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Exhibitor Profile: Zatara Press

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Meet Zatara Press.

Richmond, VA

Zatara Press is a press run by Andrew Fednyak and based in Richmond, VA. Zatara endeavors to create photobooks around the idea of a uniquely designed and collaboratively considered process using the minimalist wabi-sabi Japanese aesthetic as a framework.  Each of their photobooks is a unique art object as well a book, and they allow each project to dictate the form and function of the book in order to work in conjunction with the final design. As such, their designs, choices, sizes, editions, and practically every step become different for each book.

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

While I had been creating photobooks before the creation of Zatara Press, I attended the Hartford Art School Limited Residency MFA Photography program, which is centered around the photobook as a theme.  My love of the photobook only skyrocketed from that program.  The first two Zatara Press books were of my own work, which is how many small art book publishing companies start,  but I knew I didn't want the company to be about my own photographs. After meeting Nate Grann of Emptystretch (a former photobook zine publishing company), and having some long conversations, I decided Zatara Press should be made into a larger company so that I could promote other photographers' projects which I felt needed to be seen by our photography community. From that point onward, Zatara Press has only grown bigger every year.

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Why art books? How do you define artists' book/zine/publishing?

Zatara Press designs, produces, and manufactures fine art photobooks. A photobook could be loosely defined as a book centered around the sequential arrangement of photographs that bring about a desired intent or experience to the reader (this varies from each photographer to photographer). Photobooks can be artists' books but they can also be more traditional monographic coffee table books (both ends of the spectrum). Thus, photobooks can be understood as a subcategory of artists' books.

Your favorite art exhibition from the last year?

The Diane Arbus: In the Beginning exhibition at the MET Breuer last year was an enjoyment to experience.

 

Exhibitor Profile: ICA Shop

Meet the ICA Shop. 

Richmond, VA

The new, as-of-yet unopen Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will feature a museum shop. CURRENT Books is pleased to have the ICA shop at our art book fair previewing the kinds of objects they will stock in advance of the institute's opening on April 21, 2018. The ICA Shop will offer a range of art objects, mindfully-considered products and reading materials that aspire to circulate creative thought and ongoing critical discourse. The shop is committed to offering the most relevant art writing and scouts products from local makers to international brands. It aims to be aware and to engage with its community.

Why did the ICA decide to foray into the world of art publishing?

The decision for the ICA shop to carry artists’ books and zines is inspired by the memory of people going from table to table at the Richmond Zine Fest. The energy of everyone discovering new content is so special. It’s like forming a crush on the work. We went to the New York Art Book Fair this past fall and interacted with so many talented thinkers and makers. It’s undeniable that Richmond needs spaces dedicated to the community of art book publishing because it really is a channel for the exchange of information and ideas on a human scale.

Why art books? 

Art books and zines are accessible and more easily distributed. Small presses are platforms for under-represented artists’ voices and are crucial in the exchange of nuanced thinking.

 Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to you and your project?

The Richmond Zine Fest, Ulises Bookshop, and many other concept stores across the world have served as models for this shop and its mission.

Your favorite art-related publication and art exhibition from the last year?

Mucus in My Pineal Gland by Juliana Huxtable and Speech/Acts at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, PA.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

The ICA’s inaugural exhibition, Declaration, and the ICA Shop open on April 21st!

Exhibitor Profile: Pellinore Press

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Meet Pellinore Press.

Baltimore, MD

Ursula West Minervini and Jonathon Poliszuk have operated Pellinore Press in Baltimore, Maryland since 2004. Some of their work is collaborative, while at other times they work independently. Pellinore Press allows the pair to consolidate their disparate artistic productions under one banner. They specialize in letterpress printing from handset type and woodcuts, producing books and prints that explore wordless narratives, surrealist games, and the absurd.    

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

We began by making woodcut and letterpress-printed stationery, prints, and novelties, which we sold at craft fairs. However, as our vision for our work developed and we considered Pellinore Press less as a business venture, we began making more of the work we wanted, such as prints and comics/artist books. Eventually, this led to showing at book and print fairs.

 Why art books?

Implied, explicit, or abstract narratives are central features of our work. Books are a satisfying tactile container for those narratives.

As artists yourselves, do you see publishing as an extension of your practice? 

Publishing is an extension of our practice; we try to attend to as many of the details of the production as possible by making our own woodcut/letterpress covers and doing the binding and trimming ourselves, only outsourcing large digital printing for the comic interiors. 

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

We particularly enjoyed a small Saul Steinberg exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. His use of absurdity to humorously comment on culture interests us.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

Jonathon is working on a large reduction woodcut depicting a Sisyphean journey, which should debut at CURRENT Books.

