23 Artists Who Upcycle Old Texts To Create Beautiful Book Art

July 7, 2014

Depending on whom you ask, repurposing books is either beautiful or blasphemy. The very idea of cutting up pages with an X-acto knife or pulling a leather cover off an old novel to make a purse is enough to make some book lovers wince. But the artists featured below argue that they are not so much destroying as they are giving forgotten volumes a new life.

Many of the pieces here were created from books that nobody had cracked open in years, and like outdated science textbooks would probably have soon found their way into the recycling bin. Of course, this argument doesn’t work as well for the art pieces fashioned out of still-revered vintage novels. Although book upcycling is a controversial art, its physical beauty is undeniable.

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Book Art Landscape

“It is recycling, but not just in the material sense; it’s a recycling of ideas, images, text, and textures from our cultural past. We pull from the past to make something new, the way art always has.” --Brian Dettmer, from the preface of Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed Source: Wordpress.

Book Art Bearings

“Baby, I’ll give you the stars!” This piece, Bearings, is from an exhibit of cut book illustrations by Thomas Allen called Beautiful Evidence. Using only science textbooks for the series, he created sweet--but not saccharine--little scenes of people interacting with astronomy and other scientific concepts. Source: Inhabitat

Book Art Book Lamp

This beautiful lamp, Orbit, is just one of several styles of “booklamps” made by Michael Bom and Antoinet Deurloo of Bomdesign in Rottingham, the Netherlands. Source: Travel Between The Pages

Book Art Bridge

Jodi Harvey-Brown of Wet Canvas Art in Delta, Pennsylvania, sculpts books to reflect the stories they tell, like the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” and the classic Johann David Wyss novel, Swiss Family Robinson. This one, Parisian Bridge, was commissioned by a jewelry designer and depicts a couple in love in the City of Lights. Source:

Book Art Cascading

Alicia Martín’s Cascading Books, or Biografias, was an over the top, 5,000-book art installation featured in various locations across Spain and the Netherlands. A wire mesh frame gave the mass of unused volumes the illusion of being poured like a liquid. In 2012, she also created an upcycled book art installation in which hundreds of novels were shaped into a giant doughnut. Source: PXL Eyes

Brian Dettmer Art

To say that New Yorker Brian Dettmer’s book autopsies are complex is a massive understatement, as the work here proves. What’s even more amazing is that he doesn’t plan ahead before he carves. To see a bit of his process, watch his profile on CBS News. Source: Blogspot

Headboard Art Work

Kassandra Utzinger of the blog Design Every Day in Vancouver, Canada, concocted this oddly soothing headboard idea. DIY here. Source: Design Everyday

Jewelry From Books

Jeremy May has created a unique and environmentally-friendly process of jewelry-making. Each piece consists of hundreds of book pages that are pressed together, laminated, and shaped. The book that gave its pages to create the ring, bracelet, or necklace then becomes a jewelry case; the carved-out space holds the piece perfectly. This necklace is named “O MΕΓΑΛΟΣ ΨΑΡΑΣ,” which, according to Lexilogos, is Greek for “The Big Fisherman.” Source: Little Fly

Book Art Log

Made from old paperbacks, Julie Dodd’s art installation, Illegal Logging, was meant to call attention to how far the logging industry oversteps its boundaries and to the plight of old-growth trees that are in danger of being felled. Source: Seattle Pi.

Book Art Longmen

Guy Laramée carves landscapes and scenery into books, painstakingly shaping them to reflect actual artifacts and terrain, like China: this one, Longmen, is from his Great Wall series. Source: Guy Laramée

Nancy Drew Clock

This adorable Nancy Drew clock is made from a real copy of The Secret of the Old Clock. Brandon Wiley of Wiley Designs stocks his Etsy shop full of a variety of books converted into clocks. Source: Etsy

Book Art Nightlight

A circus elephant night light for a nursery or bedroom. Using a vintage dictionary print and a standard electrical box, The Rekindled Page in Savannah, Georgia created this delightful little lamp. Source: Etsy

Ekat Panikanova

Russian-born artist Ekaterina Panikanova, who now splits her time between her hometown of St. Petersburg and Rome, created this work using vintage books, paint, and a visionary mind. This is just one piece from her stunning Errata collection, in which she approaches the books’ pages as part canvas, part mosaic. She uses open books to symbolize the human psyche, allowing her to search within herself, page by page. Source: Lamono Magazine

Sherri Green Book Art

Sherri Green of The Library Laboratory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, turns old books into planters and sells them at local craft fairs. She has two day jobs, so the fact that she got some good press from the Huffington Post in December 2013, should be a big help in getting her business off the ground. She takes orders via her website. Source: The Library Laboratory

Susan Hoerth Book Art

Susan Hoerth of The Abandoned Attic in McAllen, Texas, started with an old illustrated book of Edgar Allan Poe tales and came up with this macabre offering. Pictured here: “The Black Cat,” “The Gold-Bug,” a pile of plague-ridden skulls from “The Masque of the Red Death,” and many other bizarre characters and objects from his spooky and often grotesque stories. Source: Etsy

Book Art Skullduggery

It’s about time we hit upon some graphic novels. James Allen of Seattle calls his work “excavations.” As he cuts, he reinterprets the book’s narrative by creating new scenes with its existing artwork. This piece is entitled Skulduggery after the only word Allen chose to unearth. Source: The Huffington Post.

