Wednesday 28 November 2012

READ artist's book finished

135mm x 190mm, containing 12 pages and printed endpapers.
Saddle-stitched, with red book-cloth bound hard cover with lasercut lime acrylic title: READ.

Bound into the book is a small red acrylic lasercut magnifying glass that slots into a small wage slip envelope bound into the back inside cover.
Title page has a library-style insert, dated, embossed, numbered and signed.

The book also contains a bookmark to be used as a aide memoire.
Brighton, First edition of ten produced in 2012.

This book was created for the exhibition Beyond Dickens. This exhibition of international artists' books was held in Portsmouth in November 2012 as part of the Dickens bicentenary celebrations held in the town (Dicken's birthplace).

READ was inspired by Our Mutual Friend and takes the first 20 pages of this novel but hides within them a Dickens' quote about the act of reading. The quote describes reading as being like a code, whereby the initiated can open the world of books. The quote is hidden word by word on each page in pale turquoise that can only be seen clearly when viewed through the red lense on of the magnifying glass (see images below). The endpapers are images of monochrome violent waters since Our Mutual Friend begins and ends with drownings. READ is available in an edition of 10, contact me for details.

Copies are now located in:

  • Artists' Book Collection - Eton College Library, Eton College, Windsor, UK
  • Artists' Book Collection - The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, UK
  • Centre for Fine Print Research, UWE, Bristol, School of Creative Arts, Bristol, UK
  • Special Collections - London College of Communication, London, UK
  • Special Collections - Tutt Library, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO. USA


Sunday 11 November 2012

HOME awarded The Birgit Skiöld Trust Memorial Award

HOME has been awarded The Birgit Skiöld Trust Memorial Award at this year's London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery.
The Selection Panel for this year was made up of Elizabeth James, Senior Librarian, National Art Library Collections at Victoria and Albert Museum, Richard Price, Head of Content and Research Strategy at the British Library, Gill Saunders, Senior Curator ( Prints) Word & Image Department Victoria and Albert Museum and Victoria Bartlett, Artist and Trustee of the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust.

HOME boxed
HOME will be donated by The Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust to The National Art Library Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Here is what Victoria Browne - Founder of KALEID editions had to say:

HOME was selected for KALEID 2012 London, an annual curated exhibition showcasing the best of European artists' books. The edition is both original in form and content, and demonstrates the broad scope of contemporary graphic artists in Britain today. KALEID editions selected the book to represent at The London Art Book Fair and was delighted to receive the Birgit Skiold Award for excellence on behalf of Jonathan Ward. The judges immediately recognised the educational potential that 'Home' offers visitors to The National Art Library and its accessibility in a public collection will benefit generations come.

HOME was designed and coordinated by MakingSpace Publishers 2011
It is a boxed bookwork containing 50 die-cut houses by 50 illustrators. 50 visual narratives or home-based memories.

List of contributors
50 die-cut houses within the box
Houses by Otto: Jackie Batey: Geoff Grandfield

Houses by Jay Wright: David Atkinson: Laurie Stansfield

Houses by Phil Wrigglesworth: Gary Embury: Sarah Grice

Houses by Jake Abrams: David Sparshott: Jonny Hannah 
All of the houses have doors in the back that open to reveal more...

Saturday 6 October 2012

Beyond Dickens Exhibition

An exhibition of Artist's Books inspired by the works of Charles Dickens.
Private View: Thursday 11th October, 5-7pm

1st Floor Gallery, Southsea Library, 19-21 Palmeston Road, Portsmouth, UK
Mon 8th Oct - Fri 2nd Nov
Opening hours are, Mon-Sun11am - 4pm

The exhibition showcases bookworks by national and international bookartists.
I will be exhibiting my new book, READ which was inspired by Our Mutual Friend
...more images of the exhibition and book to follow.


Monday 24 September 2012

'Damp in Ditchwater' photo shortlisted in the 2012 G-Technology Driven Creativity Competition

A photographic postcard page from Damp in Ditchwater has been shortlisted in the 2012 G-Technology Driven Creativity Competition. I believe you can vote for it... should you wish to.

This is a composite image that forms part of a sequence of postcards from the fictional town of 'Ditchwater-by-Sea'. The sequence shows the decline of the Southern seaside town and documents its desperate attempts to attract tourists. This forms part of a handmade photo artist's book.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Damp in Ditchwater - the research, development and underlying methodologies that led to the making of this artist’s book.

This is an academic draft paper that seeks to contextualise Damp in Ditchwater. Reflecting back on my artist's books I thought it might be useful to try and explain the creative journey that led to their production. This paper explores and shares the research interests behind this title.
This paper later appeared in a tidier version in The Blue Notebook, Volume 11 No 2, Spring – Summer 2017

To read the whole thing scroll here:


Damp-in-Ditchwater: A satirical staged narrative revealed through an Artist’s Book

In this paper I will discuss the research, development and underlying methodologies that led to the making of the artist’s book Damp In Ditchwater (Damp Flat Books, Brighton, UK).
It takes the form of a small souvenir postcard book, containing 10 printed cards. The book contains a satirical narrative that in image and text begins in normalcy and concludes in absurdity while seeking nevertheless to achieve an apparent authenticity throughout. I describe the invention of a fictional British seaside location in the spirit of Osbert Lancaster’s Pelvis Bay and Bruce McCall’s Border Town. The town’s unappealing museum is described in terms that seek to conceal its actualities with recourse to the dark and unconvincing humour that Dickens, Eco and Spencer evoke. I then explore the dynamics of the visual and textual account given by the Unreliable Narrator with reference to such writers as Vladimir Nabokov and Raymond Roussel. The narrative structure of the cards is described along with the integration of a sub-narrative of the Crimson Cod. The Postcard format is further discussed together with an exploration of the role of the vintage souvenir postcard in creating aesthetic assumptions discussed by George Orwell’s in his essay on Donald McGill. The paper explores the balance of text and image in a multi-layered exploration of the absurdity of everyday life, and posits an alternative to the crude polemic in making criticisms of the role that industry plays in the life of the community. Damp in Ditchwater seeks to create an editorial strategy that takes its position on the cusp between an overt polemic, and the often ephemeral nature of much visual humour.


