Description of Program
The School of Art at the University of Arizona in Tucson Arizona houses the Book Art & Letterpress Lab. The lab has grown from a single press in a small room to a 2000+ square-foot space with ample book making and letterpress equipment including laser engraver and RISO duplicator.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Book Art & Letterpress Lab hosted workshops and many visiting artists including, Dafi Kühne, Julie Chen, and Amos Kennedy, to name a few. There are workshops and two main classes that are held in the Book Art Lab: Letterpress and the Multiple and Visual Narratives & the Artist Book. Both of these courses combine undergraduate and graduate student enrollment and are interdisciplinary. There is not a degree plan in Book Arts, but graduate students can utilize the book form, processes and equipment for developing their thesis work throughout their degree program.
The following projects were created by students in Visual Narratives & the Artist Book Fall 2021, which was the first semester back in the classroom for many students. The book form was new for most of the students and the semester involved a series of demonstrations, field trips, and two projects. Graduate students developed their own voice in their assignments that were open-ended of the simple (or complex) combination of text and image. The University of Arizona holds large collections of artists’ books both in the Special Collections of the University Library and in the Poetry Center. We were fortunate that the doors were open, the first time since lockdown, for students to view selections from the collection for inspiration and historical precedents.
Assistant Director & Professor, School of Art
The University of Arizona
N is for Nightmare
Media: inkjet printing with alcohol based ink drawings
Size: 6’ x 10.25” each
This three volume set of accordion books line shelves mounted to the wall. Installing the work in this way allows for the book to be read without interruption by turning pages, and also allows for the pop-up elements of the book to allow for visual rest. The linear representation of my dreams is juxtaposed against the twists and turns of how I experienced them. This organizational process, was not only therapeutic, but also through the bright colors and playful aesthetic, allows audience members to approach the work with intrigue and childlike curiosity.
221 W. Limberlost Dr.
Tucson AZ, 85705
Media: Risograph-printed book
A loose narrative in images – capturing a year of living transiently as seen through Minneapolis skylines, stomping grounds, messages embedded in the environment, and the shifting of seasons. Illustrations, layout, printing and binding were completed between 2019 and August 2021. The book is Risograph-printed in fluorescent orange, lime green, light gray and medium blue. 5×7″, 80 pages, perfect-bound by hand inside a vellum cover.
721 East Adams St. #2
Tucson, AZ 85719
Media: Screenprint, letterpress, and vinyl on paper, 3″ x 5”
Home Improvement started as a joke that quickly turned into a wildly exciting project. As accessible as sex is, it’s still seen as taboo, so much so that people look for alternatives for common sex toys in hardware stores. I found several blogs and subreddits devoted exclusively to this task and selected the subject matter from these lists. All of the imagery was found using google on my phone. The size of this book is meant to mimic the way that I viewed and collected the original imagery for this piece.
1968 W Amy Dr
Tucson, AZ 85705
Aaron Sparks Bugaj
Media: Leporello Book, Digital Image Trace of Google Earth Satellite Imagery on Cougar Digital Natural Long Grain 70lb Text
Size: 5inx8in (96in unfolded)
River Book is an exploration of personal memories, meditations, and poetic reference to the ways in which rivers have weaved through my life. Short, almost spoken-word memories and thoughts weave through oxbows, channels, urban aqueducts, deserts, and jungles of the Amazon, the Red, the Colorado, the Mississippi, the Green and other rivers from around the world. Just like rivers are fractals throughout our universe, so are the memories, interactions, and joyful moments we experience in relationship to them. Our memories and joy might fit together like puzzle pieces, the way that these rivers do.
Aaron Sparks Bugaj
20 S. Panorama Circle
Tucson AZ, 85745