Introducing Wild Art
Phaidon editor Jennifer Lawson on the book Jeff Koons - and everyone else - is talking about
Phaidon's Production Controller Paul McGuinness worked closely on the Wild Art book, overseeing in particular the challenging process involved in executing its visually striking, tactile cover.
At Phaidon we usually try things that are recommended against - putting materials together that shouldn't work together - trying to find a way to make them work using different print methods and different finishing techniques until we hit upon a method which results in everything hanging together. Wild Art was a good example of this process. There's a touch of old school DIY fanzine about the design of the book and the content - leftfield creatives doing their own thing outside the system - so we wanted to reflect that and create something that really stood out.
We chose a silver mirror board substrate - a foil covered paper, that couldn't be printed onto in a traditional way. On top of that we wanted to use different finishes - high gloss with black printing on paper with a silver metallic surface over the top and then, on top of that, we wanted to add a matt pink fluoro. We had to find an ink which would work with all of the above but one that also dried pretty much instantly - necessary because of the surface we were printing on.
A lot of the time taken on a book like Wild Art is in the discussion process with our suppliers, during which we try to convince them that what we're proposing is a good idea and that it can actually be done. Getting the initial concept clear and taking it through all the different kinds of tests took months. We like the fact that Wild Art looks very different, looks very strong, looks like no other book and has a certain tactility to it and design book buyers are creative people, they appreciate the book itself as an art object of its own. I think the people who pick up Wild Art up will instantly realise that there is something a little bit extra there for them.
Wild art is the vast proliferation of art forms that occur beyond the perimeters of the established art world. It is graffiti, car art, body art, ice and sand sculpture, flash mobs and burlesque acts. It is portraits made from bottle tops, dresses made from meat, paintings made by animals, light shows, wild buildings that are more art than function, carnivals, giant artworks that can only be truly appreciated from the air, tiny artworks that sit on a pin head, and so much more. These are forms of art that tend to escape the attention of art experts, art academics, art curators and art critics. They fall short of catching the eyes or ears of mainstream cultural channels. Yet these wild forms of art are created by people who should be considered artists, just as the great masters of traditional painting and sculpture are. These are people who have developed considerable skills in their respective media, whether it be the street, a plate of food, a pile of sand or a block of ice, and their creations evoke awe and admiration, just as a visitor to an art gallery might experience.
below for an art library with attitude
The Glue Society
Kevin Van Aelst