Cover Material: Ian August

Ian August has made a practice of painting on book covers. In his Winnipeg studio he has boxes of them found in the recycling room at the University of Manitoba. “It came about naturally from digging through the garbage. They have to rip the covers off because they are a different kind of paper than you find on the inside. So you get these nice old boards with texture. It’s a super-good surface to make art on because there are already tons of images on it.”

More often than not he paints over the original images; his repertoire of subjects runs from the rudimentary to the rude, including ice shacks and a flying dick; and from the familiar to the far-fetched, including his artist friends and Charles Darwin sporting a bird beak. In his studio he has drawing sheets and book covers sitting on the floor. “When I’m working on a canvas I can hit on them if I’m bored with painting. If they’re available, I can never get stumped. I can always find something to work on.” …

Volume 28, Number 2

This article originally appeared in Border Crossings #110, published June 2009.

Border Crossings looks at contemporary art with interest, passion and thoroughness. Subscribe to Border Crossings today for as little as $24/year.