This week’s mini book —another one-page book— requires a little bit of preamble.
I first met Dennis Anderson at a Tai Chi class in 1990: I had taken up Tai Chi after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and Dennis joined the class after he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.I eventually stopped attending Tai Chi classes, but I reconnected with Dennis when I began volunteering in the pool at the Sherbrooke Community Centre where Dennis was now living. Dennis was frustrated by many aspects of institutional life, but found a new way to cope when an art program was started in the building. Dennis had only partial control of one hand, but he painted anyway.
As well as large paintings, Dennis produced small pictorial stories —comic strips done as a small series of paintings. I suggested that we collaborate on an artist’s book. Dennis was delighted by the thought of being ‘published’ and produced some stories specifically for the book. The completed project consisted of a paper case that opened in multiple directions and contained several small books and a pamphlet with a short bio of Dennis and a little background on his art making.
327 was one of the stories. The title is a reference to the fact that Dennis was forced to move from one room to another while living at Sherbrooke.
You can download the pdf for the book here. The file is printable on 8.5″ x 11″ or A4. Your printed page should look like this:
Score a line the length of the page using the long black line as a guide. Fold the page in half along the score line.
Trim the outer edge of the folded page so that it measures 9 cm or 3.5″ from the folded edge to the cut edge. Open the page flat.
There is a small line crossing the long line. This indicates half the length of the page. Fold your page in half crosswise using this mark as a guide. If you printed on A4 paper you will definitely need to trim one end off to make the two ends match. You may need to do this on 8.5″ x 11″ paper if the feed mechanism on your printer isn’t completely accurate.
Fold the top layer in half —fold the right edge over to match the fold at the left— then turn the page over and do the same thing to that half.
Next, open the page out flat and make a cut on the long fold across the two centre columns. You can use the long black line as a guide if you work on the printed side. (I borrowed the next 2 images from the IF instructions.)
Now fold the page the long way with the print side out and make your paper look like this:
Next push the two ends towards the middle so that the gap is closed. The final step is to fold the pages into a book with your front and back pages on the outside. Your book should look like the picture at the beginning of this post.
I am sharing 327 now as a kind of memorial. Dennis died recently and it seemed an appropriate thing to do. Dennis would have loved to have his work on the internet.
Dennis was briefly famous as an artist in a small way. Here’s a picture of him discussing his painting with the press when he had work on display at the Mendel Gallery in Saskatoon.
And here’s a short bio, partly in his own words, from an exhibition in Vancouver.
A few years ago, Dennis reunited with his first love. When I asked him if he was still painting, he said “I don’t make art anymore. I’m too happy.”