Exhibitor Profile: GenderFail

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Meet GenderFail.

Richmond, VA

GenderFail is a publishing and programming initiative run by Brett Suemnicht featuring the perspectives of queer and trans people and people of color. The project looks to build up, reinforce, and open opportunities for creative projects that focus on printed matter.

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?
In 2010, I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I was active in the DIY music and arts community in the city. During my time in that community, I was involved in various community spaces that had a large collection of self-published zines by artists, activists, and community members. One space in particular, the Cream City Collective, had a collection of over 1,000 zines by folks around the country. My experience in these spaces helped me realize the power of self-publishing and influenced my decision to self-produce my own publications.

Why art books? How do you define artists' book/zine/publishing?
Art books, artist books, and zines as mediums have a level of inclusivity built into them. My interest in art publishing is the opportunity for people, regardless of their economic situation, to own an original work for an affordable price. I am interested in the power of dissemination, multiples, and the printed image.

As an artist yourself, do you see publishing as an extension of your practice? 
Absolutely, GenderFail is my art practice. GenderFail only exists through collaboration with other people, collective, and groups. I consider myself a facilitator rather than strictly an object maker. The programs we produce are focused on building up systems of support for queer people and people of color. One recent program we have been offering is free use of our risograph machine for queer and POC folks. I want to help people realize their projects without having lack of resources stand in the way of their projects.

GenderFail's current installation at SEDIMENT, up through January 21, 2018. 

GenderFail's current installation at SEDIMENT, up through January 21, 2018. 

Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to you and your project?
I am really inspired by Press Press, a storefront studio and library in Baltimore, MD. Press Press does a lot of programming based on issues of race and racism in the United States. They continue to help pave the way so that immigrants and people have color have a voice in contemporary publishing practices. Pegacorn Press, run by Caroline Paquita, is another major influence for what we do at GenderFail. Pegacorn Press, in my opinion, is one of the most exciting risograph publishing project and one of the few that focuses on the perspectives of queer women and trans folks. I also love the work of Unity Press out of Oakland, CA. Unity is a queer skateboarding collective that also publishes works by queer people and people of color. They often times give away free skate decks to folks and provide free risograph printing to queer youth of color.
Their generosity is a constant inspiration, even though I have little to no interest in skate culture.

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?
Pegacorn press recently released Edie Fake’s Gaylord Phoenix issue #8, and it's incredible. Juliana Huxtable released her first collection of writing, Mucus in My Pineal Gland, through Capricious and Wonder and it is unreal. If you don’t know about Juliana Huxtable you need to Google her and buy this book.
In March, I was in Mexico City for the Material Art Fair and I was able to see Ulises Carrión’s Dear Reader Don’t Read at Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo. Ulises Carrión started Other Books and So in Amsterdam, which was the first artist-run bookstore dedicated especially to artist publications. His publications, writing, and video work have been very influential to my practice. Locally, I loved Nicole Killian’s solo exhibition that was at Sediment Arts. Nicole’s work really bridges a much-needed gap between fine art and design, and brings an important perspective to publishing as a queer woman.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?
I am currently in the process of working with a few artists on new publications including Pallavi Sen and Roxi Azar. Pallavi is working on a publication with her LUNCHY series, which will be an artist framed cookbook with various writings, manifestos, and recipes. I am working with Roxi on a risograph publication from her planet archive that she describes as “a mix of light magic and real life and sci-fi plants and minerals.” I am also continuing to work on two long-term socially engaged projects, The GenderFail Archive Project and the GenderFail Awards Project

GenderFail will be exhibiting at CURRENT Books 2018, and will also be generously exhibiting their collection with us during the CURRENT Books panel March 30. 

Exhibitor Profile: VALET + UDLI Editions

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Meet VALET + UDLI EDITIONS.

Richmond, VA

VALET is an artist run gallery that provides opportunities for emerging and underrepresented artists in the Richmond, VA community. Although they don’t produce any publications, they provide space, resources and an audience for artists to showcase their work. VALET will be sharing their space with UDLI EditionsUDLI uses DIY techniques, such as risograph, xerox, and screen-printing as a platform to exhibit their own artwork as well as artists from around the world promoting community outreach and collaborative practices amongst a diverse network of creatives.

What was your introduction into the world of art book publishing?

VALET’s introduction is CURRENT Books! Although we’ve sold publications at shows in the past, this is the first publication-centered event we’ve curated.

Why art books? 

We see art books as a way to share an artists ideas on a personal and often affordable level. They’re easily reproduced and can be distributed throughout communities much easier than larger works. Although digital copies can be created and distributed in a similar manner, the physicality of a published work creates a more personal connection to the artist and their ideas.

