Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Foil Imaging

I've just recently attended the 17th Annual Foil Imaging Workshop, a week-long workshop here at the University of Iowa that introduces the ethereal art of foil imaging. It utilizes foil, a double-layered polymer film, to add color and texture to a print or drawing. This heat-transfer method of applying colors is used commercially for book covers (hot stamping) and greeting cards, but Virginia Myers has developed the tools necessary for artists to utilize it in their own studios, by using a hot plate and a heated roller. Most people recognize the foils that come in gold and silver metallics or brightly holographic films, but there is a lot of variety, including opaque colors, translucents, pearlescents, and even a wood-grain. Some of my favorites are the translucent foils that can be layered for richer colors with more depth. For any curious artists looking for new materials to try, I highly recommend coming to the workshop next summer! You can see some exceptional examples of foil imaging in Jason Snell's artwork at

Saturday, June 23, 2007

publish, print, create

My friend Cody and I have officially started "Zine Friday", a once-a-week shindig for making and discussing zines, and whatever else comes up. We managed to spread out a little working space on the table, but got into a heated discussion about the differences between a press, printer, and publisher. We talked in circles for a while, and the only thing we know for sure at this point is that the lines are getting blurred, especially in the small- and independent-press world. As zinesters, we know all too well the many hats we have to wear, from the conception, the making of the original, the printing and binding, and funding, all done by one person. This is something I find appealing about zines and artists books, the determination of one person to put their own style of creativity into every step.

It's also appealing when zinesters/comic artists like Clutch create their own presses to publish others' work as well as their own (Tugboat Press, in this case). On top of that, we have the wonderful Microcosm, who publish and distribute, the IPRC, who provide the space and tools for others to self-publish as well as publishing for others, and Booklyn, who publish, distribute, and offer workshops, just to name a few in an ever-expanding world of self-publishing.

To bring it home, what about the Zine Machine? It's working hard as a little Iowa City distro, and one day, it might want to expand into publishing. Well, maybe not today...

(PS - Zine Friday is not a private party - let us know if you want to join us for some zine fun!)

The Moving Crew at Bemis

For anyone in or near Omaha during the next month, I recommend checking out this show:

WHAT: A site-specific, interactive installation, curated by Lydia Diemer
WHEN: June 23 – July 21, 2007
OPENING NIGHT: Saturday, June 23rd, 2007, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
WHO: Lydia Diemer, Jeremy Chen, Maggie Booth, Katherine Parker, David Bendernagel, Neva Sills, Nadija Mustapic, Heather Foster, Lee Running, Daniel Luchman, Matt Stults, Christina McClelland, Daniel Maw, Ryan Standfest, Kim Ambriz, Adam Wolpa, Aurora De Armendi, and more
WHERE: The bemisUNDERGROUND, lower level of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th Street

Calling all landowners, pleasure cruisers, refugees, conquistadors, settlers, and nomads! New realms available now! Stake claim! Pursue vocations! Speculate!

Territory has opened in the bemis UNDERGROUND. Millions of idle inches, finely timbered and watered, the most fertile in the continent, and if reports are true, cardboard resources in lavish abundance, all awaiting the subduing hand of civilization. The Moving Crew has already begun development, establishing a town site, port, newspaper, general store, and saloon. Now is the time to secure a home on the finest land ever offered by The Moving Crew. Considering the unprecedented rush already in this direction, in this direction, you are advised to set at once.

The entire tract has been surveyed by The Moving Crew and recorded. The boundaries of this land will be clearly given by our Superintendent of Locations when you arrive at the bemisUNDERGROUND during opening hours, June 23rd, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. The Moving Crew insures territory immigrants the lowest of prices in outfitting them (local currencies provided, bartering optional). Most trips abroad are trouble free, however you should take sensible precautions and ensure that you are adequately prepared. Passports available upon entrance (for a nominal fee)! Sectional maps GRATIS! This tide will continue until every vestige of the public domain is taken (each Saturday, noon – 5:00 p.m. or by July 21st, 2007, whichever comes first).

About the Artist:
The Moving Crew is an amorphous art collective working to enlarge and enliven the public sphere. An ever expanding and contracting group of civil servants, students, former elementary school teachers, and crisis line volunteers form The Moving Crew’s ranks, a collection of bodies and art objects, as well as a gathering of ideas, thoughts and relationships. Cultural animation drives our projects; we investigate the implications of a society in motion, its people migrating through space and time, simultaneously rooted and displaced, forever wandering and on the way home. By examining both humorous and serious issues on local and global scales, The Moving Crew hopes to engage the public in playful, interactive art activities that loosely surround ideas of community, movement and transformation with a sensibility of profound absurdity. Through the use of inexpensive or found objects and materials, The Moving Crew invites people into a new space where the normal rules of the world do not quite apply and where the public is welcome to collaborate.

For more info:
bemisUNDERGROUND Phone: 402.408.2397

Monday, June 11, 2007

Big Day 'o Books

I spent Sunday in Chicago at the Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference 2007, held at the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts. Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend any of the panels, but instead spent my time there seeing the exhibits, and it was well worth the trip. I was really impressed with what students have made with book structures, represented by schools all over the country, including my own University of Iowa, and my alma mater, East Carolina University. The exhibit will be up until July 7th, so stop by if you're in the area. At the vendor's exihibit I picked up a small reprinting of "A True Depiction of All Manner of the Book Arts", with engravings and text originally published in 1568. I also got a copy of "Sombras Rojas" by Francois Deschamps, a collection of words and images by Mr. O, a former patient of the Sunnyview Psychiatric Institute who was obsessed with Che Guevara.

Of course I had to visit the Printer's Row Book Fair while there in Chicago, and fought a few crowds to look at more books, mostly used. It makes me appreciate quiet days in the used books stores when I can browse undisturbed. One highlight was a booth set up by Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts students where they were busy printing postcards on a little platen press. It was a big draw for the curious.

To top off my Big Day 'o Books, we went to Quimby's, my all-time favorite bookstore (I even named my cat after them). With the few dollars I had left, I picked up Sarah Becan's new comic, "Night and Day", and the new issue of Broken Pencil, a really nice magazine about zines, published in Canada. So much inspiration for my zine-in-progress, Dingbat! but more on that later...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

reviews: Nilsen and Short History

I've just finished Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, by Anders Nilsen. I love the reprinting of original writing, unmediated and unedited (other than the scribbles), that give the sense of immediacy, of the truthfulness of the moment. I'm amazed that Anders can share such a personal experience, but he points out at the end that "This story is, obviously, very personal, but ultimately I think it isn't exclusive. It feels incredibly particular to me, still, but it's just love and loss. And everyone, for better or worse, can relate to that." He relates his story better than most could, through a beautiful collection of writings, photographs, and drawings.

On another note, Warren Chappell ends "A Short History of the Printed Word" with a McLuhan-esque prophecy, saying:

In 1930, Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote that the mass-man took the civilization into which he was born as a matter of course, "as spontaneous and self-producing as Nature." This, claimed Ortega, made a primitive of him, with civilization his forest. It is a timely concept, of man as a consumer rather than as one involved and at the service of the base cultural values of his time. It is difficult to perceive any great literary sensitivity coming as the result of the flood of print that has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring.

This was published in 1970, long before Wikipedia and blogs. Gulp.