Monday 6 August 2012

New Book - READ underway

I'm working on a new artist's book. Working title is, READ (pronounced "Red", as in the past tense of read) It's an artist's book after Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. I'm making it specifically for the exhibition, Beyond Dickens in Portsmouth (Dickens's birthplace) in Southsea Library Oct 2012.

"In celebration of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth and as part of Portsmouth’s Cultural Olympiad celebrations we are organizing an exhibition of Artists’ Books inspired by Dickens. Throughout the year there have been a number of international and national events to mark this occasion, and this exhibition highlights the impact of Dickens as an inspiration for new creative works by contemporary artists. We are inviting artists to design and make books inspired by either a text from Charles Dickens or one of his contemporaries."
Ros Simms (Exhibition curator)

I am playing with the idea of hidden words that can be reveled when you know the secret, to mirror the act of reading, which I have always felt is like a code - you learn the technique, then all books become potential worlds full of fascination.

I've had a batch of red acrylic magnifying glasses laser cut which the reader will need to use to seek out the hidden message.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Future Fantasteek! No.13 OUT NOW

Softback Zine printed in colour on cream and white papers.
A5 size with 20 printed pages, saddle-stitched.
Pink card cover with ‘googly-eyes’.
Brighton, July 2012, edition size of 40.

Guest Artist: Margaret Huber

Margaret's website and her blog showing all the tickets.

Lucky No.13 - How Super! So, the olympics are ready to GO GO GO, and the Euro is ready to DIVE DIVE DIVE. Care homes are 'failing the vunerable' and the Welfare State is causing trouble AGAIN. Same 'ol, same 'ol

Follow this link to see more...

So far, this issue can now be found in the following collections:
  • The British Library, London, UK 
  • Duke University, Durham, USA 
  • The Culture Archive, Brighton UK 
  • Centre for Fine Print Research, Bristol, UK 
  • Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London, UK 
  • Abovegroundlibrary, Kenner LA, USA 
  • Colorado College Special Collections, Colorado Springs, USA 
  • London College of Communication, London, UK 
  • {Disarmed}, Lisboa, Portugal 
  • Toronto Zine Library, Canada 
  • National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK 
  • Biblioteca Municipal Josep Badia i Moret, Barcelona, SPAIN 
  • Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Florida Atlantic University Library, Boca Raton USA 
  • Reed College Library, Portland, OR, USA 
  • Newark Public Library, USA 
  • Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection, Chicago USA 
  • The Library, Hereford College of Arts, UK 
  • Library and Archive, Tate Britain, London UK

Saturday 23 June 2012

Future Fantasteek! get's its own blog

I'm working on Issue No.13 of Future Fantasteek! now, so it seemed sensible to round-them-up and get them their own blog. I've added links to all back issues and I'll be posting exhibition info and work in progress here:

You should be able to link backwards and forwards between here and there fairly easily using the top tabs.

Saturday 16 June 2012

HOME Book images

The HOME collaborative artist's book is just about complete. Here are some images of the pages when exhibited at Quay Arts, Sea Street, Newport Harbour, Isle of Wight. I'll add images of the whole book when I've received my copy.

Also, HOME has been selected as part of Kaleid 2012, an event dedicated to presenting and promoting European artists'books at Art Academy London on July 20/21. There are 2 sections to the event, a curated exhibition featuring the work of 40 European artists and a stand section. HOME has been selected in the stand section.

Monday 4 June 2012

Ninth International Conference on the Book

Ninth International Conference of the Book- University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 14-16 October 2011.

I delivered the paper, “Art-Zines – The Self-Publishing Revolution: The Zineopolis Art-Zine Collection”. 

As the curator of Zineopolis - Art-Zine collection at the University of Portsmouth, I set the aim of the collection to archive and reflect the diversity of thought and talent that exists outside the traditional publishing arena. The collection focuses on Art-Zines – examining the tactility and aesthetic of self-published materials. This paper introduces the Zineopolis collection and explores what constitutes an Art-Zine.

This paper is due to be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Book, by the end of the year.

Friday 20 April 2012

HOME - collaborative bookwork

These are the first sample pages from HOME - an Artists' Book, where 50 illustrators were selected to
produce a diecut house with opening flaps, in response to the theme of 'Home'. The page is about 30cm high. More images to follow when the final book is compiled and finished. Book created by Making Spaces, UK.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Future Fantasteek! No.12 - Aisles of Chunder

NEW OUT - almost...
Future Fantasteek! No.12 - Aisles of Chunder
The Olympics, the Diamond Jubliee and Dickens, what's not to like?
As usual, the first 30 copies go to libraries and collections, want one?
email me,

Thursday 16 February 2012

Future Fantasteek! on show in the University of Portsmouth, Eldon Building

The last location of the Mini-Tour!
Now in the University of Portsmouth, UK.
Also showing some Art-Zines from the Zineopolis Collection.