Artist Statement

Life Unbound: Carving Stories from Forgotten Pages

My art explores life’s unexpected journey, mirrored in the transformation of discarded reference books. Sealed with care, these once-valued sources become canvases for my exploration. I delve into their depths, unearthing hidden imagery, phrases, and diagrams that resonate with my experience.

The process is fraught with frustrations and joys like navigating a career path or building a family. Anticipation mingles with uncertainty as I excavate each layer, sometimes finding unexpected beauty and other times encountering dead ends. These moments of discovery and frustration echo the joys and challenges of life itself.

Early works mirrored my youthful approach, accepting the initial imagery without pushing boundaries. However, with time, like life itself, my art has evolved. I now embrace the freedom to dig deeper, punch through limitations, and create pieces with greater depth and expression.

Each artwork is unique, a bespoke reflection of the journey within the book and myself. Using scalpels, I meticulously carve page by page, sliver by sliver, until the hidden narrative emerges as a three-dimensional expression, whispering stories waiting to be discovered.

 

More Details

What

Using old reference books like encyclopedias, medical journals, college course books, damaged reference books, or anything that has no value, I bring them back to life through revelation. Many old books, especially encyclopedias, will never be used again. They typically sit in a box stored in a basement or attic, collecting dust and taking up space. By revealing the world of images, text, and diagrams hidden within these aged gems, I give them a new life and freedom to express what the original printer intended, to share knowledge. 

How

Sealing books with environmentally friendly glue – I start without a plan. Before sealing, I may flip through the pages, but given the scope of printed material, I’ve learned it was best to shoot from the hip and let the book reveal itself. With little planning, I cut away, layer by layer, page by page, bit by bit, through the book, exposing images, diagrams, words, and other elements that suit my fancy. As any artist attests, the process is as fun as the final piece.

Why

It’s about connecting with my past, as encyclopedias were my Google in grade school, high school, and college. Google didn’t come along until mid-way through my career in technology. While I was on the cutting edge with many companies I worked for, my formative years were spent pouring over printed tomes for information and knowledge.

My art is as much about the journey and the process as the final results. I enjoy slowly cutting through a book because it gives me clarity, continuity, and focus that no other art medium could provide. I love the tactical component and have crafted various techniques to give it depth and visual interest.

What started as a hobby has become an obsession I enjoy sharing with the world. For material, I scour estate sales, library dumping grounds (It’s a thing), and other sources, adding to my unfinished book carving collection. With several hundred books stacked neatly in my basement, I have enough work to keep me busy for the foreseeable future.