Quick Review of Tokyo Art Book Fair Ginza Edition 2019

I love, love, love the Tokyo Art Book Fair. It’s a concentration of great ideas and you can almost feel the creative energy emanating from the pages. From March 8th to April 7th, Tokyo Art Book Fair is holding the “Ginza Edition” at Ginza Sony Park. The Zine’s Mate shop is open every day. On weekdays you can buy books from a vending machine and on the weekends, exhibitors replace the vending machine. Each weekend has different exhibitors. I love the vending machine concept. Between the vending machine and new exhibitors every weekend, there’s plenty of motivation to go more than once.

 

I shared a table with Art Byte Critique on the opening weekend. Working with ABC is another reason I love TABF. Throughout the year I enjoy watching my fellow artists’ creations morph from idea to physical object. Then during TABF we get to see people interact with our books and ask questions. ABC also shared the table with artists from England that we have been collaborating with over the last two years. I really admire how they push the idea of book form and their craftsmanship.

 

 

Like every year we’ve been next to great tables and this year is no exception. Our neighbours were Anmoc Books, which is based in Korea, Homspun, a clothing shop in Shibuya, and COS. COS had a beautiful book about structures and folds.

 

 

Anmoc Books had some of the most beautiful photography books I’ve seen. Their craftsmanship for handmade photography books is amazing. We traded a few books.

Taehee Park of Anmoc Books with fellow exhibitor

 

On a personal note, I was really excited to finish Glow in the Dark Pop Out Mushrooms for TABF. The case is covered with polymer clay that glows in the dark and the  hand-drawn and painted concertina. The smaller green book, Pop Out Mushrooms was first shown at Launch Pad Gallery in September in the Reading Between the Lines exhibition.

I also had a new project called Space songs which is based on the electromagnetic and radiation waves translated into sound.

I’m going to take my own advice and check out the vending machine during the week. I’ll update the post with pics from my next visits along with some books.

Organized by the Tokyo Art Book Fair & Ginza Sony Park
When: Mar 8 – Apr 7, 2019 from 10:00 – 20:00
*Mar 8 will be from 17:00 – 21:00.
Where: Ginza Sony Park 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

TRANSIT
Connected via the B9 Exit of Tokyo Metro Ginza Station (Marunouchi Line/Ginza Line/Hibiya Line)
5 min. walk from the Central Exit of JR Yurakucho Station (Yamanote Line/Keihin-Tohoku Line)

Zine’s Mate:  Every day from 10:00-20:00

Vending Machine: Mon – Fri, starting  from 10:00 – 20:00

Odding Wang Talks About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Odding’s adorable avatar

The first time I met Odding was at the Sequential Art Meetup in July, but we never got a chance to talk. During the set-up for the Monogatari exhibition at Tokyo Chapter in October, we discovered we had a lot in common–especially coffee and mushrooms. Odding’s delicate graphite images for her Monogatari contribution, “Here,” add a wonderful facet to the amazing artwork in the issue. Checkout the Q &A with Odding below.

How long have your been making sequential art?
For decades, since I was around 5 or 6.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I think sequential art opens up many possibilities, comparing to single frame images, since it brings fragments of time in itself; Comparing to moving images like movies or animation, it gives the reader freedom of setting your own pace; Comparing to literature, like novels or poetry, sometimes it speaks more with less words or even only visual elements. I like all the above forms as well but I think sequential art definitely has its own unique charm and more potential to be explored.

What inspired your story for Monogatari?
“Here” was about a real story, well, it wasn’t even a story, just a little fragment of memories, when I first moved to my current place and found this little old motsuyaki store, run by a small old lady with (probably) her son, the lady was always smiling and I could tell that she was a very honest and sweet person. One day I noticed a bamboo dragonfly on top of the shelf in the store and she realized that I was interested in it, so she took it down and let me play with it. Back then I couldn’t speak any Japanese, so our communication was basically gestures and smiles. I’m always fascinated with old places and old people, and this kind of little stories always brings me lots of warmth at heart.

