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Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo Artists Book Fair’

Here’s the final installment of my report from the book fair! I’ll jump right in with the eye-candy…

Tokyo Cultuart by Beams

Tokyo Cultuart by Beams

I love the fact that publishers Beams built a cabin-shaped booth, complete with shelves, books, and shingles. Adjacent to this setup, they had a screenprinting station: each day, they handed out free t-shirts and folks would que up to pull the squeegee…

the zines of Soda Design...

the zines of Soda Design...

Did you look closely at Soda Design’s table? Get an eyeful of that show announcement — it’s envelope shaped! The zine “Frei” is great looking on the inside…

Red Fox Press represented by MediaBus/Yebisu Art Labo

Red Fox Press represented by MediaBus/Yebisu Art Labo

This one’s for my friends over at Red Fox Press (hi Francis!); it was super to see these little books on the wall! I’ve long admired Red Fox Press’s work, but since they’re in Ireland, it’s rare that I get to see the full range of their work in one place. It was a treat to talk with the Yebisu Art Labo vendors, and say “oh yeah, the people in these books are all friends of mine!”…

Nishidate-san's mixed media zines and prints...

Nishidate-san's mixed media zines and prints...

Nishidate-san had some amazing prints that I fell in love with immediately: the prints were mixed media collages, incorporating ledger papers, tissue paper, gouche, and pen. They were all in subtle shades of white and buff — beautiful. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to say hello, since his table was always crowded with people.

"InsideOut" -- mapping Tokyo's art spaces...

"InsideOut" -- mapping Tokyo's art spaces...

3331 Arts Chiyoda was the perfect place to have the book fair: formerly the site of a preschool, the building has been turned into a multi-level arts venue. The first floor comprises a cafe, exhibition space, and a few little shops; upstairs there is more exhibition space, as well as artists studio space. “InsideOut” was a show in the upstairs gallery space which turned the entire space into a map of all the galleries and art spaces in Japan — all four walls comprised the entire country. It was interesting to see a visual representation of what’s going on in the arts throughout Japan. Places like Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto were filled with little brown post-it notes, whereas less populated areas weren’t as well represented. I think it also says alot about the folks who probably come through the gallery space, and where they’re traveling from…

you better believe it!

you better believe it!

At the end of the weekend, this was the sign that left a warm fuzzy feeling. また来年ね!

Once the fair ended, my vacation could begin in earnest. So far, I’ve spent the last couple of days on “stationery safari”…I’m happy to report that 文具(stationery) is NOT an endangered species here in Tokyo. Tomorrow I hope to have a rundown of some of the cutie things I’ve been finding, as well as some “day in the life” pictures…

Keep those questions coming! You know I love to answer them. Is anybody out there looking for anything special, in the way of envelopes/paper/office supplies? 🙂
–JH

PS: one of the cons of Tokyo: the love of canned muzak. So far today, I’ve heard clinky-Casio piano versions of Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and “Cocomo” by the Beach Boys — both songs I detest. Ugh. However, for those of you, like me, are in love with The National: I heard “Bloodbuzz Ohio” over the speakers at Tokyu Hands. Go figure.

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Some photos from the fair!
These are mostly pics of new friends/other vendors. In the next day or so, I’ll post additional photos of interesting books and other funny things I saw at the fair…

Mari Yano's "Mizuisu"

Mari Yano

This was one of my favorite projects, and I know exactly why. Mari’s book “Mizuisu” captures the process of a book in transition, and is all mixed media textures and organic color. I bought the offset printed book the moment I saw it; on days two and three, she had the actual books at the fair. Thick with paint and ink and texture, they are some of the best altered books I’ve seen. And that’s saying alot.

Anna Gleeson

Anna Gleeson

“Goodbye Shoes” by Anna Gleeson is an artists’ book that nearly every girl can identify with. Six different pairs of shoes, six different scenarios…the book is gocco printed and delicious. It’s in the same vein as Sue King’s “Redressing the Sixties” and is utterly charming.

the many zines of Invisible School

the many zines of Invisible School

These guys kept me laughing all weekend long, mostly because they were so serious about not taking themselves seriously. They also had a posse that hung out in our corner of the room, providing instant rockstar status…

Mon Mon Press -- one of my faves!

Mon Mon Press -- one of my faves!

Another one of my faves. I purchased “Haru no Okurimon (“Gifts of Spring”) for the charming silkscreen illustrations and story (it’s about Mon Mon’s pup!). I also picked up a totebag, and it has become my new “can’t live without” accessory, since the weather is too hot for an actual purse…

Alex of A/B Books

Alex of A/B Books

Alex Buhler creates beautiful things; I want everyone to know that. He’s also a great guy to spend a weekend with. Swiss-born, he has spent the last year living in Tokyo and has recently completed the CCA Research Program in Kitakyushu, Japan.

close up of some zines by Rain or Shine Press

close up of some zines by Rain or Shine Press

You know what I love? Anything that incorporates maps and old papers. (that’s really no secret to anyone who reads this blog…) So when I saw that Aya of Rain or Shine Books had a zine that incorporated both of these things into one zine, I knew the weekend was going to be just fine!

