Get the bunting out, rifle through your wardrobe for your best outfit: there’s a new book out on Landfill Editions. The ever-reliable imprint never fails to impress, and American artist Parker Ito’s limited-edition release P is no exception. Chaotic, colourful, and absurdly creative, it’s the kind of book that makes your eyes bleed and your head hurt in the best way possible.
“There are a few distinct sections,” Landfill’s Hugh Frost tells us. “Notes on P (an essay in Japanese detailing reference points contained in the epic painting ‘P’) which runs throughout the book and is reproduced in a limited Pantone based mono/duo/tri-tone ink scheme, drawings of paintings (a selection of drawings reproduced in full colour made from or as studies for other works), a speculative text on the life and times of Dürer by Dean Kissick, a series of documentation images of the painting ‘P’ installed at Team Gallery in New York (which also includes the multi-layered digital studies partially printed on acetate) and finally the section featuring contributions from eight other artists invited by Parker to reinvent a recurring and evolving semi-self-portrait based figure.”
Check out a selection of spreads from P and a quick chat with Hugh below.
It’s Nice That: There’s no beating around the bush: P is a very, very busy book. How did you rest your eyes after a long hard day working on it?
Hugh Frost: It is. I think that came from trying to structure a very dense set of visuals produced under a number of different personas or approaches, coming from Parker and his studio. Parker basically said, “do what you want”. It was quite liberating setting type that was illegible to me, knowing that any mistakes would only underscore Parker’s concept for the work (partly based on inaccurately translated Asian script tattoos commissioned by Latin character readers) so the kanji became purely decorative, giving a freedom to layout I hadn’t felt before, it was easy to get carried away. Thinking about it now that could have been taken even further with characters upended or inverted, cascading outside of text block boundaries, gone full Ray Gun — maybe for a future second edition.
INT: Why did you decide to go down the spiral bound route? And does that complicate the bookmaking process somewhat?
HF: Binding is usually discreet and hidden, but I wanted it to become visual in this case in the same way the approximately translated Japanese text becomes surface form only to the majority of the readership. It also meant interleaving different sections with different paper type and ink setups was easier to do in shorter sections. And, it allows the transparent pages printed on clear material to be inserted singly and out of turn over the colour layers below. These pages simulate Parker’s process of having a digital drawing translated into both colour oil paint layers with a black key line detail layer screen-printed on top. Spiral binding generally allows you to break the common eight or 16-page section rule for binding, there’s a book called One Language Traveller by FOS that’s a good example of that.
INT: In general, what’s Landfill’s philosophy when it comes to decided what to accept and publish and what to politely decline?
HF: Most of the books are self-initiated or ideas from an artist who might already have made work for an edition of Mould Map. Things happen naturally based around existing relationships and happy accidents of timing or available funding. This will be the last print publication for a while (other than a novella in the works by Cymru Roberts) as Landfill experiments more with publishing online, for example, the next edition of Mould Map, a new series of 30 digital commissions made possible by Arts Council England.
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