What are you most proud of in your story?
I’m proud of its honesty, even though it was a mixture of reality and imagination. The point is whenever I read it myself, I can still feel the same kind of warmth as I did in the little store.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Telling the story without words would be one of the biggest challenges, as I did in my other stories too. I was worried that readers won’t be able to fully understand it, but actually they don’t even have to. The story itself is beyond language barrier, and I think I’m quite satisfied with it. Another challenge would be fitting the artwork into A5 size space without losing much details, and I think the editor and printers did a good job on that.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
My all time favourite would be Chris Ware, then Jon McNaught, whose way of storytelling kind of inspired “Here”. Besides those two, I’d also recommend Lisa Hanawalt and Nick Drnaso. For books I recommend “The Photographer” by Didier Lefèvre and Emmanuel Guibert; and “Here” by Richard McGuire (Haha my story in Monogatari has nothing to do with this book).

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can check out: www.oddingwang.com, or follow me on Instagram: @odding

Interview with Julia Nascimento About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

I met Julia Nascimento last year when she came to an Art Byte Critique meeting. She showed us her books and her illustrations and I was blown away. One of the things I love about Julia is her vision and her drive to create not just art, but community. She has enriched the Tokyo art community by setting up the Sequential Art Meetup. Many thanks to Julia for taking the time to answer questions about her art and collaborative process with Craig Atkinson for their Monogatari story, “Little Key.”

Julia-Nascimento-artist-illustrator-indie-creatorHow long have your been making sequential art?
I’ve been telling stories visually since I was very young. But it only got serious when I started FE&JUada Comics with Felipe Kolb Bernardes, which is a series about our life as a foreign couple living in Japan.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I really enjoy being able to use images and words together, and balancing how I use them depending on which way I want to tell a particular story.

What inspired your story for monogatari?
This time I collaborated with a local writer, Craig Atkinson. He provided the text about a lost key in Shibuya and I created four illustrations for it.
When Erica Ward and I decided the theme for ToCo’s second issue was going to be “monogatari”, we agreed that the focus should be inanimate objects, rather than people. Shibuya always represented a kind of sea of people for me, and I tried to depict people as a form of landscape, once the main subject of the story is a key.

What are you most proud of in your story?
To be honest what I’m most proud of is the fact we were able to put together such an amazing book with thirteen stories! I took the first printing test with me to read during a long overseas flight and it was extra special to read it up in the air. The stories are so different from each other yet they give the reader a great feeling of diversity that Tokyo has.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Working in the same piece with another person is always a challenge, both sides need to be in tune for the partnership to be successful. At first I thought of drawing the story in panels, but the text I received from Craig was nothing close to what I imagined as comics, and I didn’t wanted to force the story into something it was not. So I had to figure out a way to display the text on my illustrations in a meaningful way for the storytelling itself.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I do! I love Julia Wertz’s brutally honest comics (plus she does an amazing job drawing interior), Sarah Glidden‘s journalistic watercolor comics, and Carson Ellis‘ whimsical picture books. I’m also a huge fan of Daniel Clowes and Adrien Tomine. Guy Delisle‘s comics diaries abroad are also a delight! As for Japanese authors, I love Yukari Takinami‘s “Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan”, Junji Ito‘s “Uzumaki”, and Katsuhiro Otomo‘s “Akira” was probably my first encounter with manga in my uncle’s storage boxes when I was around five or six years old.

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can find me on Instagram, Tumblr, Bigcartel for my shop, and on Carbonmade for my portfolio. My autobiographical comics FE&JUada is on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Bigcartel under @feijuadacomics.

The Book of Eringi: A Mushroom Story

There’s a pile of polymer clay that I’ve wanted to incorporate into art-book making for a while. My previous experiments with polymer clay pages and coptic bindings will not see the light of day. Making new work for the September exhibition, Reading Between the Lines, provided inspiration to try polymer clay again.

