2015 Honorable Mention – Victoria Essex

Structure of the Human Heart

This artist book depicts the structure and function of the human heart. It appears as a delicate and organic grouping of pages, held together with twine. As the viewer unties the twine, it begins with three image panels of the entire heart structure: an illustrated rendering that serves as a cover, followed by a vellum protected watercolor rendering, and a mounted, embossed paper rendering. The viewer has to uncover these panels one by one. I have created this opportunity of uncovering as a way for the viewer to interact with, and develop a curiosity about, the human heart. Following the three image panels is a set of bound pages. These pages show a block-printed diagram of the human heart; as the pages are opened, either from the left or the right, there are a series of emphasized, labeled, and explained components of the structure. This piece informs the viewer of the many veins, arteries, chambers, and valves that construct the human heart. It makes the distinction between deoxygenated and oxygenated blood, and mentions that blood is sent to the lungs after being coursed through half of the heart. As I mentioned, I utilized many artistic techniques when making this artist book. Along with the watercolor image panel, there is watercolor detailing on the printed pages. I used an ink transfer oil for the text. I illustrated the printed image of the heart, and then carved the same image into the printing block. I bound the pages with a thread and needle. A variety of materials were used; many artist papers, acrylic and watercolor paints, ink, rubber cement, and twine. This book is an experience for the viewer, not only something to view.