Magazine article School Arts

Digital Artists' Books

Magazine article School Arts

Digital Artists' Books

Article excerpt

Publishing has been dramatically affected by computers. Fifteen years ago there was still a middle echelon of graphic service providers, typesetters and such, who have since been retired by a generation of do-it-yourself digital practitioners. According to traditionalists, this is lamentable. But for artists involved in self-publishing, it has been nothing less than revolutionary.

Moving away from Tradition

Two artists who come readily to mind when one thinks of digitally produced books are Philip Zimmermann and Brad Freeman, faculty colleagues in the Design program at SUNY Purchase. Zimmermann, author of the classic Civil Defense, studied with Joan and Nathan Lyons at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. Freeman is also the publisher of The Journal of Artist's Books, a twice-yearly periodical that is attempting to generate informed book related discourse. Both artists are longtime friends of the traditional book arts, Freeman as a printer, and Zimmermann as a color separator. But it took little coaxing to get either to embrace the powerful new technology computers represent.

In 1993 Zimmermann published High Tension at the VSW with a production grant from the Kodak-sponsored Montage '93 International Festival of the Image. Like Michael Snow's Cover to Cover, High Tension is a tour de force of visionary design, and a challenge to read. Into its ninety-six color pages, die-cut in the shape of an explosion, Zimmermann has packed everything from his son's tricycle to the stars eternal. …

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