|Closeup of the detail in A Vintage Dream|
You know I love books of all kinds. Coffee table art books are no exception. Monet and Escher proudly grace the table in our living room. But books as art? Now there's something I can really get behind. That is just what I had the opportunity to see this past September while visiting ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan--three unique entries, each featuring books. Now if you live outside of West Michigan, you may not be familiar with this art festival, currently in its seventh year. For nearly three weeks, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids becomes one big art show during which more than $500,000 in prize money is awarded, half by a jury of art experts, and half by public vote. Artists and visitors from all 50 states have visited ArtPrize, and artists from 47 countries have participated. This year more than 1,500 entries were viewed. I was one of the many thousands of visitors.
I thought it worth sharing these three diverse works featuring books in three very different ways. The first one I might have missed as it was in a rather out-of-the way location. Thanks to my friend Cassie for sharing this very unique dress. That's right, a dress.
A Vintage Dream, created by Reagan Kazyak, is a full-scale wearable dress created out of storybook pages.
As the artist describes it, "Tied to dreams of childhood, I attempted to recreate a ball gown that's both vintage and modern. This dress redefines the ideals that unique materials can not only bring a different element into a work of art but can also redefine an artist's mind towards what can and cannot be turned into art."
Otto's "Good Stuff" by Randall Dusdal is what I would describe as a steampunk workshop. The entry is subtitled "Using Things The Way They Were Meant To Be Used." Tucked into the center of this large display, resting on top of an old ironing board, is the first steampunk book shelf I have ever encountered. No e-books for Otto.
Any librarian will appreciate American Heritage 2 by Jason Dowd. This pair of oil paintings, or diptych, presents a look at two children and the world that is opened to them through books.
In the artist's words, "These works were created with the hope of inspiring children to read. It is through this knowledge that the reader's imagination can soar. Education is the light that illuminates our spirit, drives our will and unites our heritage." I like the way Jason thinks.
Who knows? There may have been more than three entries that featured books. With so many works on display, it is incredibly difficult to see them all. Among the several entries I did get to view, I was certainly pleased to see these three.
For more information about ArtPrize, visit artprize.org.