Alumnus Chip Schilling Wins 2010 Minnesota Book Artist of the Year

Cites experimentation as the key to his work

May 11, 2010

Wilber "Chip" Schilling, MFA '94 (Book Arts/Printmaking) has been named the 2010 Minnesota Book Artist of the Year by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The award recognizes a Minnesota book artist for excellence of artistic work in the book arts throughout his or her entire career, as well as significant contributions to Minnesota's book arts community.

Schilling accepted the award at the 22nd annual Minnesota Book Awards gala held in April in Saint Paul, Minn. As the winner of this year's award, Schilling was granted a solo exhibition at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts that was on display January 30 – February 26.

Schilling opened his Minneapolis-based Indulgent Press in 1992 and has since staked his claim among the best in his field, producing hand-bound, letterpress-printed fine press books, artist books and limited-edition fine art prints.

"Experimentation is the key to my work," said Shilling. "I'm always learning – embracing new technology while continuing to master the traditional book arts. Because of this, my work is varied, reflecting the never-ending possibilities that book arts provide for artistic expression."

Herman Melville's short story Bartleby the Scrivener is among Schilling's recent projects (below). His editions feature Bartleby's infamous tagline "I prefer not to" printed in gold cursive script. As Bartleby's character becomes more and more obscure, the golden script devolves into unreadable abstract loops.

"For me, this is the essence of book arts," he continues. "I open myself to the relationship that develops between the content and the structure of the book. I use the structural form of the book (the design, materials, printing and binding) to bring the content (the essence and the 'feel' of images, a story, or text) to life."

Schilling's dedication to his craft has paid off. His work has been exhibited internationally and is now collected by such institutions as the British Library (London), New York Public Library, Getty Center (Los Angeles), Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), Harvard and Yale Universities, Wellesley College, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Historical Society and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). His work is also often featured in book arts trade publications.

Above: Shilling's "Half Life / Full Life"

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