Aya of Rain or Shine Press

Aya of Rain or Shine Press

Aya saved me a couple of times over the weekend, providing necessary on-the-fly Japanese verbage when my language skills couldn’t rise to the challenge. For this, I thank her!

Himaa-san...

Himaa-san...

Himaa was a big favorite at the fair, and somehow always managed to be smiling. What was his secret? He also left our section of the room in awe because he would arrive fresh in the morning with a new project that he had concocted out of thin air the night before.

So, postal people, those are the folks I’ve spent the last three and a half days with. There’s alot to be said for hanging out with a group of people in an extremely hot room, selling zines for three or four hundred yen; it builds a sense of camaraderie and community. Sure, I could’ve gone to the fair as a spectator, but it wouldn’t have been the same. At the end of the day, I’m glad I’m sitting on the vending side of the table.
–JH

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Quickly, quickly, quickly: this will be a fast post for you, dear correspondents. I’ve gotta make it swift (you know, like “USPS overnight mail” kind of fast…) because A) I’m typing this in the hotel lobby and B) my laptop battery’s about to run out of juice. Why am I in the hotel lobby? It’s a long story that I’ll explain later.

For now, some eye candy:

What's my name again?

What's my name again?

Yep. That's a school desk.

Yep. That's a school desk.

Hey look! It's Red Letter Day!

Hey look! It's Red Letter Day!

Zines on display, vertical

Zines on display, vertical

zines on display, horizontal

zines on display, horizontal

Alright. Discuss amongst yourselves, ask questions galore. I’m ready to answer ’em! The next post will feature some of the artists I’ve been meeting, as well as their work.
–JH

PS: did I mention it’s humid here? Yes. Yes, it is.

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I’m back for one quick post, before I zoom off to Japan! I promised everyone that I would post pics of the new zine project, so here goes!…

here's the front cover. Whaddya think?

here's the front cover. Whaddya think?

“Waiting/待っています” is all about people like us: folks who love to write letters, send things through the mail, and count down the days until new postage stamps debut. Written in both English and Japanese, this black and white 16 page zine (with color covers) captures the essence of waiting for the mailman to arrive at your door (or PO box).

For the title page, I used vintage mailing labels to give the reader little bit of “shazaam!” action, when they first open the zine…

look at that vintage label

look at that vintage label!

I’ve never made a long, skinny zine before. It wasn’t any more difficult to put together, but it looks like I’ll have to spend extra postage when mailing it out to people. There’s something to be said about making small zines that fit into regular size envelopes!

my favorite place..

my favorite place...

All the imagery inside the zine comes from photos I’ve taken here and there: the mailboxes outside of Haight St. post office are represented, as well as closeups of mail art or projects that I’ve been working on recently. There are some “special delivery” postage stamps photographed on my kitchen table. Once I had figured out which photos I wanted to include, I used a combo of Illustrator and Photoshop to get everything just so

stamp licker..

yes, I

Once that part of the process was complete, I made a mockup (SO VERY important!), so that I would know where all the pages were going to fall. It’s best to get all of that worked out, before you’re strapped with a bunch of incorrectly made photocopies. When I was happy with the way my mockup looked, I went ahead and xeroxed! Although this zine will be an edition of 100, I’m not making ALL 100 at once; I’ve made enough for the book fair, as well as some extras for my return. I’ll keep you posted when they’re for sale!

    here's what the back cover looks like...

    here's what the back cover looks like...

    I’ve always wanted to create a zine that uses airmail envelopes for the covers. The binding for this project is simple (three hole pamphlet stitch) — I didn’t want to use a structure that would seem too gimmicky or compete with the overall look. I designed special envelopes for the cover, so that the orientation of the zine would be vertical. Did you ever think about the fact that most airmail envelopes have some sort of horizontal design on the front? Well for this project, that meant that folks were wanting to open the book landscape-ways, as opposed to portrait. By creating covers that are obviously portrait orientation, the reader gets started on the right foot, so to speak…

    get a look at that security tint!

    get a look at that security tint!

    The icing on the cake was this: personalized security tint on the inside! How could I refuse? (I couldn’t.) It’s like a little secret hidden on the inside cover of the zine — simply irresistible! Yes, there was shrieks of happiness involved, when I realized that this option could be MINE!