The Book of Eringi

I liked the idea of having a realistic front and concertina pages. I tried first with a shiitake shape but the sculpture was too top heavy. Eringi proved an idea shape for the concertina  format I had in mind.

Pop Up Mushrooms
popout-mushroom-handmadebook-polymerclay-watercolor-lori-ono-2I have a bunch of small tins I planned to make into mini-sewing kits, but they ended up being made into a type of book, instead. I covered the lid with a thin layer of polymer clay and then sculpted mushrooms to go on top. My favourite challenge with polymer clay is mixing the clay until I get the right color. The pop-out mushrooms are hand-painted using watercolour

Glow in the Dark
It’s the same method as Pop-Out Mushrooms. The glow in the dark polymer clay actually glows in the dark! That was really exciting. I have some glow in the dark paint but haven’t decided what kind of content and how I want to design the pages yet.

Other Projects and Ideas
I started another book in the shape of a shiitake to do in the same format as the eringi. It didn’t work as the stem wasn’t thick enough and it kept falling over. I found an old hymnal book with pages falling out so I took the cover and attached the shiitake. I still haven’t figured out the content of The Shiitake Hymnal. I have another couple of ideas of layered images and cut outs that I want to try.  I’ll post those when I get more done on them.

QUESTION:
What kind of mushroom book would you like to see?

Turning the Page–An Art-Book and Zine Exhibition at PAPER 2 Gallery

“Turning the Page” was an Art-book exhibition at Paper 2 gallery in Manchester that ran from September 29-October November 3, 2018. The exhibition was a collaboration between British artists and members of a Tokyo art collective called Art Byte Critique.

It was really exciting to see the collaboration between the two work and for artists from each group to see their work in the other country via Skype chats and videos.

The British artists generously shared their images of the reception at Paper 2 Gallery. It looked like a great time. I wish I could have been there.

-above images courtesy of the artists

Joan Birkett of St. Helens connected with Tokyo-based Art Byte Critique through Arthur Huang to develop relationships and collaborations. The two groups have had previous collaborations in St. Helens, UK,  at Heart of Glass  and Eccleston Community Library for for World Book Day.

Find out more about the participating artists by clicking the links below:
Jane Barwood
Joan Birkett
Paul Cousins
Deanna Gabiga
Arthur Huang
Patty Hudak
Mariko Jesse
Yuko Kamei
A.J. Malone
Jeni McConnell
Carol Miller
Julia Nascimento
Lyle Nisenholz
Mia O
Lori Ono
Jacqui Priestley
Louise Rouse
Yvonne Tinsley
Claire Weetman
Nick West

Interview With Jessica Whitfield About Sequential Art and Monogatari

Jessica is one of the collaborating artists in Monogatari. We didn’t have the chance to meet as she couldn’t make it to the release party. Her story about the Romance Car, a train that travels from Tokyo to Hakone, shows a keen observation of Japan with a perfect dash of whimsy. Jessica kindly took the time to reply to my questions about her work.
jessica-whitfile-illustration-sequential-stories-comics-interview-thespendypencil

Q: How long have your been making sequential art?

I’ve been sketching cartoon strips for about 6 months. It started as a diary to try and remember funny things my friends said during the day. Monogatarizine with ToCo is my first published piece!

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared toother forms of expression?

I like that sequential art is very accessible. You don’t have to understand art to get it. It’s also a little nostalgic.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?

I think Japan must be the only country in the world to make people fall in love with trains. Nearly every one I met in Japan would get animated talking about their favourite train line. I worked in a kindergarten so trains were a massive deal for the kids and a great way to make friends! My favourite train in Japan is the romance car; I love the style, the destination (Hakone)and the name of it.

