Bone Black

Brad Brown


Bone Black is a series of 20 books.  Each book is unique, consisting of 16 drawings combined with letterpress printing. To begin, Brown had four letterpress plates made—two plates were made from quick notational ink drawings, and two were made from printed imagery that Brown appropriated. 

Next, Brown completed 320 drawings using inks, oil paint, charcoal, and graphite.  The drawings incorporate a wide range of marks and move in very different directions and sensibilities.  The drawings were done with no reference to the letterpress imagery. 

Brown then devised a system for the printers to follow for printing the letterpress plates on top of the drawings.  The system determined the sequence and orientation of each plate, and assured that the imagery would accrue in random order beyond the control of the artist or the printers.

The resulting imagery was unknown to Brown until after each page was printed.

“The use of systems and random order allows me to be the viewer as much as the maker of the work.  Often, I will devise projects that consist of several different processes, with each process blinkered or hidden from the other.  My job is to be intensely focused on each process without the knowledge or understanding of what will result when the various processes come together.
“For Bone Black, I felt as if the drawings I was making were seductive traps, laying in wait to receive the letterpress plates.  The drawings I executed had to be enticing and welcoming so as to ensnare the letterpress plates in a web of imagery.”

Edition of 12 with 8 Artist Proofs.

Bound in unbleached linen. Box covered in white linen and embossed in black. 


Deluxe set of four books with custom portfolio box: