Do not destroy books. That’s generally my mantra. But once in a while an artist manages to convince me that what they are doing is creation and not destruction. One of those artists is Brian Dettmer.
Dettmer acknowledge that some people find his work disturbing because what they see is the destruction of a book. The cool thing? Dettmer acknowledges that this opinion matters, because we think of books as living things, things that evolve and change and grow.
For his part, Dettmer is helping books do just that. He helps us to see something new inside of them because that’s where his art originates — from the inside of the book itself. He seals the outside surface of the book he is work with and then carves into it to reveal images and words in layers.
Part of the reason that he works with books is that he loves their yin and yang and I’m glad he brought this dichotomy to my attention. The words in books create pictures in our minds, but when we look at the images in books we think about them using language. Get it — yin and yang.
One reason that Dettmer is willing to work with books in creating is art is that he does’t believe that books will die out. I’m going to make you watch his video (below) to find out why. And, you really do want to see this video so that you can check out both his creations and how he thinks about the books we work so hard to create.