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I feel proud that I was able to capture the small things that made me love Tokyo; like the little plant pots outside houses and seasonal flowers.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

The hardest aspect was coming up with an original plot! I wanted it to be a love story but not too cliché or soppy.

Q: Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artiststhat you recommend to readers?

I love Dodge Greenley’s instagram comics. Yumi Sakugawa is another inspirational sequential illustrator!

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?

For now, just my instagram: genki_jess

Kanna Arts Matsuri 2018

This view  greets me overtime I return to Onishi. The weather may change but the green and the water are always welcoming.

Onishi, Gunma has a great art residency program with Shiro Oni Studio. The studio and the town are really doing great things to support art. 2018 marks the fourth Kanna Art Matsuri. This festival also showcases the work by the artists in residence during that session.  It’s  a great time to relax, meet people and enjoy looking at and talking about art.

I really enjoyed the residents’ artist talks. In fact, I was so into what they were saying, I forgot to take photos!

As a past artist in residence and being a local-ish artist, I was invited to participate. This year I showed three pieces I took in Onishi during different visits. I printed on washi paper and mounted them on gessoed wood panel.

The chair scene and the glass of plum wine are from a summer I was writing haiku on the second floor of the Shiro Oni Studio’s repurposed old kimono shop called Kinuya.

onishi-shiro-oni-studio-kanna-autumn-art-festival-lori-ono
My work just before taking it down.
onishi-shiro-oni-studio-kura-lori-ono
The Kura of the old sake brewery that hosts Kana Arts Matsuri

onishi-shiro-oni-studio-mushrooms-lori-ono

 

I had a chance to continue my mushroom photo project after I helped with the deinstall. I appreciate the way Shiro Oni Studio gives different ways to work on one’s art practice and also experience nature.

Thanks Shiro Oni Studios and artists for the great art festival!

 

note: edited Nov 3rd, 2018 to put in the correct video–the Sanba River instead of the hedgehog video. Though hedgehog was pretty cute.

Interview with Tania Vicedo About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Tania-Vicedo_Artist-profile-pictureI met Tania Vicedo on the day of the Monogatari Release party set up. I love the pared-down style of her images. She really gets to the essence of her subject. I enjoyed speaking with her about her work. She graciously took the time to answer questions about her art and creative process for her story in Monogatari.

Q: How long have your been making sequential art?
I made my first comics when I was a teenager inspired by manga and the cartoons on TV. However by that time I don’t think I finished any of the stories completely.

During my MA Communication Design at Kingston University, London (2014–2016) I got interested again in sequential art specifically in wordless stories. I really enjoyed books by the independent publisher Nobrow. In consequence to that, my final project was a wordless and completely handmade book on the topic of emotions. To see the project please visit this link: https://taniavicedo.net/Emotional-Symmetries-book

After I graduated, I made a short graphic story for the Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize, which got shortlisted and exhibited in Orbital Comics, London. Because of this I decided to make a zine version of this story which I have been bringing with me to several zine and illustration events. Please see the project here: https://taniavicedo.net/In-a-not-so-far-future-zine

Nowadays, even though my main focus is on creating conceptual illustrations, I keep creating sequential art for personal projects or collaborations, such as Monogatari.

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I like that there is always a narrative to it. It is a medium for telling stories, and it is as diverse as films or books can be.

As I mentioned earlier I am particularly interested in wordless visual stories for several reasons. I like that they are universal, anyone can read the visual language despite of the word language they speak. However the visual language is not a precise one, so anyone will interpret in their own unique way and will perceive the story differently, which in my opinion that makes it a very interesting experience.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?
I was inspired by my neighborhood charming irregular buildings which remained me of the wabi-sabi philosophy, that’s why I decided to make a series of images on this topic.

Wabi-sabi in its origins referred to the solitude felt when living in nature and it was also linked to the tea ceremony. It is also about looking closer, appreciating imperfection and the pass of time.

