Working in close collaboration with Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer, the goal was to design a book to complement his exhibition in the Canada pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The exhibition was composed of a number of bronze sculptures, which were also fountains, that acted as portraits of people and places that had special significance for the artist. Together the sculptures offered a meditation on how personal tragedy and global traumatic events can affect us, even through generations. The imagery and symbols of the sculptures were drawn from Farmer’s personal history, including his relationship with his father and a car accident that claimed the life of his grandfather, as well as more far-reaching expressions of trauma like those related to the Second World War.
The design of the book was based on a children’s storybook that tells a tale through images. The main character is a larger-than-life-size praying mantis, understood as a self-portrait of the artist as a young man. Titled after an Allen Ginsberg poem, “A way out of the Mirror” includes over two hundred drawings deliberately printed on thin paper, to enable the drawing on the verso of the page to show through. The drawings, which were specifically created by the artist for the book, are at once perfectly readable through their simplified style, and poignant through the evocative imagery. At the end of the book a glossary of terms compiled by curator Kitty Scott represents the artist’s approach to the exhibition. The special edition of the book was packaged in a personalized Tyvek pink envelope. When you carefully removed the book from the envelope you would see the stamped title “A way out of the mirror” appear on the spine. Tyvek was chosen for its outstanding water resistance to both complement and withstand Farmer’s sculptural waterworks that were part of the Biennale exhibition. The color pink was chosen to represent the artist.
Project | Honors & Awards
2018 Applied Arts Design Awards | Editorial, Complete Book Design
2018 Graphis Design Annual 2019 | Honorable Mention
2018 iJungle Graphic Design Awards | Gold in Book Design
2018 IDA International Design Awards | Gold in Print Category2018 German Design Award 2019 | Nomination in Excellent Communications Design
2018 International A' Design Award | Bronze in Print and Published Media
2017 36th Annual Alcuin Society Canadian Book Designs Awards | Pictorial First Price
In addition, several other products, such as press kit, letterhead, map and invite was designed and conceived for the launch of the exhibition.