June 30, 2017
Dave Dyment on Printopolis
Toronto-based artist Dave Dyment is not a printmaker. His art practice includes audio, video, photography, performance, writing and curating, and the production of artists’ books and multiples. Dyment is so fascinated with artist ephemera he maintains a blog on the subject called Artist Books and Multiples.
Thus, Dyment was a perfect candidate to write about the subject for Printopolis, Open Studio’s recently released tome on the current state of printmaking in Toronto and further afield. Dyment’s entry, “Short-lived Phenomena,” appears in the section about print collections dubbed The Collector’s Impulse.
“When an artist produces a print,” observes Dyment, “whether it’s a letterpress or a silkscreen or any of the techniques Open Studio uses, they’re presumably doing it so that it can be purchased or gifted to an art lover or buyer. So in a way, creating and collecting can’t really function without each other.”
Dyment is himself a collector of ephemera: “I like printed materials,” he explains. “I like artist-initiated projects, I like cheap things, things I can buy. You can have a collection of work by some of the best artists in the world simply by signing up for a mailing list, for example, a pamphlet or a poster that was designed by an artist.”
Dyment notes that artist ephemera took off in the 1960s and continues through the present “with areas that artists felt they could take over. A gallery show invite didn’t have to follow the generic gallery template, it could be an artwork in and of itself. So artists started using perforations and die cuts and scratch ’n’ sniff, anything they could do to alter the card or use it for another surface to create art. And that applied to posters and art catalogues to the point where they became books by artists rather than books about artists.”
“You can still buy artist books on the secondary market, at flea markets or thrift shops,” notes Dyment, “and build a collection not with wealth but with determination.”
Dyment thinks Printopolis is a great addition to the canon of books on Canadian art. “New resources are never a bad thing,” he says. “Open Studio has a rich history, a strong group of people they could bring together to contribute to the book. I read the entire thing and I found it pretty interesting. I would definitely endorse it.”
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