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Re: [BKARTS] Patriot act takes an artist (good!)

At least we can agree on beets.

Ha ha. The point is not beets, but culturally and genetically derived differences in taste. This is going to be my last exchange with you in this thread. Be grateful for that, because I am getting a little annoyed with you. You don't want to be on the receiving end of anything I might write when really annoyed.

You know nothing of my artistic ability, so, how can you judge what I am capable of?

See my observations about your design skills toward the end of this message. If drinking coffee or other beverage, put cup or glass down first and swallow.

You know nothing of the bookbinding/book restoration capabilities of Picasso or Pollack, yet you are sure the could do as good or better than I.

I never said that. I said, "No one can do an exact duplication of anyone's work, but I am confident that artists with the technical skills of a Pollock or a Picasso could produce a very convincing imitation of any professionally bound book. It's a question of how much effort and time they wanted to put into it."

Here's a little writing test for you. Fix the sentence above to
eliminate the stylistic flaws. What's wrong with it? How should it read
correctly? Hint: agreement of verb and subject.

I don't doubt for a minute that if I had the interest, I could do as well as Picasso. Pollack is not worth consideration. They are only "great" because they had great PR.

You couldn't do either. You know what? You couldn't even do the PR. That's a subject I really know something about. Among other projects, I produced the publicity for the American edition of the Guinness Book oF World Records in 1962 when the book was still an eccentric British curiosity. The publisher had to cut off the clipping service because it got too expensive. We made AP, Time and Playboy on the same day. I also worked simultaneously in the Nixon and JFK campaigns.

You think art PR is easy? Go try it. You can put ten million dollars
into publicizing an artist and fall flat on your face. The PR comes from
the artist's work. If the spark isn't there, PR is a waste of time. You
can get temporary media breaks, but not people writing books about your
client, much less  making movies about them long after they are dead.

Many sportsmen excel at more than one sport. Many gifted musicians play more than one instrument well. Many artists are skilled in more than one medium. I can do more than bind and restore books.

I'm sure you can. But talk is cheap, isn't? Show us some examples.

Why do you assume that Pollack and Picasso could excel at bookbinding?

Because bookbinding (as opposed to book design) is mainly technique. They were both superb technicians. That's the point you can't seem to get about Pollock. He didn't just splatter paint on canvas. He constructed carefully designed images by dripping paint rather than using a brush. Oil painting is a very demanding technique, at least as rigorous as bookbinding. Anyone who has that kind of eye-hand control and understands how things work can take apart a book and see how to make a copy.

Can you show me some examples of your skill at the craft. You have judged my ability or lack thereof.

I haven't done anything like that. I am telling you that even with your skills you will not be able to produce a credible imitation of a Pollock or a Picasso in technique alone, much less be able to invent an individual style instantly recognizable the world over.

Now let me judge yours.

See below. I'm not a competent bookbinder, however, and I don't pretend to be one. I am a graphic designer who makes home-made books. My adhesive bound paperbacks are almost perfect. But when I bind my books in boards, they have a decidedly rustic look, because I had to invent the bindings based on on my own ideas, and by taking books apart. I started this when I was living in places where they just about pack in your luggage on the heads of native bearers, so I couldn't even get books on bookbinding technique. I've only done a total of about six hardcover books, so I haven't developed the physical skills to cut and paste cleanly, among other failings. Nonetheless, the people who own them would never give them up.

I don't have any bookbinding tools at all. I do everything on my kitchen
table, using a jig made of cardboard and items such as carpenter's
clamps. I don't know how to sew a book. I came up with the idea of
gluing the text block and then cutting slots across the spine with a
hand saw and then gluing heavy sewing thread into the slots and
reinforcing the spine with gauze dipped in clear acrylic. My daughter
later gave me a copy of Manly Bannister's "The Craft of Bookbinding" and
I saw that I was inventing the wheel.

My works are not designed to compete with yours. Nonetheless, if I
invested in the tools and spent some time practising under the
supervision of one of Cancun's professional bookbinders, I could produce
a decent book, one that might even have some technical merit and would
certainly look like a professionally bound book. You can see a hardcover
book that I designed but did not bind myself at
<http://www.madlaughter.com/gallery/index.html> The back is calf that I
found in a shoe repair shop. The covers are papel amate. The photographs
are not all that good, but I was in a hurry to send it off and just took
them for record.

Check around on the site and look at other selections from the book to
get a feeling for my design and photography skills. I can paint and
draw, too, but I could under no circumstances produce a Pollock or a
Picasso. Their techniques alone are too formidable for me to master at
this stage of my life.

When it comes to graphic design, however, I have full confidence in my
work. I'll show you an example of my typography. I challenge you to make
an exact copy of it. The instructions are all to be found in the piece
itself: http://www.cafecancun.com/bookarts/opentype.pdf

You will not be able to do this because you don't have even minimal
graphic design skills. Judging by your web site, you don't know anything
about type and you don't have any of the tools to create the kind of
typography that I do. Your web page is utterly amateur. It's just
pathetic. If you know how to do better than that, why don't you do it?

I don't like criticizing other people's work, but since you've had the
gall to call Pollock and Picasso frauds you better be able to take it as
well as you dish it out.

Do the Picasso dove freehand. Produce a single page of type that looks
like mine, much less several hundred complete with text and
illustrations that look and read like the sample at
<http://www.madlaughter.com/laughter.pdf>. Until you can do that, please
stop playing word games with us.

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1005 77501-Cancun Q. Roo Mexico

Newsroom-l, news and issues for journalists


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