In my story I made a sequence of images so they are a continuous close up, one vignette leads to the other, so the next vignette is a close up of the previous one (except for the two last ones).

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I am happy I was able to tell a story completely without words this time. Also I am happy about how I found this story; during the brainstorming stage I had the ideas for what could be some other stories, but I reached a point where I was drawing a tea cup, and then I drew the crack on it, and then I could see the crack looked like a mountain. From that moment, I was able to build the story quite smoothly. I am happy I could find an idea in the serendipity of the process.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

Coming up with a story is always challenging. But it also was working in black and white, as I usually work using colours.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I really recommend the work of Marion Fayolle, especially her book ‘In Pieces.’  Her stories are incredibly ingenious and funny.

Also the work by Jon McNaught is very interesting. He creates these quiet, poem like graphic stories which are also very beautiful. I like his book ‘Birchfield Close’.

I would like to recommend also the work of Evan M. Cohen and María Medem. They both create very unique sequential stories which they share on their Instagram accounts.

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?
In my website and social media:

https://taniavicedo.net/
https://www.instagram.com/taniasillustration/
https://www.facebook.com/tanias.illustration/

Tania-Vicedo_monogatari-exhibition

2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair Interview Series of Art Byte Critique Artists: Louise Rouse

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with Art Byte Critique members participating in the Tokyo Art Book Fair which runs from October 5 to October 8th. This is Art Byte Critique’s fourth appearance at TABF and we are all really excited.  Louise kindly too time to do a Q&A series and provides some images of her projects.

Name: Louise Rouse
From: UK
Time in Japan: 9 years 336 days as of today. Plus 4 months before that in 2006. Plus 2 weeks before that in 2003. Plus 3 weeks before that in 1998.

Education/ Occupation: MFA / Adjunct Professor for Printmaking & Drawing, Art Program, Temple University Japan Campus

How long have you been making books?
I don’t think I could pinpoint when I started organising ideas into bound paper objects of some kind. I can remember doing that forever.

When I was in middle school I even made my maths coursework which was a large part of the final grade into a ringbound zine with elaborately designed pages printed out on our home inkjet printer. I cannot speak for the quality of the maths though…

My middle school social studies teacher liked my zine assignment submission on the subject of local church history and paintings so much he wouldn’t give it back and was still showing it to other classes the last I heard… I’m still a little mad he didn’t give it back.

At age 15 I went on a work experience placement to a teen girl magazine in London and told my class I wanted to be a magazine designer as an adult.

I think I have always used something like graphic design (even before I knew what that was) to organise my thoughts and to actually understand the world.

I instinctively tidy disparate thoughts into sequential sections that are visually easy to look at and somehow the information gets traction where otherwise it would get lost and unprocessed in the sea of un-designed chaos out there in the world.

There is almost nothing that consistently pleases me as much as beautiful images and lettering on paper that I can hold in my hands and flip back and forth through my fingers.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
The biggest dilemma is to counter any and all inclinations to complicate an already large engineering challenge. In other words, making the book the simplest form of the idea you want to achieve because once you start editioning books you really discover the limits of one human’s time and labour.

This year I’m making a set of more elaborate books than I have in a while so we’ll see if I can actually adhere to my own hard-learned principle.

Do you have any art book heroes?
I’m indebted to Jonathan Ward who taught at my undergrad in Bristol. He told me romantic stories of his youth, carrying a suitcase of artist books around on the trains of Europe and selling them for a living. This seemed totally normal at the time, like “oh yeah, make money from artist books while traveling on trains, I dig it”.

He owns a small fine-art silkscreen press on the Isle of Weight now so it must be possible.

Also at the same university is Sarah Bodman, a dedicated book arts researcher and champion of this artform based in the Centre for Fine Print Research. Her passion and dedication to the community is inspiring. You can subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/newsletters.html

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
Art Byte Critique consistently supports all members and everyone seems to really feel it at the end of each meeting. Normally as an artist, it’s very easy to feel like your work is an island of no relevance to any living being but I feel the exact opposite of that in the company of these incredible people. The combined output of our collective is like a living organism. Maybe like a wild wisteria… A bit invasive…. and sprawling…. but hella pretty.

