Offering a true sensory experience, every book is a work of art. A bibliophile inhales the scent of the book as they feel the texture of each page and pore over the rich text and illustrations over and over again. As I sit typing, I glance over at my library. It is small, just under 500 books, none of which are rare or even particularly valuable, but I treasure each and every one, nonetheless. Why would I think to desecrate such a treasure by marking in the margins or cutting out a page? And yet, what if it means reincarnating an old book into a new form to be both admired and enjoyed?
Combing through garage sales and other sources, James Allen does exactly that, discovering old books and creating a provoking new work of art. To James, the process is as rewarding as it is thoughtful. Using a reductive process, he carefully wields a scalpel, cutting away pages until the heart of the book is exposed. As I look down into the depth of a book James has excavated, I see an old discarded book transformed into a work of art to be treasured once again. I glance again at my books on their shelves and wonder, what if……?
James Allen (Portland) finds inspiration in the ephemera of the common objects we encounter everyday altering objects such as books, magazines, photos, and postcards to create new experiences through existing media. He earned a BFA in 2000 from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and was featured in the book, Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed. For more information about the artist, visit his website at: www.jamesallenstudio.com.
Blog by Mark Hoppmann
Photo Credits: Mark Hoppmann, Jane Carlin