14 June 2012
As an art student, consumer of images and connoisseur of paintings, my small but growing collection of art related books is very important to me. Every time I go to a museum or specialist book shop, I look for new additions to my bookshelf. Shopping for books this way is easy. You pick up a book, flip through it to get an idea of its quality, and make a decision. However, shopping for art books online can be a bit trickier. Sometimes you get a few images from inside the book, but often you have no way of knowing how good it is except for the cover, and perhaps a few short reviews. This is a problem, because when it comes to art books, there are some really good ones, and then there are some really bad ones. Some books have really bad reproductions, some have really small pictures, and some don't have many pictures at all. And to me, it's important to know this before buying.
My idea with this blog is to write reviews of the books I own, focusing on how good they are from an artist's or art student's point of view, for the benefit of the indecisive buyer. I currently have a little over 60 books on my shelf that I categorize as art books. These include biographies, anthologies, art instructions books, books centered on certain themes or time periods, as well as different reference books that aren't specifically related to art, but that I still count as important to my proffession. I plan on providing plenty of pictures so that readers can form a good understanding of the size and feel of the books. I will probably not take very large or good pictures of the images contained within the books out of respect for the copyright holders. I might, however, link to paintings hosted somewhere else on the web, if there's a painting that is especially worthy of showing.
I hope this blog will be a useful resource for people looking to expand their libraries. I invite all readers to give their own opinions and tips in the comments. Sixty books isn't a lot, and I know I'm always interested in book recommendations!
Oh, and one last thing. I won't post links to where you can buy the books. The reason for this is that Amazon, while a great place for finding books, doesn't always offer the best price. Often there are differences in prices even between the US and UK versions of the site. Sometimes you can find a copy cheapest there, sometimes not. Sometimes the author of a book sells it directly from his or her own website. And since I've already bought these books, I'm not interested in hunting down the best price for them, neither do I want to direct you to a bad deal. So if you want a book, shop around for a bit. It'll be worth it.