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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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.

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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