Julie Chen, book artist and book arts educator, founded Flying Fish Press in 1987 in Berkeley, California, and has been producing unbelievably amazing bookworks ever since. Exploring the sculptural and interactive potential of the book form, she challenges and literally re-shapes our notion of what a “book” can be, both writing and illustrating her projects, endowing both textual and visual elements with further layers of meaning by the way in which they are physically assembled.
There is usually a celebration of the reader-as-user, with interchangeable structural elements incorporated into its meaning. Personal Paradigms works like a board game, while True to Life allows the reader to make a selection from a range of options. Full Circle and Glimpse, meanwhile, have little windows which reveal the various combinations of words and images, as chosen by the viewer. Chen often designs digitally, but each work is letterpress printed and hand-bound. The result is a playful array of limited-edition publications that celebrate craft and physical presence as much as the fluidity of meaning.