2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair Interview Series of Art Byte Critique Artists: Arthur Huang

Arthur Huang took time out to do a Q &A session for the interview series with Art Byte Critique members participating in the Tokyo Art Book Fair. TABF  runs from October 5 to October 8th.

Name:  Arthur Huang
From:  United States
Time in Japan:  Eight years
Occupation: Artist / Researcher

How many TABF have you participated in?
2017 will be the fourth time that I have participated in the Tokyo Art Book Fair.

How long have you been making books?
I have been making artist’s books and zines off and on for the last four years

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I like to make books which have something unique or unusual in their structure and form.

Do you have favorite materials to use?
I have a fondness for transparent and translucent materials although those materials can be a challenge to translate into book form.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
Finding a balance between content and form like any other creative genre continues to be the biggest challenge for me.  I often struggle with finding a unique form that does not overpower or silence the content of the book.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I am going to publish the second issue in my Dialogue zine series where I take my practice of Daily Drawings and translate that to book form.  For the second issue, I am going to shrink the size of the zine and focus on the development on one drawing rather than two opposing drawings.  The second issue will be more of an internal dialogue.

I am also going to publish the first 2016 Memory Walks artist book.  I have worked with my Memory Walks project regularly in book form over the last four years.  The sequential and archival nature of that project seems to lend itself well to the book form.  For the 2016 Memory Walks Artist’s Book Project, I will create a series of 12 books, one for each month, which will consist of images from my 2016 Memory Walks eggshell drawings.  The books will hopefully be released each month with the inaugural release being October 2016.  The size and form of the books will resemble and eggshell, that is smaller and round.  That is all I will say about the book itself so as to encourage you to come out to TABF 2017 in October!

What did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?
Every year at the TABF is different.  You never know where your booth is going to be, you cannot control the weather, and you cannot control who buys your books.  I think like any other creative endeavour, I have decided that I will focus on making books and zines that interest me process-wise.

Do you have any art book heroes?
Brian Dettmer and Maya Lin

Do you have any advice for people who want to start making books?
Just start with some blank pieces of paper and learn how to create the book structures you are interested in.  Worst case, you have a spare memo pad in book form, best case, you have an awesome new notebook for yourself.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
It is also helpful to know that other people are working towards the same goal as you.  Ever since the first time ABC participated in the TABF in 2014, there have always been a group of artists that want to work towards the next year’s TABF.  There are also artists who have never made artist’s books or zines that find their way into that world.  And the regular meetings, of course, as it always helps to have deadlines.

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
If you have the time, I suggest going through the entire book fair rather quickly to scout out booths that catch your eye.  On the second pass, take your time visiting booths that pique your interest.  Talk with the artists.  Divide your budget for buying books and zines over the number of days you are planning to visit, so you can buy that last minute discovery.

Learn more about Arthur and his work or follow him on social media:
www.arthurjhuang.com (Website)
arthurjhuang.wordpress.com (Blog)
Instagram: @lifeasaconsumer
Twitter: @lifeasaconsumer

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

This interview also appears on the Art Byte Critique website.

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Artist Interview with Arthur Huang

Is This The Way I Went. Photo credit: Arthur Huang
Is This The Way I Went. Photo credit: Arthur Huang

Arthur Huang took time to answer some questions as part of my interview series to wrap up Art Byte Critique group’s participation in the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016.

Arthur is the founder of ABC. Arthur is a neuroscientist and his artistic practices reflect data collection and the structure of memories and the brain. He describes his work best:

“I live and work in Tokyo, Japan as an artist and researcher. I am interested in everyday memories which I have been exploring in my studio practice since 2001. I moved to Tokyo in 2009 to work as a molecular biologist and neuroscientist at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute studying memory and learning in mice. I am the director of the Tokyo-based artist collective Art Byte Critique. I have exhibited work in the United States, Europe, and Japan including HAGISO, Southern Exposure, Printed Matter, neurotitan, the Austin Museum of Art, Tokyo Art Book Fair, Spiral Independent Creator’s Festival, and the Setouchi Triennale 2013.”
-Arthur Huang

Why did you want to participate in TABF?
Books and printed matter are so fascinating to me.  Along with the ideas presented in printed matter, the way they are printed and how they feel in my hand are equally important.  I love going to a bookstore and choosing a book just based on how it looks and how it feels in my hand.  Artist’s books are an further extension of that idea of object and it offers another way to present ideas that is not solely restricted to reading from front to back.

