Valerie Savarie is a reanimator of books living and working in Colorado. She has been creating for Cacts Gallery for 5 years.
About Valerie: Living in the artistic shadow of her older sister, I turned to creative writing in my teens to allow my own artistic voice to be heard from beyond my sibling’s veil. Deep inside, the visual artist waited patiently for a time when the shadow would grow faint. With my sister’s and my evolution into two independent beings – ultimately mine being nurtured by her sun - I could finally express myself freely. When that time came, words and visual arts had formed an inseparable bond and so my book sculptures came to be.
In selecting books, it is important that they be published before 1972 (or, is at least as old as me). Sometimes the book instantly creates a visual concept and other times, I seek out a book that will echo my mental vision. Taking the written story within, I reinterpret it into a three-dimensional piece by cutting, sewing and painting (all done by hand without the use of power tools), thus creating a multidimensional collage while still leaving the majority of the book intact. Every page is kept as bound as it is important that my pieces retain their intrinsic book characteristics. Each page that is visible is purposely selected to be seen – whether it be specific words, lack of words, images or a combination there of. Words are as important as the visuals I create when making my book sculptures.
The characters I make—the inhabitants of the books—are always painted in black and white, which allow them to live in balance within their predominantly black and white (text and page) surroundings. Sometimes they are animals; sometimes they are more human. Regardless of their species, the eyes typically lend themselves to a more humanistic expression and are the last thing I paint. Eyes tell a story within their own orb and greatly impact the feeling of a piece and so completing them last, I solidify the over all emotion I want to express.
As my book sculptures evolve, I find my work growing beyond short stories, moving towards epic series - generating from a moment in time, page by page, book by book.