I started my publishing experiment on a whim. There was no real planning involved. I just knew that I wanted to make books, and I wanted to make a lot of them. The idea was for the individual books to become lexicons that, when read in groups, would make a larger statement. The topics to be covered were to be almost random – from hexagons to hell – so as to allow more possibilities for connection between the books. As objects, the series would form an ever-growing, re-arrangeable sculpture, one that is ultimately different for each collector.
I started publishing these books under Hex Editions, my own imprint, in January 2013. The intention was to explore the ideas that influenced my artistic practice, as well as to research ideas for the future. Having spent most of my career producing work that was both labour-intensive and time-consuming, I decided not to over think things with these books. I was originally successful at this, producing the first 24 books within nine months. As my subsequent titles have become more ambitious, I have returned to a more familiar glacial pace.
True to its name, I became overcome by the hex of Hex. It is now very likely that Hex Editions will become my entire practice. While the early titles relied a fair bit on the legacy of my earlier work, specifically the work related to Toronto, that has happily evolved. I can barely recall the reason to devote an entire book to a dam that I’ve never visited. Another title exposes a bit too much of my emotional state during its creation. It’s in print now, so I won’t go back and edit out, however uncomfortable it makes me when I see it.
The medium of the book itself began to drive a lot of the subsequent ideas. Several of the books experiment with the structure of books themselves, things that we take for granted as lifelong readers and holders of bound printed paper. This experimentation and the further ideas that it generates is why this project keeps expanding for me. This is why I see the hex going on for a long while still.
Flavio Trevisan is a Toronto-based artist, designer and book producer. He will be speaking as part of a panel organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario titled The Persistence of Print at the /edition Art Book Fair on Saturday, October 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.