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Picture books entail unique craft, abstract art

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, junior Dana King chronicles her twice-a-month visits to ArtHop.

As part of my pre-ArtHop preparation, I searched Google for the offered venues in downtown Fresno this month.

Unfortunately, not many galleries were showcasing their art, and the available exhibits open to the public were ones I had already visited.

After more Internet searching, a new art topic appeared on the screen: book art. I did not understand exactly what this was, even after much more specific Internet searching.

So, in order to widen my knowledge on the subject, I chose to visit this gallery.

Fresno City College displayed the book art in its Art and Space Gallery, where I was introduced to a compelling and exquisite collection of art.

Picture books stood on sporadically placed pedestals within the room. However, the term “picture book” does not do the art justice. Rather than illustrated children’s books, each book is uniquely designed from cover-to-cover and presents a message through abstract pictures, illustrations or poetry.

Of all the art I have seen so far, this type of art was the most creative idea and the most intriguing. To call the pieces mere picture books is an understatement.

Despite the high quality of art, this venue lacked a professional atmosphere. No artist was present, and as a result, those who visited were not able to learn more about the works.

In addition, three bored-looking college students were overseeing the art to ensure its safety. No one knew much about the art, and the room was essentially empty.

However, the art was still worth learning about, and I encourage those interested to research this topic to learn about the many workshops that are offered. An organization which specializes in the forms of book art and offers educational workshops is the San Francisco Center for the Book. Their next meeting will be held on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.

Though this gallery was stationed at an unprofessional location, the value of this creative form of art was worth the trip.

For more information on ArtHop, read the Jan. 10 column, Themed paintings combine traditional, modern techniques.

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