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Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to your project?

With VALET being a space for artists, we are always being inspired by the art community around us. There are so many groups, individuals and institutions that are either publishing great work or providing access to these works. SEDIMENT, GenderFail, Sink/Swim Press, Candela, VCU, and Studio Two Three are all doing things that we think are important to publications in Richmond. 

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

The press we’re sharing a table with, UDLI Editions put out a bunch of stuff last year that we loved, especially Heads #3. SEDIMENT Arts has a whole library of rare publications and showcased a lot of great works from GenderFail’s collection recently. Dialogue No. 4, published by Sink/Swim was a wonderful selection of Richmond artists.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

We have A LOT of exhibitions and events coming up this year that we’re super excited about. Artists who are interested in using VALET to showcase their work are always encouraged to send us a proposal! If you want to know about our upcoming events, join our Mailing List or follow us on Facebook.

Exhibitor Profile: Adam Griffiths

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Meet Adam Griffiths.

Takoma Park, MD

Adam Griffiths is a cartoonist, illustrator, and artist living just outside of Washington, DC. Griffiths earned a BA from MICA in 2004, and has been working as both a professional artist and an arts administrator for over 8 years, contributing to the programming at organizations like the Washington Project for the Arts, Provisions, and more while honing his comic craft. 

In a couple of sentences, please describe the mission of your publishing project.

My goal is to make comic books with as few hindrances on my internal human morality as possible. The images, books, and artworks I’ve made in the past demonstrate the behavior of an imagination that is peaceful, confrontational, racist, universalist, political, amoral. A wildness that trusts.

 What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

I guess I’ve been trying to make comics for many years; I wrote a three-hundred-page graphic novel in high school, but didn’t return to making comics until a few years ago, when I began my writing and drawing my graphic novel project Washington White. I have a background in contemporary art which I’ve also managed to shove into this new suitcase that is my career and calling — a mix of: comics, multimedia and animation, illustration and of course, drawing. So, I’m a voracious reader who has probably thumbed through fifty-too-many very well made art books! 

As an artist yourself, do you see publishing as an extension of your practice? 

Publishing is ‘knowing to share.’ I make A LOT of work, and honestly much of it is utterly inaccessible! Publishing is a reminder to me to not allow my beard to grow past my ankles, to take a survey of what the brain produces and transmit it to a language of multitudes.  

What has been particularly influential to you and your project?

The following list of comics, illustration, and design were influences for my graphic novel, Washington White:

Artists and art that are inspirations to me include Winsor McCay’s “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," George Herriman, Julie Doucet, Mark Alan Stamaty’s "Washingtoon," David Wojnarowitz’s “Seven Miles a Second,” Gary Panter, Jim Nutt’s portraits, Artzybasheff’s machine age illo's, Barney Bubbles’ paste-up design.

Films that have influenced me include Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros,” “The Seven-Percent Solution,” "Putney Swope,” "The Spook who Sat by the Door," “The Strawberry Statement,” “The Adjustment Bureau," and “The Prowler." 

Your favorite art-related publication from the last year?

Right now, I’ve been quite liking Sarah Horrocks’ “Goro” series. Also, Connor Williumson’s "Anti-Gone," was a standout independent comic in 2017.

Griffiths is currently working on four new book projects - visit his table at CURRENT Books 2018 to see how they're coming!

Exhibitor Profile: Elizabeth Graeber

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Meet Elizabeth Graeber.

Takoma Park, MD

Elizabeth Graeber is an illustrator and artist based just outside of Washington DC who has produced illustrations for clients such as Warby Parker, NPR, the Washington Post, and more. Elizabeth produces zines, coloring books, and small guides that she sees as visual, fun, and unique objects.

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

I self-published a book called An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails and sold it on my site. After that, I started making more zines and coloring books and visiting book fairs like the Prints and Multiples Fair at Open Space in Baltimore and the DC Art Book Fair.

Pages from Elizabeth Graeber's "Drawing in Museums" zine. 

Pages from Elizabeth Graeber's "Drawing in Museums" zine. 

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

There is a nicely designed and colorful magazine from Australia called Hello Lunch Lady. Another was an illustrated zine called Fashion Forecasts by Yumi Sakugawa

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

I have a show at the Quirk Gallery in Richmond through February 18. On February 17th (and maybe 18th), I will be drawing custom portraits of people and animals.

"Gathering of Redheads" by Elizabeth Graeber.

"Gathering of Redheads" by Elizabeth Graeber.

 

Exhibitor Profile: The Concern Newsstand

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Meet the Concern    Newsstand. 

