Salvaging Art From Junk


On display at the British Academy is work by bookseller-turned-artist Justin Rowe, who creates sculptures from old books:

His intricate hobby began when he wanted to create a Christmas window display for the Cambridge University Press bookshop where he works as a senior bookseller. “My wife saw something about books being turned into art, and I thought, ‘That looks a bit difficult, but I’ll give it a go.'” Mr Rowe uses everyday craft shop implements and scours second-hand shops for the books. “I never use anything that has any kind of value. This really is art made out of other people’s junk,” he said. … The inspiration comes either from illustrations within the books – where Mr Rowe cuts and lifts them into 3D scenes – or “from my own sometimes bizarre imagination,” he said.

On the work pictured above, Rowe says:

[The Kraken] was [a] private commission. The brief was simple – a Kraken taking down a galleon. I tried a few variations for the tentacles, but they all lacked impact. In the end I overprinted the word Kraken many times on the paper before cutting them out. This darkened them, giving a menacing edge.