Book Arts Exhibition at The Craft and Folk Art Museum
By Isabella Haro-Uchimura and Isabella Bustanoby
The Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) Visual Art Department worked in association with the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) on an 8-week intensive artist-in-residency program on bookmaking with BookArtsLA’s, Marcia Moore, sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The focus of the program was an exploration of time, place, and memory. AVPA art students were exposed to traditional techniques for printing. Each student was required to create a collage representing their family and a famous LA Landmark, and then transfer it to a linoleum block to be hand-carved for printing. This process was challenging, but students felt fulfilled and gratified by their handiwork and the finished piece. Students compiled their creations into one collective, accordion-fold book. Sophomore AVPA artist, Amalia Camey, explains her excitement for learning a new art form by saying, “The entire experience of learning this new medium has been a struggle, but very fun. It feels fulfilling to work on linoleum to create my work.” Their exhibition, “You Are Here: 34°0’18.117”N,-118°24’6.105”W” will include a 20-page book installation along with other individual projects showing the process of creating their work on display Saturday, April 15th at CAFAM.
Prior to the class instruction, students were invited to CAFAM to help LA artist, Tm Gratkowski set-up his installation for the current CAFAM exhibition, “Chapters: Book Arts In Southern California”. Chapters explores the significance of Southern California artists in establishing the field of book arts from the 1960s to present day. The exhibition highlights over 60 artists, presses, and organizations who explore ideas related to conceptualism, feminism, process, and community building through artists’ books, sculptural forms, small editions, and zines. Students worked with Tm to sort, cut, fold and arrange hundreds of donated books from the West Hollywood library. CAFAM hosted a volunteer day for the general public and AVPA students to help assemble the massive installation. The opportunity for high school students to work with renowned artists is not only rare, but also incredibly valuable for students considering a career in fine art.
Isabella Haro, a junior, worked with Tim one-on-one. She said, “It was enlightening to work with Tm Gratkowski. I never experienced such a tactile form of art making. As a student who only works on flat surfaces, it was extremely interesting to be exposed to this very physical form of sculpture and installation.”
The “Chapters” exhibition was a main point of inspiration for the students, and they were graciously invited to see the opening of the exhibition. The exhibit included works from artists such as Ed Ruscha, Bonnie Thompson Norman, Elliott Pinkey, Patricia Fernandez, Carol Es, and numerous others. CAFAM’s Exhibitions Curator, Holly Jerger, curated the exhibition and AVPA artists visited gallery spaces rubbing elbows with the artists whose work was featured in the show. Senior Arely Hernandez explained, “The CAFAM opening of “Chapters” was one of my most unique experiences of an art showing. I never heard of book arts or had the slightest idea of what it could be. The show was full of extremely creative pieces that had a connection to the written word. As a huge fan of books and reading, I think this concept is brilliant and a new form of expression that I can now pursue.”
Academy art students also took a field trip to CAFAM for a guided tour by CAFAM’s Exhibitions Curator, Holly Jerger. After their in-depth tour of the exhibition at CAFAM, the students visited Marcia Moore’s BookArtsLA. She showed the students traditional printing-press machinery. The huge selection of presses and other bookmaking related materials left the students captivated, as this was the first time most of the students were exposed to printing presses. Freshman, Nick Conroy said, “The printing presses were so old and unusual. There were big ones and small ones, but they all served a purpose. It was really interesting to learn about the process of printing throughout history.”
The art exhibition, “You Are Here: 34°0’18.117”N,-118°24’6.105”W will be on display during the opening reception Saturday, April 15th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Craft and Folk Art Museum located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please call CAFAM, (323) 937-4230.