I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. Up until now, I’ve been able to work in relative isolation, making small editions of books that were seen by a small group of people. All of that is starting to change now. Although the group of people seeing my work is only a little bit bigger at this point (going from very small to not-as-very-small), it is now being seen and read by some people who are very well established in the field, people whose work I respect and admire. Having them read the work is very exciting. It’s also slightly terrifying. Funny how the two often go together. These things, this life, never goes how one expects it to. So I am anxious to see what happens from here.

To review (my position): I have been making books for almost nine years. I graduated with my MFA a little more than a year ago, and have been in the Bay Area for almost as long. I turned 29 this month. I work full-time as a letterpress printer at a small commercial studio. Over that past year, I have released 3 books. I want to ramp that up. I want to raise the stakes.

It’s strange, to be suddenly in a conversation. This blog is part of that, as I use it to announce things, and more often to sketch out critical and theoretical positions on various bookish/artish topics. And I’m seeing how this works. I’m learning what it means to be “out there.”



As it must.



I thought that I would put word out that I am looking for a new writer to work with on a chapishtypebook. Any suggestions?


Narrowhouse has started a new blog. They are getting ready to release the i.e. Reader, which is an anthology collecting the work of an amazing lineup of contemporary poets that have read as part of the i.e. Reading Series in Baltimore. It's going to be a hell of a book.



If anyone has been sweating the deadline for the MCBA prize, you’re in luck. The deadline for applications has been extended to March 20. An email went out yesterday on the BookArts Listserv, from Jeff Rathermel, the artistic director:

"We have received several emails concerning logistics from members of the international book artist community so we have chosen to extend the deadline for entries for the MCBA Prize. This should allow ample time for the receipt of materials and for the timing of banking transactions.

Entries for the MCBA Prize are now due March 20, 2009.

In total, over $8,000 will be awarded to four finalists and one winner.

The MCBA Prize, a new international honor awarded by Minnesota Center for Book Arts, is the first of its kind to recognize book art from across the field and celebrate the diversity of this vital discipline. All artists who use the book format as their primary means of expression are encouraged to apply. A distinguished panel of jurors, themselves leaders in the field, will consider all eligible work, from hand-printed fine press books to inexpensive pamphlets, to one-of-a-kind sculptural works. The winner will be announced July 25, 2009."

For more info go the Minnesota Center's site: http://www.mnbookarts.org/

Good luck!



Great comment from the NY Center for Book Arts about their thoughts on how and why their residency program, programS, actually are set up the way they are. The comment is on the post "MCBA Prize..."

I figured that yesterday's post may be a bit contentious. But it's my hope that such writing can promote discussion. Go blog go!

Check out the other great stuff on the NY Center for Book Arts site:



So, it appears that I have set up Paypal functionality for this site. Purchasing books is now fun and easy. You can find “Add to Cart” buttons on the sidebar and at the bottom of individual Catalog postings. Only books that are relatively low cost are for sale via Paypal. If you’re interested in making a larger purchase, please contact me directly at newlightspressATgmailDOTcom.

You do NOT need a Paypal account to make a purchase.

Please contact me at the email address above if you have any questions, comments, etc.


We apologize for the inconvenience, but the book you're trying to purchase has recently become out of print.



Much of my time lately has been occupied by preparing my entry for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Prize. I’m very excited about this opportunity. Here’s the first part of the description:
The MCBA Prize is the first award in the United States to recognize book art from across disciplines and around the world. As such, it both celebrates the diversity of the art form and recognizes excellence in the field.
And later:
Forms, processes, traditions and approaches are open. Work may include unique book objects, altered books, graphic novels, 'zines, concrete poetry, conceptual, visual and literary works. Processes may include any printing or printmaking methods such as photo-mechanical, hand-worked, analog/digital, relief printmaking, letterpress, intaglio, and screen-printing, as well as hand-lettering. Works may be in edition or unique.
So why is this great, besides the possibility of some prize money? First of all, it’s exciting to see a prize this large ($2000 may not compare to some art prizes, but it’s good, unheard of, for books) specifically for the field. And it is theoretically going to be given out every two years (fingers crossed that their funding keeps up). But even better is what is contained in the above description. “Work may include…etc.” That’s a very broad definition of artists’ books, and it specifically mentions kinds of work that are usually on the margins, like “graphic novels, 'zines, concrete poetry, conceptual, visual and literary works.” It is work that belongs in the discussion but too often is excluded.

