Christopher Kardambikis

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What is my work about?

I am an artist with a book problem. I have been making a new artist book or zine every month for the past two years. For the past decade I have been using book/zine production as a way to manipulate form, materials, and process. I utilize one of our oldest technologies to promote a physical and visceral interaction with concepts, visual systems, and space.

I have co-founded three collaborative publishing projects, pulling together groups of artists and writers to publish materials and incite dialogues. Through these I have fostered communities, curated exhibitions, taught courses, and started an ongoing reading program on Clocktower Radio in Brooklyn.


Artist Statement

I have a habit of exploring places through books and bookstores. 

Actually, no.  This is more severe than a “habit”.

I sleep with a small pile of books in my bed.  I never leave the house without one book on my person; when traveling, I will pack 5 books in my suitcase, forgetting underwear for a long weekend away.  I have purchased the same book over and over again, not to read myself but to gift to someone – even if I don’t know to whom at the time.  I buy books I know that I may not read but I know I will want to have near me.  I regularly pick my favorite books off my shelf, just to feel their pages move.  I dissect books, slowly – both their content and form – to see what makes them work.  To dive deep into their fascinating machinery in hopes that I can learn their secrets.

I’ve been making books with my hands for over a decade.  And I have made several major moves in my life.  With each new city I have sought out like-minded artists and writers and set up publishing projects.  In my mind, and practice, getting to know a space is getting to know a larger creative community is developing a deeper understanding of the book form.  Finding new ways to work with people is developing new forms to bind our experiences together is establishing new systems to distribute throughout the environment.   

I moved to New York City in January, initially to be an artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works in Red Hook.  And to make a new home for myself.  And to make books.  The residency helped me to do that, allowed me the opportunity to work within a supportive creative environment and also, to teach.  While at Pioneer Works I developed and taught a ten-week zine course.  We looked at a history of zines and DIY/self-publishing and learned methods of production.  Throughout the course I always described zines as a search: the need to find people and develop a community made manifest through ink and staples and folded paper.  The class was titled, appropriately enough, Paper Cuts.

Paper Cuts also shares a name with my ongoing reading program on Clocktower Radio.  My search and exploration through the New York zine and artist book community is currently being recorded and archived online.  Each program features writers, artists, and publishers who share their work in print, on paper, and in small editions.  I am learning to become a better (internet) radio host as I listen to the work of my peers and talk shop with people whose ongoing production I love and find endlessly fascinating.          

For the past two years I have been making a new artist book or zine project every month.  This continuing body of work allows me to follow my impulses – to pick apart my interests in materials, process, and craft.  My slow dissection meets hard (self-imposed) deadlines and forces the wheels within wheels to grind away at concepts and curiosities. This is the Great Work and Daily Ritual that acts as the crucible for my practice.  A generative and dynamic space where each month’s book changes dramatically from the 1st to the 30th (31st…28th (29th)); where fluctuating access, budgets, timelines, and facilities yield rich restrictions and opportunities.    

I am currently using my monthly book practice and larger print/drawing installations to explore themes of travel, progress, and “home.”  My recent body of work, “Dynamics of an Asteroid,” crosses an optimistic and fantastic look at potential end-of-the-world scenarios with recent proposals and milestones of space exploration. NASA and JPL’s proposals to capture and explore asteroids, the recent landing by Philae on comet 67Pt, mysterious lights and the pyramid on Asteroid Ceres, the wonky orbit and big heart of tiny Pluto, are all intertwined with the science-fiction of space exploration and the early fantastic travel stories of Jules Verne. I am assimilating the storytelling and information design of Paul Laffoley, the diagraming of Dispensationalism, the engravings of Alfred Kubin, and the otherworldly and epic sci-fi imagery of Jack Kirby into my established visual language. I want to combine the exploration of space with terrestrial landscapes and the collision of eras.  Much of my work presents a narrative of a world unconcerned with linear storytelling – instead building upon a visual and material environment that makes its rules and shifting variables known to the viewer.  An archaeology of content and form in which digging deeper also means digging outwards.  Lateral and Sidereal simultaneously…

Late last year I curated a traveling artist book exhibition, titled Pulp Atlas, that had a unique set of requirements.  Each of the 12 artists participating was to make an edition of 12 books and mail copies to each other.  Each artists ends up with a full set of 12 different books and the responsibility of hosting an artist book exhibition in a non-gallery space in their city.  Through Pulp Atlas, this collection of work has been seen in bookstores, libraries, airstream trailers, book fairs, and alternative venues across the US, UK and, locally, at the Reanimation Library in Brooklyn in February of 2015.

