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/

 

Artist Interview with Yuko Kamei

Today Yuko Kamei shares her insights about the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016 and working with  Art Byte Critique group. This is the second in a series of interview with the ABC artists who participated in the TABF 2016.

Portrait of Yuko Kamei
Portrait of Yuko Kamei courtesy of the artist.

Yuko studied contemporary dance at Roehampton University, U.K. and received her MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007. Her interest in body-based thinking led her to the legacy of post-modern dance in New York in the 1960s and 70s, especially Contact Improvisation. She learned how the laws of physics apply to human bodies and movements, and how musculoskeletal awareness influences abstract thinking. Seeking for ways to communicate kinesthetic wisdom learned through dancing, she finds photography to be ideal space in which to work.

Why did you want to participate in TABF?
I have been an artist book fan myself, and participation to TABF was something I’ve always wanted to do.

Art book of notes and sketches by Yuko Kamei
Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei

What kind of books did you produce?
This year I made a small A7 sized photocopy booklet with drawings which represents my key thoughts for the last 5 years of my artistic journey.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
To be honest I wouldn’t have been able to make it without being with ABC. I had this willingness of book-making all the time but when it comes to the content creation things get quite tough. For me, the get together became a good deadline for the initial sets of drawing, and warm and encouraging comments from ABC artists on that day fuelled me so much to finalise a book in the next 10 days.

What do you take away from this experience?
One thing I am happy about is the fact that I was able to make a book which is very meaningful to my own development. Secondly, I am feeling grateful to have such a supportive and inspirational individuals around me.

Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei (inside pages view)
Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei (inside pages view)

What did you learn from the process of preparing for the show?
In terms of TABF display preparation, I was not able to do much due to my current job circumstances. So I just would like to thank you all for making it happen.

Why do you make books?
I like thinking about exhibitions, and I take books as one of such platforms. Structurally it has a distinct linearity but at the same time it can expand and collapse in area. Book format works for me sometimes to give a shape to my floating ideas.

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 Yuko Kamei and her work at: http://yuccak.net

Artist Interview with Nick West

Nick West iss part of the Art Byte Critique group which participated in the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016. Nick was kind enough to take the time to share about his work and his experience with ABC and the TABF2016.

Photo by Nick West,
Photo by Nick West,

Why did you want to participate in TABF?
I wanted to show work that belonged among other artists’ editions and independent publishing projects. TABF was the ideal event to share work with readers who were receptive to this kind of work.

What kind of books did you produce?
I made a drawing and a book. For some time, I’ve been intrigued by the fake wooden logs used for steps or fences in the parks and forests here. Using these as my starting point, I made some drawings that I collaged together that looked as though they could be assembled to make a fire. I thought of it as a kind of pre-book.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
Broadly speaking, the creative process can often be an isolated activity. Being part of a group of artists who meet up and discuss what they are making helps to inform your creative decisions. I had a couple of false starts in my preparation for TABF but by meeting up with other artists allowed me to realise that I needed to change course.

What do you take away from this experience?
More than anything, I take away an appreciation for how much interest there is in physical objects. It was really encouraging to see how popular TABF was, and to see people taking delight in leafing through artists’ books.

What did you learn from the process of preparing for the show?
That making art is a continual process. It’s not an activity that you can dip into occasionally. I had probably given more of my time to research than to production in my preparation for TABF, and this hindered what I made initially.

What would you like people to know about your books?
That there are more to come. In the past, I have made artworks using circular-bound books, and this is the direction I plan to develop future book works.

What was your biggest challenge?
As I mentioned, by giving more of my time to research than to production in my preparation for the fair. Having said that, participating in TABF has spurred me on to make more books, more often.

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 Nick West and his work at:

Nick also writes for TABlog the Tokyo Art Beat Blog.

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

The Days After the Art Book (af)Fair. Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 Review

The 2014 Tokyo Art Book Fair (TABF) has come and gone. It took a lot of work to get ready for it, and it was an intense three days but I enjoyed all of it. Now I just have to sort through the leftovers in n my studio from my book making frenzy.

20140925-000242-162096.jpgA big thank you to every one who visited the Art Byte Critique Group table (H-05), we enjoyed talking to everyone who stopped by. Special thanks to those who purchased some of our work. We ‘re thrilled because we know that there were so many wonderful choices available to you.

To the other TABF contributers and Zinesmate staff, thanks for the community feeling and your hard work. I thought everything ran really smoothly and every contributer ‘s work looked amazing. It was fun to be counted amongst you.