And here is another important part, buried in the technical details of how to apply:

“All artists who use the book format as their primary means of expression are eligible to apply.”

That is the first time I’ve seen the words, “artists,” “book format as their primary means of expression,” and “eligible” in the same sentence, even from a Book Arts Center. Which brings me around to my main point, which is about the perpetual marginalization of the field by its own practitioners (an attitude not present for this MCBA prize). Here is some text describing residency programs, first from the New York Center for Book Arts:

Up to four New York-based emerging artists will be offered space, time and support to explore the production and exhibition of artist's books and related work in year-long residencies. The purpose of this program is to promote experimentation in making book art, thus artists from all disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply."

And the San Francisco Center for the Book:

The mission of the artist in residence program is to raise the profile of the artist's book as a genre in contemporary art by offering an established artist the opportunity to produce an edition of books. By encouraging talented artists new to this medium, the program hopes to bring fresh perspectives to the field and at the same time to raise awareness of the genre in the wider art community.

So, essentially, two book arts residencies, both in very great cities to have a residency in, are not open to “artists who use the book format as their primary means of expression” (though in NY it does not specifically exclude book artists) The idea is, when a residency is set up to introduce artists to the book arts, is that this will help the book arts by educating real artists, and in turn the public, about the field. But it does not in fact help the field, because it perpetuates an attitude (first evident in the book arts’ sister field of printmaking, to a certain degree in other “craft arts”) that a) the field will be instantly legitimated once the right person, or enough people, pays attention to it, and b) it will take the work of a “real” artist to accomplish this. This is the same attitude that led the Southern Graphics Council, (a printmaking group, the largest artists’ group in the country) to give a Lifetime Achievement Award to the painter Chuck Close. Because those big, technically groundbreaking prints could only have been done by an artist of the stature of Chuck Close…? With the funding of Chuck Close?

This plan, this attitude, will never work, because it constantly marginalizes the actual practitioners in the field. Bookmakers, printmakers, do not need “real” artists to do the work that will finally legitimate them. Bookmakers, printmakers, need to figure out how their work fits into the discourse of contemporary art, and then they need to fit it in by making their work relevant and bending the discourse towards that work. Books & prints are already at a severe economic disadvantage to the rest of the art world. We can affect the market, but not control it. What we can control, though, is the content and conceptual components of our own work. First, we have to believe and acknowledge that we have something to say that is worth listening to. Then we need to honestly assess what we’re saying currently. Then we need to say something worth the time of saying and listening, loudly and repeatedly.



On a suggestion from a friend (thanks J) I will be adding PayPal-ability to this blog. That way, you will be able to order books right from here, quickly and securely. The Internet is pretty cool. More updates as I figure out how to arrange the whole thing…



(continued from yesterday)

I would like to see the lecture part of the Codex become more participatory, in the sense of having space for exhibitors and others to propose talks (panels?). I think that the audience, composed mostly of exhibitors, was a bit disengaged from the presentations. Those talks came from people who were also exhibitors, but there was a certain amount of separation between those chosen to speak and the rest of us who were paying money to be there. We sat and listened, but didn’t necessarily have a stake in what was being said. Open it up, I say.

The Bookfair is the main event of the Codex, which is what makes it different from the other art conferences that happen around the country. I’ve been to a few Southern Graphics Council Conferences, and the open portfolio time has always been one of the most enjoyable parts. And the Codex was three whole days of that.

I felt like the bookfair was organized well. There was a nice, long set up time on Sunday that was only open to exhibitors, so that we had time to see each other’s work (I, of course, was very late). The room was perfect. There was an outside section, and that felt a little separated. The problem is, does one limit participation to make it feel less separate, or allow more people? There were rumors of some lighting complaints. I definitely had enough light the whole time. There was some thought put into how the tables were laid out. I was lucky enough to be placed next to the Two Fine Chaps, who I knew from previous shows. The “power players” at the fair were a bit too concentrated though. The tables that are going to draw a lot of people should be a bit more spread out. It’s important that the audience circulates, sees as much as possible, sees new things.

Exhibitors could ship their work to and from the show directly. I didn’t have to do that, but I can see where it would be convenient. A nice touch: the conference tote bag that we all got contained a roll of packaging tape.

All of the events were close, easily walkable. Plenty of places to eat nearby. It was all so easy.

Overall, it was great. I am already looking forward to next time. I am looking forward to getting in deeper.



