Friday, May 29, 2015

Catholics Goes Live

I just finished creating a web page for my new artist's book, Catholics:

It includes a complete description of the project, as well a GIF of the book's transmutative sequence featuring a shifting frame I composed from metal type.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Catholic Souvenirs

Central to my new artist's book, Catholics, are its eulogiae, three portfolios that rely heavily on collage.

According to Colleen McDannell in Material Christianity, sixth-century pilgrims to sacred sites in Europe carried away tiny clay or glass ampullae that contained traces of dirt, oil, or water found at the visited shrine. Diagrammatic images of the location were also rendered on the exteriors of these souvenirs, called eulogiae. Each eulogia in Catholics attempts to conjure remembered space in a similar way: handwritten text and collaged images function as both architecture and performance.

In ‘Boys Town,’ the first eulogia, I attempt to create a papist Pleasure Island by contrasting stories of childhood sugar highs with events that reflect Church misogyny and violence.

In ‘Confessional,’  I use closet imagery and fragments of muscle mags as I mimic the rhetoric of Augustine by addressing my confessions to Joan Crawford.

And in ‘Dream Church,’ where hand-drawn illustrations start to invade, I try to spiritually rebuild by reflecting on my good fortune in meeting such a loving, inspiring, and ongoing collaborator.

To learn more about Catholics, read about its illustrated saints and images created from typographic ornaments!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Caxton Club Grant Presentation

Photo by Susan Hanes
Members of the Caxton Club visited the UI Center for the Book last month. I presented to the group, along with fellow Caxton Club grant recipient Candida Pagan, and I talked about the project they helped fund—an artist's book called Catholics. I'm currently binding the edition of 25 and working on designing a letterpress-printed dust jacket. Here's a draft of the jacket's blurb:
Catholics is an artist’s book, a limited-edition memoir that makes use of comics, collage, and letterpress printed typography to explore the psychic cathedral built by its author’s Catholic traditionalist upbringing. Beginning with an anti-clerical quip by Tallulah Bankhead, the book takes on a range of subjects including Catholic-Masonic tensions, the fervency of converts, the legacy of the Legion of Decency, and the spiritual significance of revelatory shrouds. In Catholics, the sacred and profane, the humorous and tragic, the zine and literary fine-press all end up as strange bedfellows in desperate need of confession.
Check back for more pics of Catholics!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Artist's Books at Prairie Lights!

Come see my multitalented students display their artist's books from our Creative Writing for Book Arts class! Subtitled 'Writing for Visual & Material Genres', the class has explored comics, zines, typography, text + image, and hybrid genres before culminating in their final project—a book whose form is integral to its content. The event is this Saturday, May 9 from 5–7 pm at Prairie Lights Bookstore.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

UICB MFA Group Show

The 2015 graduating MFA's at the UI Center for the Book are currently showing selections from our thesis work at the K.K. Merker Gallery in the basement of North Hall. I'm proud to be a part of it—there's some pretty fantastic work by Maggie Heineman, Alexandra Janezic, Andrea Kohashi, Candida Pagan, Steph Rue, Leslie Smith, and Kalmia Strong. The reception is this Friday, May 8th from 4–6 pm.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Catholics on Display

I'm debuting a new artist's book, Catholics, as part of my MFA thesis show at the UI Center for the Book. I'll be showing work along with Alexandra Janezic at the K. K. Merker Gallery in the basement level of North Hall from April 13–17. The reception will be from 5:30–7:30 on Friday, April 17.

Both Janezic's and my work features images built and printed from metal type (see below). To learn more about Catholics, click here and here. I'll be posting more images from the book in the coming weeks.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Typographic Transfiguration

I've finished printing the content for Catholics, an artist's book I'm working on at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. It is a limited-edition memoir that relates my Catholic upbringing as it interweaves several themes: Church history, pre-Christian mythology, and the places where such spiritualities resonate with twentieth-century pop culture.

One of the book's features is a series of seven communion wafers/solar crosses. These images are surrounded by Bruce Rogers–inspired frames letterpress printed from metal typographic ornaments that alchemically shift throughout the course of the book. The wafers/solar crosses animate their own narrative, a transmuting framework that comments on the book’s other threads. I also adapted the sequence into a suite of prints.

To see a post about some of the book's hand-drawn illustrations, click here. I'm excited to start binding the edition of 25 this week. Meanwhile, check out the wafer/solar cross series below.

Friday, March 13, 2015

'Intimate in detail ... wide in scope and variety'

Foreword Reviews has posted a new review of The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales. They describe the collection's stories 'as intimate in detail as they are wide in scope and variety,' and calls them 'vignettes, hints at the lives of characters who come and go throughout the book, often while leaving an indelible mark on the reader.' You can buy the book from Small Press Distribution!