Tag Archives: Rick Griffin

BAM Books Artists Make

In my previous blArt I piped on about B..B..BAM – Beautiful Books By Artist Makers.

a beau bks bam sm

go to https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/b-bam-b-bam/ if you wanna see the last blArt?

I realise that is a bit of a mouthful so let’s refine it.

I have played with the term AB (Artists Books). But BAM seems to ring a bell with me most- Books Artists Make- BAM.

bam clean sm

Then there was BA (BookArt) which also allows in all those beautiful commercial books like they do on the ground floor at Whitechapel’s Books Market. The art of designing the book is a great skill that artists like Eric Gill and David Jury espoused, along with William Morris, Kurt Schwitters, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jan Tschichold http://www.designishistory.com/1920/jan-tschichold/  to name but a few. Thames and Hudson (Hiroshege’s A Shoal of Fishes), Taschen (Hiroshege’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo) and many more have produced commercial quantity books with beautiful feel and design. There are beautiful small press and individual publishers who create editions of gorgeous books. And of course artist/writers who create one-off-unique items which can be seen in exhibitions world-wide. I recently posted a blog about artists books, the gap between their beauty and the public’s not ‘getting’ or not understanding what they are. Even the definition & outcome of the artist’s play or experiment with the form and ingredients of what a book can be are unpredictable!

book art smBa Ba Black Cat have you any…book?

VIP please note – I don’t expect or anticipate the ‘B..B..BAM’ . BAM . BA logo ideas should overtake the term ‘artists book’, it’s the concept that I’d like to promote. The idea is meant to attract people not familiar with artists books and book art into the exhibition, show, fairs and markets in which the wares are being displayed.  I believe there is a need for a good rallying call, like an invigorating ‘quality’ hallmark or symbol to use on publicity material. The ‘pop-art’ similarity is about that stimulating bounce that comes with the onomatopoeia. My logos go back beyond pop art to the world of comic with Herriman, D D Watkins, Bestall and all. My designs are merely suggestions. I wouldn’t wish for them to be adopted but they flag up possibilities. I think the use of BAM or BA would be good on publicity but designed how local people or each book fair/event wants them to be from ‘normal’ typo to Rick Griffin illegible logo. For those of you unfamiliar with Griffin’s work take a look at this http://www.myraltis.co.uk/rickgriffin/galleries_sleeves.htm

Some of the interesting aspects of ‘bookness’:

Artists book’ is a good term (AB)Book Arts’ may be better (BA)


Neither spells out

Nor indicates

Nor defines

Nor limits

The variety

The differences

The various

The qualities

In the making of ‘book

With all the differing components

That comprise

That conspire


To make books!

Babylon used clay tablets

Egypt used papyrus

Tibet used daphne

Magna Carta used vellum

Moses used stone

Kerouac used scroll in On The Road

Medieval monks used parchment

Gandharvans used birch bark

Nowadays we use plastic and vinyl too

The list goes on BAM BAM

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scrolls it’s good.

©Pete Kennedy July 2015