Book artist and print-maker, Kay Rodriques, uses bookmaking and hand printing to express ideas and ask questions about our place in the world. Her careful use of text and original artworks combine to make each of her books a creative/artistic physical object as well as affordable art that is meant to be held, touched, interacted with and enjoyed. Her first book in her “Jamaica Series,” is A Saltfish Tale, which made its debut at the Bay Area Book Fair in Berkeley on May 4-5, 2019.
Books are available via my Etsy shop.
You can view excerpts from book 2, "My Grandfather is a Lime Tree" published in 2019/2020 here.
Text from "A Saltfish Tale"
A Silent Hare Tale II. Across the kala paini
In the beginning Took
There was a boat Took
There were many Us
Boats Into deep blues and greens
Boats Into the Caribbean
Where imported saltfish
Was the only protein I had
Was the only protein I had
I am a painter, book artist and storyteller. I use the ambivalent nature of artists’ books to challenge the idea of what makes a book a book and what makes art art. Through this art form, I can make portable, affordable art that is available beyond gallery and museum walls.
Mark-making and chance are important parts of my work and so my books -- many of them examinations of migration, trade and place-making -- are completely hand printed. Hand-stamped words are accompanied by hand-drawn designs that I screen-print or carve into woodblock and linocuts and then hand-print by burnishing or rubbing. The nature of hand-printing means there may be the occasional upside down letter, and that too, is a challenge to the notion of the perfectly printed, mass produced book.
As as an artist whose aim is to tread as lightly as possible on this planet, this kind of artmaking is not only eco-friendly, it also allows me to live in and create in the smallest of spaces (think very nearly, tiny house!). When I want to create larger works, I join together pages or sheets of paper into an accordion format that can be folded and unfolded, displayed or stored.
I use many different mediums, such as clay, woodblocks, watercolors and recently have gotten back into using oils. Why? Because they are so expressive and there are so many different mediums that you can mix into them to give your marks and brush strokes different feelings and moods. Mark making is an important part of my work and so you will rarely see a satin finish type of work in my repertoire. But you never know! I keep experimenting and experimenting because I like discovering new and old media.
I enjoy hiking in my spare time and many of my pieces are directly influenced by these hikes and nature. I love recreating plants and wildlife in my work. You will also find some imaginary scenes too, like the hare in my logo -- she plays the flute.
Recurring themes in my work include the built environment, community and place, and memory and personal history. I also enjoy hiking in cities, big and small.