Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: Book-Related Art

For this week's column, we have two artists we'd like to feature, both of whose art is connected to books, albeit in very different ways.  To begin with, Charles Vess' Book of Ballads was recently accepted into the Library of Congress.

The book includes his illustrations of adaptations of English and Scottish ballads, which were written by authors including Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, and Delia Sherman.

We have long loved Charles Vess here at Fantasy Matters, and it's exciting to see his work recognized in this way.  Martha Kennedy of the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division says, “[Vess’] style of contemporary drawings illustrating narrative comic art is only sparsely represented in the Library’s collections and will go a long way towards filling this particular gap in its holdings.”

If you are interested in seeing some of Vess's illustrations and can't afford the trip to Washington, D.C., you can see some of them over at Tor (or, of course, visit your local bookstore!).

The other book-related artist is not someone whose art appears in books, but someone whose art is made out of books--namely, Brian Dettmer.  Originally from Chicago, Dettmer's sculptures have been shown around the world, and bring new meaning to the phrase "bringing the story to life."  His 3-dimensional sculptures out of the pages of books are a wonderful metaphorical representations of the depth that many of us see in stories already.

You can find pictures of Dettmer's work on his website, as well as on his Flickr photostream.  While I find all his work fascinating, I'm particularly intrigued by those sculptures where the original nature of the books is somewhat preserved, so that the sculptures appear to be coming to life out of the pages of these books.  It's a fantastic medium, and one that I hope to have the opportunity to see up close and personal some day.