Part of the CBAA conference was the member showcase where artists had the opportunity to share their work. Originally I’d signed up for a table but later I realized that if I was showing my artists’ books I wouldn’t be able to enjoy and learn from the wealth of other work being shown. It turned out to be the right decision. I spent two hours (and could have spent all day) talking to artists and looking at their work and learning not only about the techniques, content and strategies used in their art making but also formulating a list of questions I need to explore about my own.
I’ll start by telling you about Luz Marina Ruiz. I first met Luz Marina Ruiz in 2010 via one of her artists’ books at the Unbound show at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. I fell in love with her tunnel books: rich and vibrant, mysterious and welcoming.
After we go to any art show, performance or concert Greg and I usually share a meal and discuss the work – one of our favorite conversations after an art show or museum exhibit is for each of us to pick our “top 3” pieces and explain why. On that day both of us picked Luz Marina Ruiz’s tunnel book as our top piece.
I next met her, in person, at Codex and had the joy of seeing many more of her exquisite artists’ books. There is something about the angularity, the dense blackness and the vibrant colors that make her tunnel books particularly successful.
At the CBAA conference we had the opportunity to meet again and, this time, to discuss her techniques. In the tunnel books that I come back to over and over again, the black is printed on a press and the color is hand-painted. In some cases a thin layer of beeswax is also applied. She generously talked me through the entire process and gave me tips to use beeswax successfully. At the close of our conversation I was pleased to hear that Luz Marina Ruiz has joined the faculty at Mills College. I hope to have the opportunity to take a class with her soon!
Next: Laura Russell