Human Canvas - by Wesley Channel
Body paintings by Alexis Logwood
Edited by Collier Brown and published by Steven Albahari
21st Editions, 2019
French-style fine binding with laced-in boards. Bound in pale pink buffalo skin with back-pared onlays in pink and white goatskin, hand-dyed calfskin and handmade green paper. Onlays are embellished with embroidery floss and foil tooling in both matte and metallic pigments. Teal leather wrapped endbands. Mauve leather edge-to-edge doublures with hand-dyed craquelle calfskin inlay. Flyleaves in midnight blue and burgundy endpapers.
31cm x 25cm x 2.6cm - Completed in 2020
The goal of the binding design is to excite the viewer before they experience Wesley Channell’s work. In order to do this, I chose to focus on elements of Channell’s work that lured me in. Such as the texture of paint and how it moves across the female body. I felt particularly inspired by Channell’s interpretation of Jackson Pollock’s paintings and selected one of these images to guide my design.
This image was cropped on the binding in such a way so as to disguise the shape of the body until the book is fully opened. It was my intention to use texture and color to highlight the artist’s work and not to sensationalize the female body.
Creating a tactile experience was a priority for this design. The silhouette of the body was layered over three levels to create more dimension than the typical flat surface of a binding. The Pollock inspired photograph informed my color choices and materials. Throughout the design I incorporated a mix of materials such as, goatskin leather with lush grain, smooth hand-dyed calfskin, and handmade laid paper. The overall design was set on a pale pink buffalo skin which offers a neutral backdrop and alludes to the feminine aspect of Channell’s work. Movement and texture was added through the use of hand embroidery and foil tooling. The embroidery is the pulse of this design, pulling in the eye and creating detailed movement across the binding. The foil tooling builds from the embroidery, offering more depth and hints of metallic pigment.
The design of the binding is bold through its use of a bright color palette and extensive embroidery and tooling. When opened the viewer is offered a pause through a solid wash of mauve leather and midnight blue paper. A small inlay of hand-dyed calfskin gives a nod to Alexis Logwood, who paints the female models under the direction of Channell.