Book Spine Rug

This may look like a cool floor mat, but it’s really too fragile for everyday use. For the art piece Bibliophilism, Pamela Paulsrud of Chicago, Illinois transformed leather book spines into a rug that would be quite at home in a dusty Victorian-era gentleman’s study. Can’t you just smell the pipe tobacco? Source: Pamela Paulsrud.

Stack Paintings

Los Angeles artist Mike Stilkey builds his canvases with stacks of books, then paints on their spines using a mix of ink, lacquer, paint, and colored pencil. His work mainly consists of portraits of pensive humans and anthropomorphic animals; this one is titled Times of Uncertainty. Source: LA I'm Yours

T Rex

Madame TRex is an art print on an antique dictionary page by Madame Bricolage of Warsaw, Poland. Works like these are all the rage on Etsy.com (for the Etsy-uninitiated, it’s a website where artists and craftspeople sell their wares); many shops offer similar prints. Source: Etsy.

Book Art Tree

A little clay man sleeping under a book tree. This sculpture, one in a series, was created from books and clay by Daniel Lai, aka Kenjio, of Knoxville, TN. Source: Over Blog.

White Rabbit Art

Janie Jones of Madame Treacle in London, UK, cut a page from a vintage copy of Alice in Wonderland and added this color print of the ever-nervous White Rabbit, who is obviously late for an important date. Source: Etsy

Wreath From Book Pages

Paper flowers are certainly nothing new in the arts and crafts canon. But Katie Lloyd of Anthology on Main in Houston, Texas has taken the craft to a higher level in her variety of wreaths, bridal bouquets, and other gorgeousness folded from old book pages. The joy of catching the bouquet at a wedding fades over time as natural flowers wilt and die, but book-paper flowers can continue to display that joyful memory for many years. Similarly, this wreath can be stored and reused. Source: Green 4 U.

Su Blackwell Book Art

We’ve saved the best for last. This woman’s art may stop your breath as you scroll through her website’s gallery. Su Blackwell of London, UK, creates the inner world of a book, often famous novels or fairy tales, in intense three-dimensional detail. This work, A Guide to Edensor, Derbyshire, shows how intricate her art can be. Source: The Break's Over.

This Incredible World Cup Art Will Make You Love Soccer

July 5, 2014
World Cup Art

Source: Tes One

There are few events that captivate the world like the FIFA World Cup. And while the road to the 2014 tournament has been plagued with its fair share of civil unrest and World Cup controversies, these incidents have been largely overshadowed by worldwide excitement, incredible victories and hometown pride. The FIFA tournament has also had a huge impact on the art world. From metallic selfies to soccer ball paintings, this World Cup art is just as intriguing as the games themselves.

Golden Selfies

London-based artist Emma Allen recently posted pictures of herself as the 2014 World Cup trophy. To mimic the golden sheen of the original, the 33-year-old artist doused herself in gold body paint, and then twisted her arms into the shape of the trophy. A swimming cap smoothed her head into a slick orb, and a simple black pillow created the illusion of a dark background. Allen’s World Cup art ignited instantly on the internet, garnering hundreds of thousands of views and a shoutout from Ian Wright, a player on England’s soccer team.

Woman Creates Trophy From Body

Source: Simply Samad

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6 Of The Most Absurd Performance Artists In The World

June 29, 2014

Performance art is a deliberate attempt to interrupt the monotony of daily life and catapult its viewers into a heightened state of awareness. Without further ado, here are some of the world’s most prolific – and absurd – performance artists.

Marina Abramović

Serbia-born and NYC-based Marina Abramović is without a question the most famous performance artist in the world. She began her career in the early 1970s, fascinated by questioning the limits of the body, the possibilities of the mind and the relationship between performer and audience.

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Painted Typography That Will Blow Your Mind

June 28, 2014

It would be hard to explain Pawel Nolbert’s painted typography to a friend. The images flaunt characteristics of a painting—brushstrokes, paint drips and sometimes even the paint canisters themselves—and yet they the painted typography images from Nolbert’s Atypical series are mixed-media masterpieces unlike anything you have ever seen before.

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Artist Uses Fluorescent Spray Paint To Create Glowing Art

June 21, 2014

If you can avoid the dub step, you’re in for a treat. Artist iNo utilizes a spray paint that absorbs ultraviolet light and illuminates the space in which it’s used. It’s pretty neat if we do say so ourselves.

Barry Underwood’s Magically Surreal Photography

June 21, 2014
Abstract Light Installations

Rodeo Beach, Source: Barry Underwood

Set against a forested, earthy backdrop, the luminescent glow in Barry Underwood’s photographs is startlingly beautiful. Yet the colorful, glowing elements are much more than photographic manipulation. Underwood uses a combination of LED lights, luminescent materials and photographic effects to create each of the abstract landscapes in his work. The resulting images are magical, curious and effortlessly intriguing.

Barry Underwood Wendover II

Wendover II (For John), Source: Barry Underwood

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