Just published by Gingko Press, Paper Play is a new 256-page book exploring the use of paper in contemporary art and design. The book features no less than 82 designers and artists who use paper in sculptures, jewelry, street art, installations and everything else you can imagine. I started listing out all the artists we’ve featured here on the Colossal who are included in the book, but it got a bit unwieldy after a dozen. Pick it up here.
Motion Silhouette is an interactive Japanese children’s book by Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima that includes pop-up silhouettes in-between pages. As a light source is directed toward either side, a different moving image is projected on the page to help tell the story. Fun! Motion Silhouette is a sequel to an earlier book by the duo titled, simply, Silhouette. The books are made to order by hand (for about $60), and you can inquire through their website. (via KYOT∆®)
Artist Mike Stilkey uses the covers of books reclaimed from library trash heaps as a canvas for his whimsical paintings. He works with a mix of ink, colored pencil, paint and lacquer to create each artwork that can vary from anthropomorphic animals playing instruments to portraits of men and women inspired by Weimar-era German expressionism. Elements of his playful and at times emotionally exaggerated style have been compared to Edward Gorey and Egon Schiele.
The Los Angeles-based artist credits an immersion in skateboard culture during much of his youth as the beginning of his artistic career, as he simultaneously became exposed to graffiti and street art, though he received no formal training. His work has since been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally in galleries, museums, and libraries.
Trying to compress the history of Earth into a single book is an especially daunting task, the difficulty is compounded when the book you’re writing is the size of a nickel and is limited to just a few pages. Oh, and it needs lots of pictures. Lucky for us, illustrator Evan Lorenzen was up to the task and identified a few pivitol moments in history which he turned into this extremely tiny hand-bound book. You can see more of his miniature books over on his Tumblr. (via F*ck Yeah Book Arts)
In 1692 an artist known only as “A. Boogert” sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water. The premise sounds simple enough, but the final product is almost unfathomable in its detail and scope.
Spanning nearly 800 completely handwritten (and painted) pages, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, was probably the most comprehensive guide to paint and color of its time. According to Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel who translated part of the introduction, the color book was intended as an educational guide. The irony being there was only a single copy that was probably seen by very few eyes.
It’s hard not to compare the hundreds of pages of color to its contemporary equivalent, the Pantone Color Guide, which wouldn’t be published for the first time until 1963.
The entire book is viewable in high resolution here, and you can read a description of it here (it appears E-Corpus might have crashed for the moment). The book is currently kept at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France. (via Erik Kwakkel)
Assembled from hundreds of cutout plants and animals from repurposed textbooks, artist Andrea Mastrovito created a striking installation where a colony of bats clings to the ceiling, a flight butterflies swarm the gallery walls, and all matter of insects, mamammals and plants intermingle across the floor. The sprawling artwork spans the realms of collage, diorama and trompe-l’œil and was inspired in part by H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau. Titled The Island of Dr. Mastrovito and The Island of Dr. Mastrovito II the piece was first installed at Governors Island in New York back in 2010 and again last year in a different configuration at Mudac in Lausanne, Switzerland. Via the artist:
His starting points for this site-specific work are the two most common forms of home recreation—books and television. The title of his installation refers to H. G. Wells’ famous novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which the archetypal “mad” scientist experiments upon animals in order to give them human traits. In this “Island,” the artist substitutes himself for the doctor, trying to instill a new life into that which was once alive in a different way (books from paper, paper from wood, and wood from trees). Mastrovito imagines that the outside fauna take control of the abandoned house and become its proper inhabitants. Approximately 700 books were brought under the artist’s knife to cut out real-size images of animals. This trompe-l’oeil, or paper diorama, also suggests the strength of images, the infinite possibilities that knowledge—through books—can give us in order to create and re-create the world that we can only imagine.
You can see much more of Mastrovito’s work over on his website.
Sure, the Amazon Kindle might have dynamic font adjustments, and it can hold thousands of books, but can it do this? Printed in the late 16th century this small book from the National Library of Sweden is an example of sixfold dos-à-dos binding, where six books are conjoined into a single publication but can be read individually with the help of six perfectly placed clasps. This particular book was printed in Germany and like almost all books at the time is a religious devotional text. The National Library of Sweden has a fantastic photo collection of historical and rare books where you can find many more gems like this, and this, and this.
Update: And if you really like amazing old book discoveries, you should be following Erik Kwakkel, the Medieval book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who originally unearthed this story. (via Neatorama)