Shereen LaPlantz: Artist’s Statement

Books are an intimate object; we curl up with them and take them into our beds and baths. My Artists’ Books give me a chance to participate in that intimacy. I want to involve my audience, to have them (you) peek inside openings or under flaps and open doors. I wish to give to my audience (you) a time to pause and simply enjoy an object. With luck, I will also give you a heart-melt moment.

There are six major elements that I try to blend together when making a book:

1. text
2. typography
3. illustration
4. page design
5. binding structure
6. presentation

These elements combine both two and three-dimensional art forms with verbal skills. It’s quite a technical stretch, especially since I’ve always been a 3-D artist. Adding 2-D skills is opening up new possibilities, like digital prints. Of course, these prints have words/text; a print isn’t all that different from a page.

There’s no single theme to my book’s subjects. If something crosses my mind, it could easily become a book. However, a reoccurring theme is how-to or instructional, usually how-to make books. Often these books are small artists’ books bound in a manner that’s described. My illustrations are starting to show a preference for medieval beasties — found in the margins of illuminated manuscripts.

Currently creating books is just fun. I know we’re in a new incunabula period, and as such, we’re developing how books will be perceived in the future. I consider this as a very exciting period of exploration, pushing the structural and design limits. For example, if the Mayan Book of the Dead is a bowl, should we add bowls to our bookbinding repertoire? Most people don’t think of a bowl as a book, but are we being ignorant? How do we (I) make a bowl feel like a book to a general audience? An incunabula period opens lots of questions.

I believe if we each answer the questions with our hearts, we will develop a true definition of B-O-O-K.


Music: “Winter Whispers” (Michael Hall) Copyright © 2009 Michael John Hall. Used with permission.

Michael John Hall
Michael John Hall music