Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016

The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016 starts next week (Sept 16th)and I’m frantically trying to get my books done in time.

I’ve decided to make fewer books this year but I’m enjoying my projects.

Here is a sneak peak at the contents of one of my mamebon (bean-books, so called because of their small size). This book will be 5cmx5cm when finished. This is the screen shot of the photos to be printed.

I really like bees for some reason. I suppose it’s because I now understand how important they are for the environment. Still haven’t gotten over my fear of wasps and hornets. Baby steps. I haven’t seen many bees around my neighbourhood in Tokyo this year. Other years I’ve seen many bees around the hollyhocks and cosmos. This year? Not so much. Occasionally I’d find bees enjoying the lavender I planted.

Anyway, it’s back to work. I’ll post more info on the time and date of the TABF 2016 this weekend.

If you’re going to be at the TABF, drop me a line. I’ll be with Art Byte Critique again this year.

Happy book making!


Random Photos from TABF 2015

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015: Q & A with Marc Tibbs

Name: Marc Tibbs
From: San Diego, California
Time in Japan: 3 years
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts

marc-tibbs-3-by-thirteen-booksHow long have you been making books?
I took a book binding course my senior year college in 2011 and have been making book ever since.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
The hardest part of making a book for me is sticking to the original theme and making a cohesive story.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
The books I made for this year’s fair is the product of 39 days of drawing and writing.

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
Marc and Art Byte Critique Members are on the 2nd floor booth G-11
1-7-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Saturday: 3-9
Sunday: 12-8
Monday: 11-7

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

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

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015: Q and A with Karin Gunnarsson

The Tokyo Art Book Fair is nine days away. This is the second in a series of interviews with fellow Art Byte Critique members to introduce their work and talk about the show.

Name: Karin Gunnarsson (Nomura)
From: Sweden
Time in Japan: 16 months
Education: MA Photography Royal College of Art London
Occupation: Artist and Japanese Language Student

How long have you been making books?

This is the first artist book that I am showing in public. As for developing the craft I have in the past made hardcover notebooks.

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I get a great sense of achievement in making a hardcover handbound book.

Plato's Plates by Karin Gunnarsson
Plato’s Plates by Karin Gunnarsson

Do you have favorite materials to use?
I like a book that is interesting and feel exclusive to the touch. The Plato’s Plates book is all in paper with subtle tactile variety, as this was the most suitable option for the project. But I am really fond of using a textile on the cover and a contrasting paper texture and colour for the cover pages inside.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
Not rushing

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I am making one hardcover handbound book in a limited signed and numbered edition and one saddlestitched simpler version of the same book. The book is called Plato’s Plates and  tells a story of transformation and transcendence through a character in a punctured paper suit.

Image from Plato's Plates by Karin Gunnarsson
Image from Plato’s Plates by Karin Gunnarsson

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
Based on my experience as a visitor last year; allow plenty of time for your visit, comfortable shoes, a strategic plan to navigate the fair and take plenty of breaks as it is quite overwhelming to see so many beautiful and inspiring books. And of course plenty of change and that extra note for that very special object of desire.


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

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

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 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 Preparation Update

With less than two weeks to go until the Zinesmate Tokyo Artbook Fair 2014, I haven’t hit the panic button yet. Things seem to be going pretty well. If I meet my weekly target this week I think I’ll be okay.

Last week had tasks other than book making. I created an invite for a PDF mailout for our group and ordered new business cards with a company called Graphics. I’m stupidly proud of the PDF invite because I figured out how to make links on the PDF. This isn’t a really complicated thing, but I’d never done that before so it was nice that it worked out. It works even better on my smartphone than my computer.

Preparing the books has been a lot of fun. There have been compromises, but the good kind.

Estello Mame Bons

Multi-media: photography, hand-made stamps and pen illustration on washi. Concertina binding in hardcover.
Multi-media: photography, hand-made stamps and pen illustration on washi. Concertina binding in hardcover.

I’m not going to do the Estello mamebon (bean books) or I’m leaving them until last. I like this project but at the moment, it’s my weakest idea. I really love this project but the gap between my resources and my idea of what a finished book should look like is a bit too wide. If I have time at the end, great. I think I is better spent on other things and I’m not heartbroken if I don’t get them in the fair.


Estello Zines

PIles of Estello zine dummies next to an embroidered book by Studio Deanna.

The Estello zines are going really well. The final image selections and edits done. I’ve even finished dummies of them all. I’m working on the last of the layouts from the dummies I made last week. It always amazes me that layout takes as long as it does. I realized I didn’t have to make detailed templates once I had really rough dummies done. That was a nice surprise.



Starfold Books

Piles of starfold books ready for final assembly.
Piles of starfold books ready for final assembly.

This project is going really well. I’m already well into producing them. I’ve finished all my prints and already folded them. I just need to make a few more covers then finish the assembly.

There were two surprises with this project. The first is the emergence of two new topics. Aside from Yuki (Snow), there is now Flower and Butterfly. The new topics lend themselves to the idea of opening and unfolding that is inherent to the book form. The second surprise is the tiled designs for the reverse side of the papers. That took a bit of study to get it right.

Kandachime Uma

Version 1. String binding. Inkjet print on washi.
Version 1. String binding. Inkjet print on washi.

This hadmade book/zine is going to be the trickiest because it is the book I think will be the easiest to get done. And that kind of assumption might bite me in the butt. I finalized the format and print layout months ago. I think it will just be a matter of printing and assemblage. I’ve put off doing that in favor of solving other problems. But I just realized I am still dithering about the final look of the cover.

Goals for This Week
1. Printing Kandachime Uma pages and finalize cover style
2. Finish layout for final Estello zines in Photoshop
3. Test print the zines and edit mistakes
4. Printing more pages for the starfold books.
5. Interview fellow artists from Art Byte Critique about their books and post on The Spendy Pencil

If you’re participating in Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 I’d love to hear from you. If you are going to attend, please stop by our both and say hi!

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