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[BKARTS] Comments

I view this list on the archive, which does not show e-mail addresses, so I
can't make private responses to posts.

Thanks or no thanks, James, I appreciated the tone of your eariler post,
hence my tongue-in-cheek reply.  But your later kind words do bring up an
interesting point. Talent does not exclude uncertainty or insecurity, if it
actually exists.  And I am not sure that I believe in it.  I am a very slow
learner, and if you have the opportunity to see any of my early books, they
are absolutely awful. I have a set of three volumes that I keep on a shelf
to remind me. They are from 1968, half bound in Oasis goat with marbled
paper (I learned marbling with oil based printing ink in Junior High
school). None of the boards are square, the hinges are split from bing too
tight, etc. There is nothing particularly artistic about them.

Over the years my technique has improved, more from hard work and long
hours than from any innate ability.  If you do anything for 35 years you
get better at it.

As far as the switch from "traditional" to "creative" design is concerned,
that came partly by accident and partly from exposure to art (first as the
binder and then photographer at the Hirshhorn Museum). I don't say this to
be self-deprecating.  It's just the facts.  My sister was an artist, and
encouraged me. She collaborated on the design of some of my early bindings
that broke away from traditional notions.

It was when I did Pettigrew's History of Egyptian Mummies, wrapped in
strips of linen, that the change really took place.  That was 1973. A
customer brought the book in for repair (front cover was off).  I had just
bought a couple of yards of airplane linen at Talas and it was on the table
next to the book. I saw the book on mummies and the linen next to each
other, and the easiest thing to do was to wrap the book up in linen like a
mummy.  It was obvious.  I made it reversible in case the customer freaked
out. But he liked it. That book was selected for The Object as Poet
exhibition at the Renwick, and the exhibition traveled, so a lot of people
saw it and it became an influential work.


Then there was The Birds of North America.  The same day I was given the
book there was a guy on the corner selling pheasant skins, so I put one on
the cover. It made a lot of controversy, which was surprising.


My recent works, like The Bill of Rights and Nineteen Eighty-Four, are more
about research and my political agenda of saving the United States
Constitution from the Executive Branch (and that includes both parties).
Remember that the Clinton administration tried to implement the Patriot Act
and failed to get it through Congress. It took the events of Sept. 11, 2001
to make that happen.  They did not write all that in one week--it was ready
to submit to the legislature.


I liked Peter Steiner's comments.



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                   ENTRY DEADLINE -- September 1, 2004

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