Saturday 28 December 2013

Artist's Book: Surely Not!

The book measures 102mm x 202mm.
Stiched binding, containing 8 pages, a central gatefold on orange card with an orange card cover. 
This book was part of my practice-based PhD on anxiety in advertising.

This book was inspired by the notion that, when looked at closely, smoking a cigarette is a strange activity. The Bob Newhart monologue 'The Introduction of Tobacco to Civilisation' is a case in point. Smoking is not a basic need such as eating or drinking but rather a skill that, once the fundamentals are learnt, requires practice and patience to develop. The "believe-it-or-not" strategy was based loosely on Ripley's regular feature in newspapers and collections from the 'fifties, but the images were developed from cigarette advertisements from the U.S. between 1938-72 and then redrawn to place emphasis on the absurdity of the activity. Grubby marks on the illustrations were enhanced to give the feel the images are 'dirty' as printed.

I composed the text in a style aiming to satirise the short-snappy 'Amazing Facts' tone of children' comics or encyclopedias. Texts aimed at younger readers often seem to convey the anxiety that the reader will tire of a subject should the copy spread to more than 5 lines. I have made sure that the concepts in Surely Not jump breathlessly from theme to theme at high speed never allowing the reader to dwell on one story for long. The font chosen was one resembling a style often employed in comics to give the feeling that the text had been hand written. 'Comic Sans' is heavy and stolid but its informal structure tries desperately to imply jollity. The central gatefold shows the Smoking Beagle, hopefully reminding the reader of the vast number of beagles that were used to test cigarettes (to public outrage in the late eighties). The gatefold was designed to sit on orange heavy weight paper, along with the cover. The main pages were printed on 130g cartridge paper. The orange and white colours are reminiscent of the colours used in marketing a regular cigarette of the period.

This book is held in various permanent collections including:

The V&A Museum, UK

Golda-Meir Library, UWM LIbraries, Milwaukee, USA

The Culture Archive, Brighton, UK

Eton College Library, UK

Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Chicago, USA

The British Library, London, UK

St. Peter's House Library, Brighton, UK

Knights Park Library, Kingston University, Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK

Howard Gardens Library, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, South Wales

Artist's Book: Null and Void

This small book measures 100mm x 100 mm
Folding concertina with 17 pages printed in black and white with spot red.
Produced in editions of 17, first produced in Brighton in 1999.

A humorous if bogus history of the concept of 'zero' packaged in a bag so that 'nothing' falls out.

First edition cover

Artist's Books List

These are the links to all my artist’s books. There are also direct links on the right side of this blog menu. Click on a thumbnail to visit the site.

Friday 27 December 2013

Artist's Books: Which Filter Works?

The book was produced in an edition of 7 printed on 130gm cartridge paper, the cover is yellow card and the cigarette cards are printed on glossy card. 3D Glasses accompany the book.
The book measures 190mm x 120mm.
This book was one of the elements within my practice-based PhD about anxiety in advertising.

The book Which Filter Works? began with the series of six cigarette cards, each one based on an existing factual diagram found within U.S. cigarette advertisements of the period. I felt the re-drawn diagrams needed to be placed within the context of a collectors book, the book was planned to parody the science and technology, of Filter-Tip cigarettes. My invented brand Lemorette was the focus, as if the book was a promotional item to introduce a new brand. The name Lemorette is mentioned as many times as possible. The tone of the book is instructional but rather patronising assuming the consumer is childlike in intellect. The consumer's children are encouraged to participate. 3D glasses are included in the front of the book. It was intended that viewing the book via the glasses should feel a little ridiculous.

For more information about the choice to use 3D imagery select The use of 3D section.
The book is in two sections, the first half is informational and offers advice and justifications, including headings such as;

A Doctor Speaks... 
This is a bogus endorsement from a medical specialist suggesting he has been paid to say whatever the manufacturers want him to.

What's 3D and why the funny-looking glasses
Explanation of how to view 3D, suggesting that the novelty glasses can enhance understanding.

Double page chart intended to show how smoking more can ease anxiety, the title 'PLEASURE HELPS YOUR DISPOSITION' was used by Camel in their 1954 advertisements.

So what's wrong with cigarettes? / Worries melt away...
This diagram needs to be viewed by blinking each eye in turn, hence the diseases associated with smoking that appear listed above the woman's head fade away and the brand name Lemorette takes their place.
What's a filter anyway? / How do other brands compare? 
Although the title suggests that this section will explain what a filter is, the text goes on to skirt around the issue by taking about umbrellas and roofs, again speaking, as if to a child. The diagram needs to be viewed by blinking each eye in turn to see the Lemorette brand stopping all harmful lines from penetrating the body, closing the other eye shows tangled lines in the lung area when a different brand is smoked.

