Discarded Books Get A Second Chance in These Towering Installations –
While libraries are certainly safe havens for books, the always-evolving taste of readers and the inevitable wear and tear on each tome means that many books are eventually phased out and destined for the dumpster. Los Angeles native Mike Stilkey works with local libraries to give those books a second chance with his massive art installations. Stilkey arranges the faces and spines of books in groupings of varying size, ranging from a half dozen staked together to thousands-tall-towers that fill public spaces. With a combination of colored pencil, ink, paint, and lacquer, he then paints lively characters using the books as his canvas. The colors, sizes, and titles offer unique blends of backgrounds for dancing couples (both human and feline), dapper birds, and bicycling bears.
Stilkey uses fanciful colors and anthropomorphized animals to add a sense of timeless whimsy to his paintings, which have been exhibited throughout the US. The artist has also traveled the world to create site-specific installations in South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, China, and the Philippines. He will be installing a new work at the LA Art Show in Los Angeles, California from January 23 – 27, 2019. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Facebook.