I wanted to take some time and write a more thorough piece on my thoughts on the Codex Symposium and Bookfair. Here is the first part:

As stated in earlier posts, my overall impression of the experience was very, very positive. It was, of course, not perfect—but still very good. Most importantly, I had fun and I met other people in the field. A table at the Codex is expensive, and I did not even come close to making my money back. Part of that is because I was selling cheaper work, another part may be because the collectors looking to buy more expensive work did not circulate to every table, or maybe because my work, not necessarily looking expensive/traditional/super-fine-press-book-ish at first glance, simply did not interest them. Also, there’s that whole economy thing. Making my money back would have been nice, but, again, that’s not the most important thing.

I enjoyed the symposium lectures as a whole. There were two kinds of lectures: longer lectures on various bookish topics, and shorter lectures called “artist presentations” where individual artists spoke in depth about individual projects. Appropriately, coincidentally, this year’s speakers for the artists’ presentations were on the younger side and doing conceptually sophisticated work. These included Tate Shaw of Preacher’s Biscuit Books/Visual Studies Workshop, Emily McVarish, Clemens-Tobias Lange of Ctl-Presse, and Karen Bleitz of Arc Editions. All of these were thoughtful, engaging presentations of strong, interesting work.

The longer lectures were a bit more hit and miss. The first, by Lawrence Weschler, could have been really good but missed the mark. It was about the difference between reading from a book and reading from a screen, between books and the Internet. That old thing again. An important subject, but a few years too late for that audience. Weschler is obviously a very smart, funny, engaging man. But he did not know his audience—or maybe he did. His talk posited the traditional dichotomy between books and the Net (like books are linear, unified, the Net is non-linear, fragmentary) and perhaps part of the audience felt comfortable with that old routine. But I think many of us were aware that that dichotomy doesn’t hold, that such a separation doesn’t get us anywhere. It considers both books and the web as ossified, determined structures (books particularly). Tate Shaw spoke right after Weschler, about his new book The Placeholders Vol. 3, and showed, not necessarily intentionally, where that traditional dichotomy begins to fall apart. Shaw’s book was built around a relatively simple premise and used notions of software as its organizing metaphors. It created a non-linear, fragmentary space within the linear structure of the book. It showed how both sides of the book/web dichotomy can be contained at once.

Antoine Coron’s lecture was on the publishing of artists’ books, actually mostly fine press books, in France. He started with some history and then detailed the work of a few contemporary artists/presses. Interesting, but not really written for a talk. It was too academic. I would have much rather read it.

Ron King of Circle Press gave a lecture detailing his long and productive career. It was very good. I would say “inspiring” if I believed in inspiration. King has been making books for a long time and his work is very influential. He has done many different kinds of work, and has never let the fear of trying new things stop get in his way. A good model for the rest of us in the field.




Images and text by Aaron Cohick, et al
20 pages, softcover, saddle stapled, 6 ¾” x 5 ½”

Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates

Unlimited edition


The first iteration is OUT OF PRINT. The unlimited edition will continue with the second iteration. If you would like a free PDF of this version, email Aaron at newlightspressATgmailDOTcom.



Sadly, sadly, the Codex is over and now it’s back to work. My general impression of the event: lots of art, lots of people, lots of fun. I feel like I got a fair amount of work out there—no big sales, but lots of small ones, some editions almost entirely gone now. I met some really great people (new links below & in the link section) who were really excited about the work. I’ll be interested to see how things develop from here on…

There will be more as I process all of the information accumulated over the past few days…

Preacher’s Biscuit Books
Visual Studies Workshop
Two Fine Chaps
In Cahoots Press
The Journal of Artists’ Books



The New Manifesto of the NewLights Press is complete, after an intense weekend to have it done and ready for the Codex symposium, which began yesterday. There will be an official announcement/catalog posting in a few days, after I can get to a scanner.

The Codex symposium runs from Monday through Wednesday, with lectures in the morning and the bookfair in the afternoons. Yesterday, the first day, was pretty fun. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at other exhibitors’ work (I was late to set up, had to sleep in after finishing those books at 6 AM), but my first impression was that there are an overwhelming amount of big, beautiful books there (for the record, I do not think of my own books as being “big” or “beautiful”). It’s hard to know where to begin. I look forward to diving in today.

Posting will be sporadic for the next few days. I plan to do a more thorough post about the Codex (see the official Codex blog here) when it’s all over.