Chapel Hill, NC

The Concern Newsstand is dedicated to preserving literacy in paper form in a dying market.  The Chapel Hill / Carrboro, NC area no longer has any used bookstores or magazine stores, for instance, and the Concern Newsstand's Temporary Kiosk offers this service to the community. The Concern Newsstand is an online store as well as a pop-up in local businesses in the Triangle area that sells hard-to-find publications, curated books, and local and international artists’ printed works.

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

I have a background in art myself and later in arts administration as well as wholesale/retail business. This combination of experiences and connections made this project come about.

Why art books? 

Artist books & zines are generally of limited edition and are something very special. It is a tangible medium for one to observe an artists’ thoughts. I am selling art books because they are inspiring to me, and I think the ones I select could be to others as well.

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Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to you and your project?

The Internationalist Bookshop was an inspiration to me.  It was a volunteer-run bookstore in Chapel Hill/Carrboro for over 30 years specializing in alternative and small press materials that just closed last year.

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

I really love the Anni Albers Notebook 1970-1980 by David Zwirner Books.  It’s so cool to see how relatable her sketches were.  The quality of the book is amazing- like the real thing.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

The Concern Newsstand will have a semi-permanent corner at Lump Gallery in downtown Raleigh starting in February. Lump has been around for over 20 years and just recently became a non-profit. It’s an honor to be a part of it. We will continue to have our online store and do pop-ups locally even so.  

Exhibitor Profile: AdHouse Books

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Meet AdHouse Books.

Richmond, VA

AdHouse Books LLC has been a boutique publishing juggernaut since 2002. Over the years, they have won and been nominated for awards within the comic profession (Ignatz, Harvey, Eisner) and the design world (AIGA, Communication Arts, Domtar Paper). Their library of publications is an eclectic mix of sequential and illustrative arts.

What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

Our first published title was Pulpatoon Pilgrimage by Joel Priddy. At the time, Joel was teaching at VCU. A mutual friend, Kelly Alder, made me aware of the work. We actually tried to get other's publishers to produce the book, but none of them got back to us. So, we took what knowledge we had garnered from freelancing and working at Eclipse Comics and made the jump into publishing.

Why art books? 

I prefer the visuals. I have always found words more challenging. I’m pretty open to what I consider art book/zine/publishing. So many tools can be used to convey whatever message a creator is trying to communicate.

As an artist yourself, do you see publishing as an extension of your practice? 

Back when I was doing anthologies, I would actually publish my own work. Nowadays, I’m either helping with book design or the other challenges facing small press publishers.

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

Just in December, I read In Pieces: Someplace Which I Call Home by Kurt Ankeny. Part travelogue (Massachusetts), part comic, part art book… it all added up to be an enjoyable read. Kurt has family in Richmond, so I got to enjoy a dinner with him over the holidays. One of my favorite art exhibits last year was at the MOCA in Virginia Beach - Wayne White had a show called Monitorium that was fantastic!

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

In 2018, we will be releasing the collected main story from Pope Hats called Young Frances. We will have at least one (and possibly more) copies of the book at CURRENT Books.  We hope attendees will stop by to take a look!

What is an Art Book Fair?

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What is an art book fair?

Who, what, and why? 

An art book fair brings small publishers and presses, individual artists, artist collectives, and zine makers together to exhibit and sell their work. Much like an art fair, an art book fair is comprised of exhibitors that bring their individual art objects to sell under one roof. However, unlike an art fair where exhibiting galleries often have brick-and-mortar spaces, many exhibitors at an art book fair may not have a physical storefront where they sell their work. This is the beauty of the art book fair: it gives the public first-hand access to creators and artists that they might otherwise never come into direct contact with. At an art book fair, not only can you buy book-based art objects, but you can meet the artists and publishers that produced them.

Book-based art objects are diverse. They encompass a range of media, topics, and formats. At an art book fair you might find illustrated comics, antiquarian editioned artists' books, monographs, photo books, photocopied zines, and more.

Additionally, a robust publishing community is a key component of a thriving art community. In the last several years, art book fairs have been popping up around the country. The most ubiquitous event in New York, the New York Art Book Fair, is hosted by artists' book store Printed Matter. A partner event exists in LA, and recently art book fairs have appeared in Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, among other places. 

CURRENT Books will establish a similar but unique platform in central Virginia. Instead of hosting hundreds of exhibitors from around the country, CURRENT Books highlights regional book artists and publishers through a curated set of exhibitors and expanded programming. CURRENT Books is dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of arts publishing, print media, and other book-based practices to further raise awareness of these often under-examined facets of art production. Stay tuned for close-ups featuring our exhibitors, detailed posts exploring different areas of book arts, and more!