The Art of the Book
The form of the book has always inspired me. From the unique self-printed illuminated books of William Blake to the Humument of Tom Phillips. From the Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Christendom to the wood-block printed works of William Morris at the Kelmscott Press. From Mughal miniatures to the graphic novels of Gaiman and McKean.
I grew up on comics (Spiderman, Judge Dredd), before discovering William Morris (Kelmscott Chaucer) and William Blake (Jerusalem), and from there to Medieval manuscripts (The Luttrel Psalter), Indian Miniatures (Mughal Period), before reconnecting with the contemporary graphic novel through Neil Gaiman (Sandman) and Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
The books I am currently creating are altered books, and have grown out of some of my previous art work, inspired by artists above, and use some imagery previously painted onto board or canvas. Most often I respond to the form of the individual book (size, thickness, binding, paper quality, composition of the page), where it allows me to realise, or crystalises, an image and idea I have had. At other times the content (title, text, individual words and images) will suggest an idea and approach, or will be incorporated into an existing idea.
The books can be displayed open and framed, but are only fully appreciated when handled. In this I consider them in the tradition of reliquaries and personal, portable altar pieces. Whilst some pieces may be approached on a purely decorative level, others strive to express a deeper symbolic or contemporary meaning, through an assimilation of references, and an interplay of form and content.
Some of the works opposite play with the form and symbolism of the tree, others have a greater depth of esoteric symbolism, and in others I am attempting to apply a more contemporary reference and meaning to the work. All are intended to be appealing and attractive, and as the viewer engages with the images they are rewarded with greater detail and meaning.