portrait busts made from bronze which really caught my eye. They were unlike other bronze portrait busts that I have seen, these were much more rough and unrefined which obscured the face, but not to an extent where they were unrecognisable. This abstract and unrefined take on portraits helped forge the base of my final piece portraits.
After finding these I proceeded on to the book exhibition. I personally didn’t find much inspiration in the books, apart from a select few. The books which were conveying a message through just the actual cover seemed quite lacking. I found a few which used more of the 3 dimensional shape of the book and they had an influence on my final book.
3:00 pm • 20 May 2012
Regeneration Britain article.
Very bare design as the pictures speak enough themselves. I thought editing the photos and adding shapes/patterns would make the article seem too cluttered.
A benefit of the minimal design is the text becomes easier to read.
6:52 pm • 17 May 2012
I experimented with an origami gun I made.
10:21 am • 27 January 2012
I experimented with an origami gun I made
10:12 am • 27 January 2012
I experimented with my origami pigs, I will create a matchstick house to reenact the Three Little Pigs nursery rhyme.
10:08 am • 27 January 2012