What would you like people to know about your books?
This year I am presenting a book series of four titles, Kinjo, Tsukin, Tocho and Kabukicho (Neighborhood, Commute to work, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the red light district of Kabukicho) Each book is made with wooden casings which are carved with the title. The wood used is all native to Japan and reflects the character of the area, the paper is also hand made paper from Japan with connotations about those locations. Inside are frottage rubbings taken by using the streets and surfaces of the city as “wild printing plates”. Creating the work itself is a very public performance and a lot of interactions occurred between me and fellow Tokyoites who caught me doing this unusual thing in public space. It has been a very engaging project to work on and given me a lot of new thoughts and ideas each day working on it and I’m looking forward to presenting the works and the diary of making it to people at the book fair.

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
Last year I found a Japanese-run stall that imported a range of small edition linocut illustration magazines from a specialist German publisher, that was a great find. Around 40 pages of full color or 2-color linocuts, carved by artists and printed by this publisher, maybe ¥9000 or so which is a steal considering. Also some unexpected finds from totally unknown young artists who should be charging a lot more for intensively loved and crafted art books and fine-printed zines.

In between all of this magic, take lots of breaks for refreshments.

You can find out more about Louise and her work at the following:
instagram.com/louise.rouse.art

instagram.com/louises_love_letters

facebook.com/louise.prints.art/

louiserouse.com (empty at the moment though but for posterity… when i get it back up)

Tokyo Art Book Fair is at Warehouse TERRADA
2-6-10 Higashishinagawa Shinagawa-ku Tokyo

Preview/Reception and Hours and Admission
October 5th (Thu) 15:00-21:00(Tentative)
Admission: 1,000 yen

Free Admission and Hours:
October 6th (Fri) 12:00-20:00
October 7th (Sat) 12:00-20:00
October 8th (Sun) 11:00-19:00

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2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair Interview Series of Art Byte Critique Artists: Nick West

Our fourth interview in our Tokyo Art Book Fair 2017 with Art Byte Critique artists is Nick West.

Name: Nick West
From: Brighton, UK.
Time in Japan: 7 years.

How many TABF have you participated in? 
TABF 2017 will be my second artist book fair that I’ve participated in. In both years I showed my work with artists from the collective Art Byte Critique.

How long have you been making books?
I have been making books, on and off, since about 1998.

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I’ve always been drawn to the physicality of books so I like to make books that emphasise their sculptural characteristics.

Do you have favorite materials to use?
I like to use simple materials. Just paper, thread and glue.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
Actually, I’ve spent some time working on an installation in a gallery in the UK this summer.  This work entailed making 26 circular-bound books cut in shapes that approximate letters of the alphabet. Although there isn’t room for the whole work at TABF, I’ll be exhibiting some images and an example book from this project alongside a separate blueprint.

Nick West, A-Z² (2017)

 

 

What did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?
The best thing I saw was that the delight that people take from thumbing through books. I hope to give visitors a more tactile appreciation of my works this year.

Do you have any art book heroes?
Not art book heroes, as such, but I’ve long been interested in a French group called Oulipo. Roughly translated, ‘Oulipo’ means ‘the potential for literature’. They aren’t so well known but they were a group of writers during the 1960s who devised various ways of writing using constrained techniques. One novel, ‘A Void’ was even told without the letter e.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start making books?
Make the book you want to read.

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
There’s always loads to see at TABF. Give yourself plenty of time to get lost in the books on display.

You can find out more about Nick West and his work at:
https://www.facebook.com/nickweststudio/
Twitter – @nwestmeetseast
https://www.canvas.co.com/creatives/nick-west

Photo courtesy of the artist.

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