Forward motion is important.  Deadlines are incredibly helpful.  Community is revitalizing and nurturing.  Coffee is god. 

And my cities are made of paper.  They expand and unfold, unwieldy.  Only visible in small sections, necessitating a close reading, and forever opening up…            



2012 University of California San Diego, MFA in Visual Arts

2005 Carnegie Mellon University, BFA in Fine Arts

Solo Exhibitions
Dynamics of an Asteroid, Sediment Arts, Richmond, VA

Heart Buttons, Sidewall, Pittsburgh, PA

Mundus Subterraneus, VAF Gallery, La Jolla, CA
Atom Style Variations, Culver Road Armory, Rochester, NY

From Out of This Planet Earth, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

Selected Group Exhibitions
PHILALALIA, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
The New York Art Book Fair, MoMA PS 1, New York, NY
Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair, Signal, Brooklyn, NY
Sidewall, The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, Pittsburgh, PA
Felt Book, Recess, New York, NY
Select Art Fair, Center 548, New York, NY
Philadelphia Art Book Fair, The Annex, Philadelphia, PA
Pulp Atlas, The Reanimation Library, Brooklyn, NY

Pulp Atlas, Needles & Pens, San Francisco, CA; Free Public Library, Philadelphia, PA
The New York Art Book Fair, MoMA PS 1, New York, NY
Zine Plug In, TRAFO, Szczecin, Poland
At Sixes and Sevens, Pieter, Los Angeles, CA
Project LALO, Studio 1.1, London, UK
The LA Art Book Fair, The Geffen Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA

The New York Art Book Fair, MoMA PS 1, New York, NY
The Exhibitionists, South of Sunset, Los Angeles, CA
Subterranea, SME Gallery, La Jolla, CA
The LA Art Book Fair, The Geffen Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
Doing Pennants, Fifth Floor Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Heterotopia, UCSD University Art Gallery, La Jolla, CA
More Real Than Life, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA

Double Breaks, Double Break, San Diego, CA
Vantage Point, Oceanside Museum, Oceanside, CA
Jay Howell with Christopher Kardambikis, Double Break, San Diego, CA

Pittsburgh Biennial
, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
Adrift, A Raft, Space 4 Art, San Diego, CA

Recent Works, Agitprop, San Diego, CA
The Forbidden Zone, NTBA, Los Angeles, CA
Art of Zines, Anno Domini, San Jose, CA

We Live Inside, VAF Gallery, La Jolla, CA
Surface Matter/Printed Matter, Marwen, Chicago, IL

Anonymous Drawings/Selection, Otterndorf, Germany
Out of This Furnace, Unsmoke Systems, Braddock, PA
In the Making: 250 Years/250 Artists, Fe Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Artist Made Books Exhibition, The Tom Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Good on Paper, Fe Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Three Rivers Arts Festival: Pittsburgh’s Best 2007, PPG Wintergarden, Pittsburgh, PA
Make/Do, Future Tenant, Pittsburgh, PA

Three Rivers Arts Festival: Pittsburgh’s Best 2006, Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Numinous Drawings, The Brew House, Pittsburgh, PA

Awards and Fellowships
2014 Ruth Katzman Scholarship
2011 Russell Grant
2009 Mid Atlantic Creative Fellowship
2006 Vermont Studio Center Residency Fellowship
Sprout Seed Award

Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY

The Art Student’s League Residency at Vytlacil, Sparkill, NY

Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY
Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA
Virginia Center for the Arts, Amherst, VA

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

Harold Arts, Chesterhill, OH

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Felt Book, The Institute for New Feeling.

Quarterly West, Issue 83. eds. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Laura Bylenok.

