What is an "artist's book"?
1. livre-objet, an artistic binding of a sampling from the author's own little world.
2. objet d'art, a unique, oftentimes precious object considered esthetically and intimately, as a personal expression of "art for art's sake".
3. a book of modest production, limited edition, and selective distribution by the artist him/herself.
4. a book exhibited in museums and galleries as all of the above, ie. a piece of original artwork sold as a collector's item.
5. a book which you, instinctively, "handle with care".
In the digital library of "multimedia art", amidst shelves of audio-visual compact discs, web sites, compressable and downloadable software, shareware, and freeware, the artist's book is analogous to the "artist's cd-rom", whose public marketing strategies parallel those of the traditional publishing world and whose carefully packaged, self-contained nature on a required physical support (as opposed to URLs and portable applications) recall the fetichism inspired by original artwork. Its author is an independent artist, its outside wrapper speaks for itself, and its interactive content and design, whether emotionally intimate, rebelliously esoteric, or simply solipsistic, are nonetheless "handled with care" in all respects, and with all due respect to the artist.
At an age when anyone can press their own cd-rom for pennies given the proper equipment, and when there is no more central editorial authority than on the Internet, the artist's cd-rom is purchased as a rare book inviting us into the author's digital studio, thoughtfully interfaced to be explored at an individual pace through a personalized visit. In time the rare book becomes a child's picture book, a favorite pocket book which is a delight and a pleasure to reopen and reread, differently each time.
Faithful to the original vocation of Colophon Page to present and promote fine arts books and resources of all kinds, [ex libris] is a web window open to artist's cd-roms, Director projectors, and Hypercard stacks written and designed by artists.