    That being said (written?), you’ve now got a pretty good idea of how my days have been spent. I’ve put in alot of hard (but fun) work, creating all of these goodies for the book fair. Not only do I hope that everything sells (so that I can fill up my suitcase with Japanese awesome to share with you, dear readers!), but I’m curious to know how the Japanese will relate to the things I’ve made. It’s a bit different than creating stuff for book fairs here. Doing a show in the US, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what might be cool or interesting; in Japan, all bets are off. Will the mail art/zines/blank journals just be oddly American items, or will the transcendant power of something handmade rise to the surface and obliterate all language barriers?

    I’ll let you know what happens.

    –JH

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the "good old days" of mail art...

the "good old days" of mail art...

Correspondents near and far: I have a secret to confess to you.
There’s something that I haven’t told you yet, something I’ve been hiding.

I didn’t want to mention it just yet, because I wanted to have a Really Great Surprise for you, something that would be like Christmas and Easter and fireworks on the fourth of July, all rolled up into one fun and sparkletastic/noisy package. I feel like we’ve come to a point in our relationship where I can be honest with you, and let you in on this secret.

Ready?
I’m pretty excited about it.

You see, next week I’m going to be out of town, taking part in (what I hope will be) a fun event. It’s something I heard about way back in 2009 (was it really only last year?!), one of those sorts of things that you say to yourself “I’m going to DO that next time — no excuses!”. The event in question? An artist book/zine fair.

Now that in and of itself is not surprising. I’ve done plenty of vendor fairs in my time: whether it was selling vintage clothing in historic venues or working the Alternative Press Expo as part of Pod Post, I’m no stranger to standing behind a table and talking up “the work”. However this fair will be a little different, a little bit more exotic, so to speak.

By this time next week, I’ll be in -wait for it- Tokyo!!!
look at all the magic happening!

look at all the magic happening!

That’s right. I’m taking part in the Tokyo Artist Book Fair. Imagine if you will: one hundred plus zinesters and book artists gathered together for 4 days, in the same place! I have all sorts of questions that I’m dying to find the answers to: what do Japanese zinesters write about? What sorts of artists books are being made in a place where the artform is still relatively undiscovered? And it’s true: letterpress printing is starting to catch on like wildfire in Japan. Will I see some evidence of this? What is the overall vibe like, at the fair? Will it be similar or different to the DIY and handmade aesthetic which reign supreme at American events like Renegade Craft Fair and the SF Zinefest?

That being said, I’ve been spending the last month and a half putting together paper-y yum yums and mail art tasties, as well as a new zine and reprints of “Red Letter Day” issues 1-3. What follows is photographic evidence of some of the items I’m squeezing into the suitcase, in between typing this entry and waiting for PVA glue to dry…
like Christmas in July, dont'cha think?
like Christmas in July, dont’cha think?
old machines and new perfs!

old machines and new perfs!

I’ve been spending plenty of time over at the SF Center for the Book, using their Rossbach perforating machine to put together these mail art seals. If you’re interested, I’ll be teaching folks how to use this baby, as part of my mail art class in August
delicious! x3...

delicious! x3...

My kitchen table leads a double life. During the day, it serves as a workbench — completely covered with all manner of creative detritus and spilling over with ephermeric bits-n-bobs. At night, it turns back into a kitchen table. Dinner is consumed, conversation is had. Sometimes wine is spilled. But (hopefully) not on the in-progress projects. In the morning, brownie sprites have put everything back in order, and the whole cycle starts over again.
would you be able to send this postcard out into the world?

would you be able to send this postcard out into the world?

Examples of some postcards I’ll be selling individually. I made 60 of these puppies, each one different in it’s own postal way — like an edition of something, but different…
...or this one?

...or this one?

What else is there? Well, some postcard sets. Some sheets of faux postage (Ray Johnson and Mr. Zip). A few — no quite a few — blank journals which use cool papers (ledger sheets/gambling forms/raffle tickets/gocco’d etcs.). I’ll be taking my series of prints titled “Dead Letter Office”. And of course, the new zine.

Ahhh…the new zine.

Because I am so excited about that particular project, I’ll save the details for tomorrow’s post!

You see, I’ve got to keep a few secrets — it gives us all something to look forward to, no? So tomorrow, I’ll regale you with more fabulous photos and tasty bits on the creation of “Waiting/待っています” — ooops!: I let part of the secret slip. You have a title, and soon you’ll have a cover to put with that title!

Signing off for now, and heading to the PO —
–JH

PS: I will (of course) be blogging as much as I can while I’m in Tokyo; I want to keep you in the loop! But to be perfectly honest, I’ll be sending out twitter messages a bit more frequently, so if you want up-to-date, instantaneous info, be sure to keep track of me via @redletterzine!

PPS: to all of you who wrote in to me (both virtually and in-person) about the “Junk Mail” show — thanks so much! I heard word this morning that each and every single piece I created for the show was SOLD! (guess that makes me a sell out: heh heh heh…) I’m thrilled, and couldn’t have done it without your support. And guess what? I have plenty more envelopes to create with, so I bet (wink wink) there will be some more security panels in the near future…

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