Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: Interview with Arthur Huang

The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair starts next week and I’m participating with the Art Byte Critique Group. Art Byte Critique is a diverse group of artists based in Tokyo. I’m really excited about the event and really proud to be part of the group. They were generous enough to spare some time from their preparation to do an interview with me. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting their interviews on The Spendy Pencil.

The first interview is with Arthur Huang, founder of Art Byte Critique Group.

Tell us about your background.
I moved to Tokyo from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009. I work at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute as a researcher in a laboratory studying the mechanisms of learning and memory in mice. At the same time, I maintain a studio practice working as a visual artist interested in memory and the everyday.

How long have you been making books?
I made my first artist book back in graduate school in 2001 incorporating bookbinding and screenprinting. Since then, I have always had an interest in making artist books, but I have not had the structure and motivation to focus on this craft. I began to explore this medium again in late 2013 in conjunction with the Art Byte Critique group, which I helped to start, with other Tokyo-based contemporary artists.

Can you tell us more about ABC?
The Art Byte Critique group was started to create an environment where artists could gather on a regular basis to share ideas and give feedback to each other’s work in progress.

How has Art Byte Critique helped you get ready for the Tokyo Art Book Fair?
We have had regular meetings over that last year to gather knowledge, inspiration, and feedback about our work in creating artist books. They have provided structure and motivation for me as we get ready for the Tokyo Art Book Fair in less than two weeks.

What kind of work will you have at the okyo Art Book Fair?
For the Tokyo Art Book Fair, I will be exhibiting a series of accordion books that I created in 2011 titled “One Year on Japanese Public Transportation” which is composed of twelve books. Each book represents one month of travels on Japanese, primarily Tokyo, public transportation. I have drawn lines which represent each train or subway ride that I took in that month. The lines are the actual route of the train or subway ride taken from a map of Tokyo. Each ride is connected to the next ride chronologically (time and day) and run back and forth through the length of the entire book. Each book uses slightly different marks to represent departure and arrival points.

In addition to “One Year of Japanese Public Transportation”, I am in the process of creating several new series of artist books based on my “Memory Walks” project and “Interstices” project. I plan to assemble the books for the these projects by hand, printing the images on paper or acetate, cutting and binding the pages by hand.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Huang
Photo courtesy of Arthur Huang

For the “Memory Walks” artist books, I am planning to create photo books composed of close-up photographs of my Memory Walk eggshells. Each edition of the “Memory Walks” artist books will consist of a single walk that I take on a regular basis, such as my walk from my home to the train station or the train station to work. The cover for each book in each edition will consist of a previously drawn “Memory Walk” crushed eggshell for that particular walk.

隙間 070614 #3 – 下北沢, Courtesy of Arthur Huang
隙間 070614 #3 – 下北沢, Courtesy of Arthur Huang

For the “Interstices” project, I am planning to create a series of accordion books in which individual photographs of alleyways in Tokyo are printed on acetate and then mounted into the pages of the accordion book. Taken individually, the reader can see the characteristics of each alleyway. When the book is folded, the different photographs will be overlaid to create a composite image of all the alleyways similar to the digitally created “Interstices” photographic series that I have been creating since 2012.

Is there a website where we can learn more about you and your work?
You can learn more about my progress towards the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 at my blog – This blog also has more details and images about my “Memory Walks” and “Interstices” project. Please come to the Art Byte Critique booth between September 19th and 21st and say hello!

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