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This book accompanies an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada of paintings, prints and drawings by Canadian artist Chris Cran. The book includes reproductions of all of the works in the show, along with a number of the artist’s other pieces, and spans from his early career to present day. Cran has experimented with many different styles in his paintings, but one of his characteristic techniques is the use of the halftone dot. The artist produced a remarkable series of paintings using the halftone dot in the early 1990s, and the technique has been carried through to recent work in his series of small round paintings of people’s faces – his Chorus works – that he places around the exhibition space. These works represent visitors themselves, and with their various expressions provide silent commentary on the works that they accompany.
It was essential that the design of this book be sympathetic to the work of this contemporary artist. It was also crucial that the artist’s work was respected, yet at the same time it was important to add another dimension to give depth and autonomy to the final product.
Because the image on the front cover of this book is an altered version of the original artwork, I had to convince the artist that this would be the best approach. It was important to relate to him the value in making a book that would be an object in its own right.
The halftone dot was chosen as an approach for the cover as this technique has been one constant in the artist’s multifaceted career. The color sleeve was incorporated as a way to reference the many layers in this artist’s practice, and the use of one of the Chorus faces on the cover was a humorous nod to the visitor experience. A selection of Chorus works were also used throughout the book as dividers between sections. The rationale behind this was to tie the inside of the book in with the cover and extend the idea of commentary and the importance of the halftone in this artist’s work.
The endpapers was a great concept collaboration between the artist and I to create a unique piece, which brought a personal touch to the book. A spot-UV varnish was used on the cover image to give the image a three-dimensional quality similar to his works.