In 2011, Oakland-based artist Alexis Arnold began making art from the discarded books and magazines she continually came across on the street. Arnold transformed the scrapped volumes into sculptures by growing crystals on them. Some of the books she has crystallized include Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, as well as encyclopedias and dictionaries. The results evoke, as Arnold describes it, “geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and memory.” Inspired by the rapidly changing landscape of print media, write an essay that reflects on your first memories with books and print magazines. Do they remain precious to you? For more on Arnold’s art, read “The Written Image: Crystallized Books” in the March/April 2023 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.
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