21 Days of Memory Walks. Photo credit: Arthur Huang
21 Days of Memory Walks. Photo credit: Arthur Huang. 2015

Back in 2013, I came to the TABF for the first time and I was amazed at the range of books, zines, and other printed matter that was being made in Japan and around the world. I made a simple artist book using screen printing in graduate school and I found the process of making it and the end result quite enjoyable. But between the end of graduate school and my first visit to TABF, I never found the proper motivation or inspiration to return to the process.  Seeing what was possible with artist’s books and looking for a way to bring together different artists associated with Art Byte Critique, I decided to organise artists to learn how to make artist’s books and participate in the TABF.  This was our third year of participating at the TABF and it continues to be inspirational interms of seeing what other artists are making as well as a way to seek out other like-minded artists to participate in Art Byte Critique’s activities.

What kind of books did you produce?

For the TABF 2016, I decided to simplify my process due to a number of concurrent exhibitions.  I also wanted to move away from the overly labor intensive production process that I found myself involved in for the last two TABF.  I decided to focus on my

everyday drawings and make a zine that speaks to my process of making these drawings.  The result of these efforts was an A5 size, 16-page zine called “Dialogue #1” where I start two drawings with two different motifs and let the two motifs bleed onto the other drawing over the course of making the final drawings.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
Having regular meetings about organising the booth as well as seeing work in progress was very motivating.  It was fantastic to see the continued enthusiasm of artists who have been making books for the TABF since 2014.  It was also great to see artists become enamoured with the making of artist’s books for the first time.  The energy was contagious for everyone I think.

What do you take away from this experience?/What did you learn from the process of preparing for the show?
It continues to be a great experience and I look forward to ABC’s continued participation in the TABF.  What I have come to realise is that while the process of making the artist’s books is the main focus, we also need to think more about the presentation component of our work within the context of the booth.  Walking around the TABF and looking at other artists and what they came up with for the presentation was inspiring and daunting.  We learned a great deal about the potential for creating a presentation that catches the eye among the hundreds of booths at TABF.

Over the course of the last several years, I have come to realise that my artist’s books are not a standalone work.  They often work in relationship to or supplement larger works and ideas that I am interested in.  I think that this is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, I want to work more on making artist’s books that can be presented on their own without the need for any additional context.

What was your biggest challenge?
I am used to working on labor intensive projects so simplifying the studio process for this “Dialogue #1” zine was my biggest challenge.  Even seeing the finished project and being satisfied with how well it correlated to the idea in my head, I still continue to spin ideas about how to make it more.  I need to try and remember that sometimes, “more” is not necessary.

If you are interested in Art Byte Critique, you can find out more at https://atobaito.wordpress.com or check out their Facebook page.

You can find out more about Arthur Huang and his work at: http://www.arthurjhuang.com/

 

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016: That’s a Wrap!

Another Tokyo Art Book Fair has come and gone. Really proud of my fellow Art Byte Critiquers for their hard work. Loved their books and it’s so much fun to work with them.

I’m still really interested in creating mame bon. Mame bon translates to bean books, so called because of their small size. My friend kindly described my books as objets, and I was really happy to hear that. I want people to treat them as objects that they can look at and fiddle with and enjoy. I had a few other ideas for books that I wasn’t able to complete for this fair but I’m quite happy with my books this year. Bumble is probably my favorite book. I really like bees and this photo collection of bumble bees and lavender is actually quite cute. My ultimate favorite is the zine MaiNichi Mushroom. Lots of people were interested in MaiNichi Mushroom and some copies were sold. Foxey did a great job to promote the magazine.

