2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair Interview Series of Art Byte Critique Artists: Yuko Kamei

The third interview of the Art Byte Critique’s 2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair participating artists is with Yuko Kamei.

From: Japan
Time in Japan: Most of my life except 5 years in U.K.
Education/ Occupation: MFA Fine Art & BA Dance Studies
Yuko works full time while continuing her practice

How many TABF have you participated in?
This year will be my second time participating in TABF.

How long have you been making books?
My first art book came out in 2009 as part of “on concrete” exhibition which I organised together with Jörg Obergfell and Sebastian Stumpf. Working with a graphic designer in Leipzig, Germany, it was a fun collaborative project from conception to materialisation. I worked on a similar publication in 2013 with Hikaru Miyakawa along with the show titled “Platonic Obsession”. For this one I took all the initiative from the layout to selecting paper, ink color, and binding methods.

I began to take book making more seriously recently especially after my first TABF in 2016. I think I will produce more in the coming years.

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I like books with a feel of somewhere between DIY and mechanical reproduction, which might explain why I employ photography as a main medium.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
The new book is called “The Great Stillness”, and it is based on a photo series which I have been working on since 2012. Each picture was taken to be printed in a large size so that one can see both the whole scene and details, but for turning them into a book I wanted it to be a handy pocketable size while keeping the in-and-out movement of picture viewing. This is gradually determining the book structure, and I would like to be playful about combining different methods of printing. Like music, this will be the first remix of the ongoing project, and there could be many more versions to come.

What did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?

Picture of Yuko Kamei’s work in progress.

The great thing I learned last year was that people who will buy my book exist. Someone I don’t know took my book in his/her hand, flipped it through, liked it, and brought it home. My idea somehow clicked their mind, and I think that is very special. Because of this I am approaching this year’s TABF little more confidently. I hope it happens again this year.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
ABC for me is a serious yet inclusive place where I can be myself and fuelled to do what I do. Going to the monthly get-together helps me to get back on track and be productive.

What would you like people to know about your books?
Making books is like creating a framework to perch upon for the ideas that float inside my head. It is becoming an important medium for me apart from photography.

You can see more of Yuko’s work at:

Photo courtesy of the artist.






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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