Limited edition artist's book (8).
Robinson, Texas: BlackHare Studio
KnownUnknown was born out of a decades-long journey to uncover the story of my paternal grandfather. Given up for adoption at the age of nine and vanishing from my father's life before he ever had a chance to know him, he is known to me only through fragmentary details and a few photos.
This work explores the fragmented realities wherein the people around us can be, at the same time, both known and unknown. Pairing glimpses of the grandfather I never knew and glimpses of people known through social media, the work illuminates the dichotomy of knowing intimate details of someone while at the same time knowing little or nothing of substance about them. While the work has clear family history connections for me personally, my hope is that in paralleling the personal with the ubiquity of social media, more universal themes will surface reflection on identity, belonging, and the constant juxtaposition of the known and the unknown.
The text of the work includes self‐generated questions, information from personal archival documents related to my grandfather and a variety of posts on Facebook and Twitter about relationships with grandfathers. I chose the blizzard book structure housing loose and unnumbered pages to highlight the fragmentary nature of the material and to allow the reader to explore the pieces without a predefined order. The type was handset at BlackHare Studio in Robinson, Texas, using Cloister Lightface, Univers, & Franklin Gothic and printed on No. 4 Vandercook letter press. Images include toner based image transfers for the photographs and hand drawn icons. The outer structure incorporates acrylic mono printing representative of the color palettes of the iconic social media platforms referenced in the work.
Shā Towers is the Fine Arts Liaison Librarian and Director of Liaison Services at Baylor University. He is also the creator and curator of the Baylor Book Arts Collection which he began building in 2007 and which now includes nearly 800 fine press and artists' books. He has been instrumental in integrating the collection into various studio arts courses, non-arts courses, and public experiences.