This lunchtime I made a very brief visit to the Artists Book Fair at Leeds University. The pieces ranged from books that documented art projects, to books that were art in themselves (not necessarily having any content or being for anything other than display), to art made out of cut up books and maps (like Deckle Edged), to hand-made paper and cards, to small booklets of the kind I’d expect to see at any comic gathering (A5 or A6 size, coloured paper, black and white printing with fairly simple drawings, illustrating conversations or everyday life or a common saying or poetry) (try Artists Books Online for examples of several types). Where is the line drawn? What makes these eligible for something where the catalogue costs at least £5, and others not? Is it a matter of what you declare your work to be? Word-art seems popular at the moment, so if you market something as thoughtful ‘art’ it gets taken seriously, exhibited, and priced accordingly, but if you call it a comic it’s relegated to specialist outlets and dismissed as ‘mere’ entertainment? Seems unfair, but sadly it also seems true.
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