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.

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.
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.” 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”. 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?

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: Interview with Marc Tibbs

With only a couple days more until the Art Book Fair starts, the fifth of seven interviews with Art Byte Critique members presents Marc Tibbs. Marc studied in the United States.

Where are you from? 
Growing up in many different cities of the world, my mother always encouraged me and my sister to open our eyes and hearts to the world and to continually be inspired by the experiences and environments that we found ourselves in. I never set out to become anything in particular and never held myself to a specific dream, but continually try to move forward through life only to live creatively and push the scope of my experience for adventure and to follow my passions. If I set out tell you about it all right here, I would likely only be able to create a thin, unsatisfying outline of a few of the things I have noticed along the way. It would take me forever to tell it all and I leave it up to the things that I create to tell the story.
What’s your process?
I have no clear process and prefer to make things up as I go along. The things that I enjoy doing tend to develop and evolve into something interesting. This bookmaking project started with learning how to stitch a book together and everything else continued from there. I experimented with ideas in words, sketches and by physically making the books. One thing that caught my attention early on were books with wooden covers, so I tried to incorporate that into my project.
Do you have any favorite materials?
Anything I can get my hands on a play around with. My favorite materials at the moment are acrylic paints, ink, good paper, and wood panels.
Do you have a website where we can learn more about your work?
I do not currently have a website for my work.


Tokyo Artbook Fair: Interview with Marie Wintzer

The fourth in the series of interviews from fellow Tokyo Artbyte Critique group, who are participating in the Tokyo Artbook Fair presents Marie Wintzer.

Marie Wintzer is a French artist who also works in the field of neurosciences. She currently lives in Tokyo. Each of the books she will have available at the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 are unique, one-of-a-kind constructions.

What kind of art do you do?
My work is based on mail art exchanges and consists of collages and books using Jjapanese magazines, newspapers, comics, books gathered from second-hand stores, along with altered pictures / photography of my own, and poems.

Book photo courtesy of Marie Wintzer
Book photo courtesy of Marie Wintzer

That sounds pretty complicated. What is your process?
In my work process I aim to find aesthetics through matching, pairing, comparing, contrasting. Aesthetics can arise from unexpected, apparently chaotic or incoherent structures, and I am particularly interested in the subjective notion of beauty, in unveiling the harmony in items / settings / contexts that are not obviously seen as pleasantly ordered and arranged.

This work process naturally leads me to the study of repetitions of patterns and the breaking of those patterns (asymmetry) by chance or choice, of the unique combinations that can be created from a single unit through repetition and modification. In relation to this, I am fascinated by the endless possibilities offered by layers and transparencies.

How does poetry fit into the visual aspect of your work?
Poems take an increasing importance in the making of my books, and are a layer in their own right. Very often they are the starting point or the basis for the creation of a new book.

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

Tokyo Artbook Fair 2014: Interview with Lyle Nisenholz

The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair starts September 19th and I’m interviewing fellow Art Byte Critique artists about their work. The third in the series of eight interviews presents Lyle Nisenholz.

IMG_1079Lyle Nisenholz is an American artist, focusing on painting and illustration. Lyle will be presenting unique one of a kind hand-painted and hand-drawn books as well as multiple, smaller copies of his work. Strategically placed holes unite the pages of Lyle’s work, creating interaction with the surface pages and the pages below.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from the United States, mostly California.  I lived in Japan for 11 years.  I’m a high school sketch book doodler and wanted to draw like Heavy Metal Magazine and Dungeons and Dragons. However somehow I earned a fine art degree from college.  Mostly I sketch and draw images on paper, it’s like a diary of my feelings and ideas.


 Can you describe (briefly) the process of making your book?
I make a book by using a sketchbook or separate pages casually.
As a new drawing develops, I create a hole in the image.
The hole makes a window for the image on the next page.
This window is the starting point for my next page image.
Again using the next page image, I will make a hole and continue as before.


Hand-painted book detail courtesy of Lyle Nisenholz.
Hand-painted book detail courtesy of Lyle Nisenholz.

Which is your favourite material/medium to work with?
I love pens and pencils most. They are clean and easy!

I have been doodling in sketchbooks since I was thirteen years old. I see most of my ideas in sketchbooks so I just make them into art



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

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: Interview with Studio Deanna

The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair starts September 19th and I’m interviewing fellow Art Byte Critique artists about their work. The second in the series of eight interviews presents Deanna Koubou of Studio Deanna. Deanna is a fiber and metal artist from the United States.

Where are you from and how long have you been in Japan?
I am an emerging American artist who has lived in Japan for about 10 years. I have visited 49 of the 50 states and lived in 11, most recently California.

Detail of Navigation and Migration series.
Detail of Navigation and Migration series.

How long have you been making books?
About a year. I’ve been stitching and sewing since I was a child so jumping into hand-stitched art books has been a very comfortable new art form for me.

How did you come to join ABC (Art Byte Critique)
As a group we’ve been meeting for almost a year to prepare for the Tokyo Art Book Fair.

How have these meetings helped you get ready?
The Art Byte Critique has been an amazing group of international and Japanese artists whose feedback on my work has pushed me to create the best designs possible. My favorite part about the group is how divergent we are in the mediums we use but still work strongly towards such similar goals of moving our own artwork forward.

What kind of book/s will you have at the Tokyo Art Book Fair?
I created two kinds of books, travel journals and mamebons (bean books).

Travel journals, photo courtesy of Studio Deanna.
Travel journals, photo courtesy of Studio Deanna.

Each one of my Travel Journals is a one-of-a kind handmade art book. Using a consistent cover design of rugged upholstery I have been able load each one with a variety of map pages from various countries throughout the northern hemisphere.

Inspired by the locations on the maps, I created a Migration/Navigation Series of hand-embroidered mamebons (bean books). I embroidered one with a16th Century sailing ship and another with a sea turtle. Both of which represent Navigation and Migration on our planet.

Detail of Migration and Navigation series.
Detail of Navigation and Migration series.

What kind of materials do you use?
Tough upholstery fabric, modern aviation maps, wax threads, embroidery threads, buttons, and crocheted lace threads.

What are two points you want people to know about your books?
I hope people will explore new places with these books. You can add your own sketches and memories into the Travel Journals or enjoy the hand-embroidered art books.

Do you have a website where we can learn more about you and your work?
My website is

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!

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014: We’re In!

Yuki. Star-fold book. Inkjet print. Macro photos of snowflakes.
Yuki. Star-fold book. Inkjet print. Macro photos of snowflakes.
I just found out from a fellow Art Byte Critique (ABC) member that our application for the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 has been accepted. We’re IN! I’m super excited. This is a goal our group has been working towards for the last year. It’s been great to meet with members talk about art and book making and share projects and ideas. The people in ABC are great artists and wonderful people so I know this will be fun.

The event takes place on September 20-21 at the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS. We will be selling our books, zines and posters at a table.

Last year was a complete crush even until the last hour of the last day. I’m glad we’re a group so that we can take turns manning our table. This page will take you to our group blog and links to all the artists’ book. You can find my submissions at this page.

If you are a fan of Facebook, you can like our page here.

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