Short story by Brian Evenson with images by Aaron Cohick
48 pages, hardcover, casebound, 8 ¼” x 5 ¼”

Letterpress printed text, digitally printed images with hand manipulation

Variable edition of 40




Text and images by Aaron Cohick-Gilles Deleuze-Eadweard Muybridge
56 pages, softcover with printed dustjacket, double signature pamphlet stitch, 8” x 5”
Letterpress printed dustjacket and covers with digitally printed text pages
Edition of 50

Out of Print



Altered book by NewLights Press: Aaron Cohick, et al
224 pages, hardcover, casebound, 14 ¼” x 11 ¼”

Mass produced photographic book altered through delamination


Contact for price


Text by William Morris
36 pages, softcover, saddle stitched, 8 ¼” x 5 ½”

DIY Book: digital printing, available for download or as pre-printed package, with binding instructions

Unlimited edition

Free: email Aaron newlightspressATgmailDOTcom to get a copy of the PDF.



Audio recording of poems by K. Lorraine Graham
CD in case with printed inserts: 8 pages, saddle stitched. Case size is 7 ½” x 5 3/8”

Inserts are letterpress printed with collage of found maps, each CD signed by the author

Edition of 100

Co-published with Narrowhouse, Baltimore. More info here.
Out of print.


Poems and images by Justin Sirois
56 pages, softcover, with printed and stapled dustjacket that adheres to book through a series of magnetic strips, double signature pamphlet stitched, 8 1/8” x 5 1/8”

Letterpress dustjacket & cover, digitally printed pages, staples, magnets
Edition of 100


Out of Print

Read a review by Ron Silliman here.

Read a review by Charles Alexander (Chax Press) here.


Text by Henry David Thoreau
40 pages, softcover, saddle stitched, 8 ¼” x 5 ½”

DIY Book: digital printing, available for download or as pre-printed package, with binding instructions
Unlimited edition

Free: email Aaron newlightspressATgmailDOTcom to get a copy of the PDF.


Text by Ralph Waldo Emerson
44 pages, softcover, saddle stitched, 8 ¼” x 5 ½”

DIY Book: digital printing, available for download or as pre-printed package, with binding instructions

Unlimited edition


Free: email Aaron newlightspressATgmailDOTcom to get a copy of the PDF.


Text and images by Asger Jorn-Aaron Cohick
28 pages, softcover, saddle stitched, 8” x 5”

Digital printing with hand painting

Open edition

Currently unavailable



Text and images by Piet Mondrian-Kasimir Malevich-Aaron Cohick
62 pages, hardcover, spiral (wire-o) binding, 8 ¼” x 5 ¾”

Digital printing, collage, and painting


Contact for price


Altered book with text and images by Aaron Cohick
180 pages, case bound, 8 ¼” x 5 ¾”

Digital printing, collage, delamination, and mixed media drawing


Contact for price


Text and images by Aaron Cohick
48 pages, case bound, 9 ¼” x 6 ¼”

Letterpress printed, with delamination
Edition of 10

Contact for price



Poems by Lauren Bender
32 pages, softcover, saddle stitched, 8” x 5”

Cover is letterpress printed and hand painted on handmade sisal paper, text pages are laser printed

Edition of 50


Out of Print


Visual poem by Aaron Cohick
24 pages, hardcover, single signature, 8” x 5”

Digitally printed

Edition of 3
Out of Print


Found poem by Aaron Cohick
24 pages, softcover with printed dustjacket, saddle stitched, 6” x 4”
Letterpress printed

Edition of 100

Out of Print

See Kyle Schlessinger's (Cuneiform Press) comments here.



Found poem by Aaron Cohick
20 pages (versos unprinted), softcover, saddle stitched, 8 ¼” x 5 ¼”

Letterpress printed cover with laser printed text pages

Edition of 30

Out of Print


Poems by Anselm Berrigan and images by Hunter Stabler
20 pages, hardcover, flutter binding, 12” x 7”

Letterpress printed
Edition of 40

Co-published with the Dolphin Press at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore


Out of Print



A poem by Aaron Cohick
20 pages, softcover, saddle stapled, 4” x 4”

Letterpress cover with laser printed pages

Edition of 64


Out of Print


Prose and images by Justin Sirois
28 pages, softcover, saddle stapled, 8 ¼” x 5 ¼”

Screenprinted cover with laser printed text pages

Edition of 100


Out of Print