The Body and Drugs by James Allen -SOLD!


An altered book or “book excavation” project by James Allen.

James tells us, "The Body and Drugs are two books in the Life Science Library series published in 1964 and 1967. I had been wanting to combine two book excavations into one free standing sculpture and these books seemed to lend themselves well to the idea. I notched each book on one side and glued them up like a lap joint in woodworking. They're both filled with wonderful illustrations including prints from early Hindu texts, an early dissection, early pharmacists, and Victorian cure all medicine advertisements. As usual all of the pages are still bound. I simply cut away to reveal the content of these books in a new way. This time I added some gold leaf to accentuate the interaction of the borders created by the covers."  


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 Bio

James 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.