|Artist / Creator
|Place of Publication
|Structure / Binding
|Book excavation. Framed behind glass in box-style dark wood frame.
|11.25 x 14 x 2 inches framed
|Signed & Numbered
An altered book or "book excavation" project by James Allen using a hard cover book titled Pirates by David Mitchell published in 1976. The vivid red cover frames the carved pages revealing historical illustrations. The books title derives from two words left uncarved amongst the illustrations. James tells us, "I found this book about pirates at Powell's Books in Portland. Pirates are seen as villains, yet various countries often employed similar services in the form of Privateers to do the dirty work of plundering the riches of ships flying another crown's flag. Sometimes the pirates seem like heroes carving out a fringe existence by defying the tyrannical royal families. The stories of pirate's treasures were hidden in the pages so I excavated the book to reveal a bit of their landscape full of violence and seafaring." ABOUT BOOK EXCAVATIONS A book excavation is a sculptural work of art made by transforming various types of old books using precise cuts with a scalpel or knife, carving pages one by one until an astonishing new composition reveals itself. This almost surgical focus of dissecting books results in a wholly new object infused with a graphical history that evolves as the artist exposes each layer of the book while cutting around interesting images or text. For most artists working in this remarkable medium, the process is performed without pre-planning or mapping out the contents before cutting into the books pages and/or covers. Finished book excavations often appear as cross sections of the book, carved to create an alternate universe previously hidden between the covers.
Artist BioJames Allen was born in 1977 in Great Lakes, Illinois and currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. He earned a BFA from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2000. Allen's artwork is included in Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed published by Chronicle book (August 2013). His work was exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Museum in The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book in 2009. He's also exhibited across the country in many cities including New York, Chicago, and Miami.