What about these rigorous tests? 
This double page pread shows a bar graph that is all but useless since it has no axis numerals. Instead the danger is shown by simply making the bars longer or shorter, the categories read 'safe', 'inert', 'concern', 'risky', 'dangerous' and 'deadly' but again no qualification of the measurements are given. Opposite is a cross-section of the Lemorette filtered cigarette, parodying the conventions of the cross-section diagrams that appear so frequently in Filter-Tipped brands' advertisements. The Lemorette filter is so complex that only about a sixth of the cigarette is actually tobacco. The filter names however are all genuine.

The second section is an image of a large extended cigarette - this is where the six cigarette cards are stuck-in. This section also has additional statistics and comments about the brand, it ends with a performance chart and image of the factory where Lemorette is supposedly made. The book ends on a final endorsement from Dr.Wolf about Lemorette 'The World's first SAFE Cigarette'.

About the use of 3D

I experimented with 3D imagery to give a 'gimmicky' feel to the book. The book was therefore created in red/green anaglyph 3D for a sense of cheap novelty. 3D glasses are included in the front of the book and the consumer is instructed when to put them on and take them off. Some diagrams require the viewer to close one eye and then switch to the other in order to get the hidden messages within the pages - Viewing the book should feel complex and yet embarrassing.
The section, What's 3D and why the funny-looking glasses? Seeks to explain how to view 3D, suggesting that the novely glasses can enhance understanding, whereas the over complex information instead seeks to cloud the issue and bedazzle the consumer.

There are two types of anaglyph illustrations used in the book;

  1. A composite image that appears to have several levels when viewed with the red/green glasses. e.g. the image of the Lemorette factory on p.20, A Doctor Speaks... the image of Dr.Wolf's endorsement on p.2 and all six of the separate stuck-in cigarette cards.
  2. Two separate images, one in green, the other in red viewed by opening and closing each eye in turn. e.g. the image of the woman on p.6 Worries melt away... , the diagram on p.7 What's a filter anyway? and the face in the rounded box on the cover of the book.
Shown below is 'What's a filter anyway? / How do other brands compare?'
This diagram needs to be viewed by blinking each eye in turn to see the Lemorette brand stopping all harmful lines from penetrating the body, closing the other eye shows tangled lines in the lung area when a different brand is smoked.
The illustrations (below) show how the illustration is seen in the green lense only (left) and the red lense only (right).

Creating Anaglyphs
I used Adobe Photoshop to separate my illustrations into about 6 layers and then created a red and green version of each layer. To make images appear closer to the viewer the red layer should be shunted to the right. In order to make the image recede the red layer should be shunted to the left.

Artist's Book: Menthol Daze

The booklet is 107mm X 150mm. The inside page once opened is 297mm x 420mm (A3)
The cover is printed on white card, the inside page is black and white on 130g cartridge paper.
There is space for 14 collectors' cards. Each edition has 9 cards pasted in. The collectors' cards are printed in colour on archival glossy card.
Menthol Daze is produced in editions of 7.

Menthol Daze is a single fold-out page containing spaces for collected cigarette cards. The booklet is produced under my own invented brand Elysian's Cigarettes.
The images are manipulated collages from Salem cigarette advertisements and images from the Sierra Club publications from the 'fifties. The cards are numbered and when pasted into the booklet, text accompanies each picture. The images are intended to represent the clich├ęd images of delightful countryside, so often used in selling products - by attempting to make them appear healthy and natural.
The text that accompanies each image however details reasons to be uncertain of the countryside. Threats in the natural environment range from nuclear testing contamination, dangerous infections carried in rivers and annual lawn mower injuries, to the link between temperature change and heart attacks. The intention of Menthol Daze was to juxtapose threat and relaxation found in the Great Outdoors in order to satirize the inflated claims made for nature in advertisements - cereals, shampoo, cars, sweets and snacks, insurance and mobile phones.


This book was created as part of my practice-based PhD researching at anxiety in advertisements.

Artist's Book: Reboot

Reboot - Limited Edition of 10, Brighton 2008
400mm x 170mm, a double-spiral bound pair of books each of 20 pages.
The cover is clear acrylic closed with magnetic catches.
Hand-cut rubber stamp icons are added to final printed pages.
Several real capacitors and fuses are threaded into two of the pages.

This is a book about computers. Do they really hate us? Why are computers so indignant when you want to open files, rewarding your impetuousness with spinning balls and hourglass icons. This is a book about technological brokenness. We rely more and more on technology and computers, ignoring the fact that there seems to be a mechanical revolt gradually gathering pace all around us - soon the only tasks left for us will be hand-drawing the 'Out of Order' signs to hang on the machines.
Over a period of time, I’ve been recording technology failures photographically as well as drawing the language of brokenness, cryptic messages such as, disc error and are you sure you want to shut-down?
I've combined my photographs and drawings into this pair of books, added to this hand-cut rubber stamps of familiar computer icons - hourglass, watch, cursor arrow and older legacy icons such as the floppy disk. Scanned legacy peripherals such as scssi leads and old network cables tangle across the pages, to remind us just how fast technology is moving.

The books work as a pair and should be opened and read simultaneously.