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[BKARTS] Trends



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          CENTRAL NEW YORK BOOK ARTS: TRADITIONAL TO INNOVATIVE
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At Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, Iíve noticed an increase
in assignments using the book form with little or no instruction in that
regard. Consequently, student reaction to their first and usually dismal
attempts at bookbinding has resulted in several solutions.
Some(wealthier) students have hired decent bookbinders to do the job for
them making quite a hit at ëshowtimeí. Others have come into the
Laboratory Press hoping to learn bookbinding in the hour before the
class deadline. The Lab Press does offer a Bookarts and Typography class
through the Communication Arts Department, but it serves design students
learning typography through letterpress with limited bookbinding
instruction.
There has always been the difficulty of having one class or even a few
classes serve all in the Bookarts world. A calligrapher, a bookbinder, a
designer, a letterpress printer, a poet: all have different agendas for
ëthe bookí. I find the catalog of class offerings at the SanFrancisco
Center for the Book fascinating in this regard.

Specificity, I suppose would be my word for the latest trend. One class
for photo emulsion whatever, one class for paper handling, one class for
this, one class for that on and on endlessly.
It reminds me of when I helped the opera company here work with
elementary kids. On paper, in the grant writing it all looked like such
a good match. In actuality it was a piss poor substitute for art in the
classroom. The trend there has been to forget it unless you can teach
100 students at a time. Come on. Thatís not teaching, thatís show
business. Iím also getting tired of hearing myself answer the question:
Why do you think students are coming back to letterpress? My answer has
always been ëto get their hands dirtyí.  Now I see a sad paradox the
machine as nostalgia or retro, retro fluxus. Tell us, Paul. What gives?

Lucky Dare
Otis Lab Press
Otis College of Art & Design
Los Angeles

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