Finally, Art Byte Critique Group, thanks for making the process so efficient and fun. I’m lucky to be a part of this group. It’s inspiring to see what members are up to and the feedback you give on my own work is invaluable.

20140925-000243-163101.jpgWhat Would I Do Differently?
Put prices on things immediately and have cuter price tags. I didn’t want to be pushy by having prices, but I soon realized when I was browsing myself that a price was one of the first things I looked for.

Put a muslin sheet over our work after the day is done. One fellow artist had several books go missing.  And while that could have happened while we were at the booth and the cloth doesn’t lock anything down, I think covering the table gives that sales-are-done-for-the-day feeling and one layer against temptation. I think people at the Book Fair are generally pretty honest.

Have a display rack for photos. It would be great if I could find a small v-shaped poster holder. The photos on the back wall were hard to access and I didn’t have a lot of stock. I’d like people to be able to look more closely at them.

Longer lead time on production. I had my proto-types for the application, but didn’t start producing in earnest until I learned we got accepted and got a table. But not knowing for sure if you get a spot and spending money on production just in case seems like a bad idea.

What Would I Do the Same?
The whole experience! It was great.

Work with Art Byte Critique. I think it is great to share a table with people. I could easily see being overwhelmed and a bit lonely if I were to do this alone.

More Estello! I got a lot  of great feedback on this project. I was a bit hesitant about how Estello would be received  so I made some very simple zines and some A4 posters. While the zines looked good and suited the casual style of Estello, I think I could get something a little better quality with a lower price point if I have a longer production time and spend a bit more.

Talk to people! I got a chance to interview some people at the book fair and to make some contacts. I also got to watch how people perceived my work. So this makes it a bit more useful as a testing ground for new ideas.

Trends
Fellow blogger, Universo Tokyo, asked me if I noticed any trends in the types of  work available this year. This is a tough question. I only attended for a short hour at the end last year, so many things may have already sold.  Like last year, there was a huge variety in the offerings, from high-level professionally done photography coffee table books, to stapled editions of zines. I feel like there were more zines and more hand-made books.

I think another trend was looking instead of buying. I have no idea how this compares to last year. I saw lots of people buying supplies, but proportionally less people buying books and maybe looking around for ideas. Goodness knows there was so much creativity in the building that the urge to start making something really built up.

If you attended, what was your impression of the Art Book Fair? Did you notice any trends?

I did buy a few books…

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: Interview with Tanya Tanaka

The Art Book Fair starts today! I finish up my interview series of Art Byte Critique Members with Tanya Tanaka.

Tell us a bit about your background.
I’m half British and half American, but I have spent virtually all my adult life in Japan (Kansai and Kanto), with the exception of attending art school in London. I love colours, textiles, the sky, the sea, the cityscape, the wires in our environment. This is my first printed book.
tanya
How has Art Byte Critique Group helped you prepare for the fair?
ABC (Art Byte Critique) has been an invaluable help in making this book and in reaching out to others.

Can you tell us a bit about your the process of creating your book?
Although at first I thought I would make books by hand, as it turned out, it made more sense to print. I started the process by making a font with tape and scanning the letters. Next I painted colours and abstract forms, and scanned. After all the scanning, I used Photoshop to make words and then pages. All the words are heteronyms and homographs, words spelled the same with meanings that vary according to pronunciation. I find the word combinations amusing little bits of confusing poetry, somewhat similar to the strange English we often find in Japan. The artwork on the pages facing the words was done with Japanese ink and pigments.

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: Interview with Dai Oinuma

The sixth interview in the Art Byte Critique Group series for Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 is with Dai Oinuma. Dai studied at Rhode Island School of Design.

grave
“Grave.” Photo courtesy of Dai Oinuma

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Japan. I usually work in photography and video – both analogue and digital. My work is an exploration of the persistence, growth, decay, and rebirth of the environment and all living creatures.

What kind of book/s will you have at the Tokyo Art Book Fair?
I will have middle-end photoboks and postcards. I’m trying to make my book as affordable as possible while maintaining a certain quality.

kate
“Kate”. Photo courtesy of Dai Oinuma

Are these books mass produced or is each one unique?
My books are mass-produced, but they are hand-made.

What kind of materials do you use?
Washi and cellophane.

What are two points you want people to know about your books?
In addition to photographs, the book includes a couple of poems and texts inspired by headstone inscriptions at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester, MA.

Is there a website where we can learn more about you and your work?
daioinuma.com

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