Printed Matter at LA Art Book Fair 2014

LA Art Book Fair

Literacy is making a comeback! Over the weekend I stopped by the LA Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, an event presented by Printed Matter, Inc. If you haven’t heard of this major literary fair or aren’t too familiar with book fairs overall, it’s a “unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers.” Basically what that means is that it’s awesome and you must try to go someday, or visit something similar if at all possible. This year was only the second annual fair here in Los Angeles, but the turn out was HUGE for such a young event in the city. Take a look at the photo below to get an idea of what it looked like.


This room was only one of MANY in the multi-level massive exhibition gallery called the Ooga Booga space. If you are a book lover–and I’m assuming you love not only Lisi’s addicting page-turners but a few other titles as well–you would absolutely love this event. Especially if you’re the type that doesn’t always want to succumb to the e-book and kindle movement, this book fair reminds us just how special tactile treasures really are. There were so many amazing souvenirs for collectors to take home from vintage records, comic books, photography books, journals, handmade letterpress stationary, bags, paintings, zines, and of course, books. There were also some pretty fantastic stickers to take home like the one found below.


The fair housed hundreds of tables from independent publishers from around the world. The two photos below are from Aye Aye Books, a Glasgow-based bookshop and publisher. The girl who ran this table was so incredibly kind, stylish and oh-so Scottish. Really I would have purchased anything she told me to, her accent made each book sound THAT interesting. I walked away with a little book titled “Them” that held three short stories by Francesca Mirabella and came in a handmade envelope with a handwritten message from the author herself. Such a gem.




The next table we stopped at had all kinds of wonderful pieces. Notecards, photography prints, and posters of beautiful gemstones and natural elements. I got to meet the artist, who wore one of those Barmah bush hats, making him look like a legitimate explorer from down undue’. SOLD.


They were also the sellers of Afterzine, which is literally one of my very favorite zines (though it’s pretty substantial, so more like a thin book). Contributions from the likes of notable people such as Alexa Chung and Rookie Mag’s Tavi Gavinson have even been included in past issues. Needles to say, I picked up Issue 3 pictured below.


More zines upon books upon zines!


A super cool magazine featuring girl motorcyclists around Los Angeles.


If reading’s not your thing, then that’s kinda strange, but the book fair’s still got you covered. You could gaze at and often take home creative paintings, photography and collage work, like some pieces seen below.



Book fair VIPs probably put down a pretty penny to take home these original prints of Blondie’s Debbie Harry from way back when.


No money? No problem. There was a makeshift ever-growing area in one corner where people were starting to barter for books. 🙂


Another look at the book fair, just 1/25 of the maze of a layout when the crowd was winding down. Still crazy though!


The best part about this year’s fair was all of the surprising points of creativity that popped up around each corner. If there was space on a wall and it was around eye level, it was filled with art, micro stories, drawings, and funny or thoughtful messages. It wasn’t possible to leave the Ooga Booga space feeling  uninspired. I couldn’t help but feel a little more hopeful than usual for the literary community here in LA on a whole. In fact, it almost felt a little like the cute message tacked up on a wall that’s pictured below.


The LA Art Book Fair is the companion to the NY Art Book Fair that is held every fall and apparently MUCH larger than even ours here in Los Angeles. If you are ever out on either coast in the U.S. sometime in the future, it’s a must-attend event for all bibliophiles out there. I know not everyone can hop a private jet out to NY or LA on a whim and make that happen any time soon, but it’s food for future thought in the meantime. Thank you guys for reading today and letting me share a bit of my excitement that’s spilled over from the weekend with you. And if in your hometowns there are any cool book or zine related events you know of, please pass the info along in the comments section! I’d love to keep discovering similar literary happenings not just in the U.S., but beyond.

As always, Lisi will be back next week after she returns home from Mexico. Stay tuned.


Alisha, Office Elf, over & out


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