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Artists as 21st century explorers of the book

Bodman, Sarah L.



Paul Liam Harrison

Elaine Shemilt

Arthur Watson


We now live in an age where, according to the writer and artist Radoslaw Nowakowski, e-paper has now overtaken p-paper, but what does that mean for book artists? And what kinds of books are they making?

Access to available technology allows artists to share bookworks with a much wider audience through free online viewing and downloads. Artists are already experimenting with publishing online, Guy Begbie’s video bookwork activation ‘Orange Rumba’ for example. Some prefer now to work exclusively within e-publishing, Nicolas Frespech has been producing many artists’ books solely for mobile devices and the Internet in order to disseminate his ideas freely through his ‘lirepub’ project.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who will continue to uphold the beauty of the book as a physical object, Dmitry Sayenko calls himself ‘a mediaeval artist’ creating his artists’ books using the same ‘technologies’ that were available in the 15th Century; handmaking his own paper, printing his woodcuts and type in his own studio to make limited editions of myths examining human nature. And in the middle are those artists, including Heidi Neilson, John Bently and Andi McGarry, who explore books with a multidisciplinary approach. McGarry produces music and animation to bring his unique books to life; Bently is a poet/book artist, who creates characters, hand prints his texts and images and performs the characters from his books through his band, and Neilson presents the book and video together as a complete experience of a single piece.

This paper will explore some of the crossovers and standpoints in the current field of artists’ publishing, looking at some of the ways in which artists make books that explore the old and new territories and the ones that delight in the middle.


Bodman, S. L. (2014). Artists as 21st century explorers of the book. In E. Shemilt, A. Watson, & P. L. Harrison (Eds.), Borders and Crossings: The Artist as Explorer (63-68). Dundee: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee

Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 63-68
Book Title Borders and Crossings: The Artist as Explorer
ISBN 1899837701
Keywords artists books, publishing
Public URL
Publisher URL

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