What I probably enjoy most is watching people interact with my books. Of course it’s great when they buy them, but I also enjoy watching people pick up the books, discuss them with friends and walk away with a smile. It’s especially flattering to have someone by a book at TABF because there are so many great books for people to choose from!

The last two years I usually did interviews before the fair to promote their work and the fair. This year we were all working up until the deadline and had no time. But I really want to share their work with you so look for artist interviews in the next few weeks.

Tomorrow I will post about a couple of the books I bought. It’s too dark now to take photos that would do the books justice.

If you went to TABF this year, please comment and let me know what you thought of the fair this year. If you have any questions about my books, don’t hesitate to ask!

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And So It Begins: Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015

  Finally! After lots of preparation it’s set-up time for the Tokyo Art Book Fair. I’m super early because Hitoshi has a morning soccer game and if I wanted a ride I had to go early. Real early.

But I’m the first one here and I’m enjoying the quiet energy. I can’t wait to meet the other book artists and see the fruits of everyone’s hard labour.

This is the quietest it will be for the next three days.

  
Art Byte Critique is on the 2nd floor in room G-11. Hope to see you!

Dates: September 19th (Sat) through 21st (Mon, Holiday), 2015

Venue: Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS

1-7-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

HOURS:
Saturday: 3-9
Sunday: 12-8
Monday: 11-7

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015: Q & A with Arthur Huang

Name:  Arthur Huang
From:  United States
Time in Japan:  A little over six years
Occupation: Molecular and Neuro Biologist and Artist

How long have you been making books?
Going to the Tokyo Art Book Fair over the last several years and
working with other artists in Art Byte Critique inspired me to finally
get off the couch and start making artist books.  I am a relative
newbie to the artist book world – it has been a little more than a
year of making artist books.
21 Days of Memory Walks リーフレット画像What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
The biggest challenge is finding the right balance between the book
structure and the concept.  For me, I want the book structure to
reflect the artistic concepts while maintaining the functionality of a
book.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I will be exhibiting my “21 Days of Memory Walks” artist book for this
year’s Tokyo Art Book Fair.  This artist book was produced earlier
this year and I finished the complete edition of 21 for the upcoming
Tokyo Art Book Fair.  The concept behind this book was to translate my
work with the Memory Walks eggshell drawings into book format.  The
book consists of a acrylic embedded crushed Memory Walk eggshell from
one of the 21 days for the cover.  The reader will find a list of all
my walks for each of the 21 days with times and departure points
juxtaposed with a scanned image of the eggshell for that day.

012515 Week Memory Walks ClusterWhat did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?
I decided to simplify things for this year’s book fair.  I have spent
the last year making various editions.  It has been a series of trial
and error in terms of production and realization of concepts.  In the
end  “21 Days of Memory Walks” has been the most satisfying of all the
editions in terms of concept and production.  In addition to the
artist books, I will be exhibiting one of my weekly Memory Walk
Cluster works to give the artist book some context.

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
There will be more booths than ever at this year’s Tokyo Art Book
Fair.  Be patient, take your time wandering through the booths.  You
may not see everything, but it will make it a more enjoyable
experience connecting with what is in front of you.  Also, talk with
the artists!  This is a great opportunity to learn more the bookmaking
process and connect with their works.  Last piece of advice, go the
the Printer’s Section and get lots of free swag!
You can see more of Arthur’s work at his website: http://www.arthurjhuang.com

Time and Location Details
The Tokyo Art Book Fair is held from September Saturday 19 – Monday 21 (holiday)
at Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS
1-7-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
HOURS:
Saturday: 3-9
Sunday: 12-8
Monday: 11-7

You can read about Art Byte Critique artist Lyle Nisenholz here and Karin Gunnarsson here.

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