Strange Attractors: Investigations in Non-Humanoid Extraterrestrial Sexualities, eds. Christopher Kardambikis, Jasdeep Khaira, and Suzie Silver

Box of Books, Volume IV, ed. Darin Klein

Fawlt Magazine: One, ed. Veronica Kavass and Ryan Joe

TAV Issue 2, eds. Luke Meeken and Andrew Negry, TAV.

In The Making: 250 Artists, 250 Years, ed Jill Larson, Fe Gallery.

Johnson, Paddy and Michael Anthony Farley “Select: Trying To Do Too Much” Art F City. May, 2015.

Mallonnee, Laura C. “A Talk with Christopher Kardambikis, Artist’s Book Enthusiast” Hyperallergic. Sept, 2014.
Maliszewski, Lynn. “Among the Zines at the NY Art Book Fair” Hyperallergic. Sept, 2014.

Songco, Jeff. “Fantastic Voyage: An Interview with Christopher Kardambikis” Bad At Sports. May, 2013.

Karnig, Maximillian. “Feature: Do Anything @ San Diego Space 4 Art” Juxtapoz. July, 2012.
Shihab, Dania. “Christopher Kardambikis” One Day You Will Fine Me. July, 2012.

Riegelnegg, Curt. “Christopher Kardambikis Offers a Brand New Creation Myth (With Plenty of Room for Interpretation)” Pittsburgh City Paper. May, 2009.

Publication Projects
Gravity and Trajectory, San Diego, CA
Co-Editor and Publisher
Tagged: Variations on a Theme, by Kevin Killian. Ed. Darin Klein.

Stopover in a Quiet Town by Scott Lyne

Ramble on the Upslope, Ramble on the Downslope by Micki Davis
Plus One by Sadie Barnette
Encyclopedia Destructica, Pittsburgh, PA

Strange Attractors: Investigations in Non-Humanoid Extraterrestrial Sexualities, eds. Christopher Kardambikis, Jasdeep Khaira, and Suzie Silver

Public Record, ed. Justin Hopper
The Flying Destructicate: Secret Pockets, ed. Mary Tremonte

Hi-Tec: Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative, ed. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
Open Thread Tri-State Chapbooks, eds. Claire Donato, Tyler Meier, and Isaac Pressnell
Coatlicue 2, eds. Jerome Crooks
Sheila Klein Exhibition Catalogue, ed. Sheila Klein

The Flying Destructicate: Make Your Own Truth, ed. Jonathan Brodsky
Coatlicue 1, eds. Josh Atlas and Matteo Orsini
Pittsburgh Biennial Catalogue, eds. Christopher Kardambikis and Jasdeep Khaira
Medieval Carnival, eds. Bum Lee, Christopher Kardambikis, and Jasdeep Khaira

Bumba, the Fourth, eds. Matt Wellins, Ryan Coon, Christopher Kardambikis, and Jasdeep Khaira
The Flying Destructicate: New Visual Language, ed. Josh Tonies

Wolfman’s Got Nards, eds. Curt Gettman, Mike Woodfill, Christopher Kardambikis, and Jasdeep Khaira
Bumba, the Third, eds. Ian Kanski, Christopher Kardambikis, and Jasdeep Khaira
Bumba, the Second, eds. John Thomas Menesini
Bumba, the First, eds. Christopher Kardambikis and Jasdeep Khaira
Numinous Drawings, eds. Christopher Kardambikis, Matteo Orsini, Jairan Sadeghi

Atum, the Fourth, eds. Matteo Orsini and Jasdeep Khaira
Atum: Addendum, ed Christopher Kardambikis
Atum, the Third, ed. Erin Pischke
Atum, the Second, eds. Christopher Kardambikis and Tom Weinrich
Atum, the First, eds, Christopher Kardambikis, Tom Weinrich

Curatorial Projects
Paper Cuts, Clocktower Radio. Ongoing podcast series ( 2014 – 2015
Pulp Atlas: The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA; Needles & Pens, San Francisco, CA; San Jose Public Library, San Jose, CA; Library at Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland; The Reanimation Library, Brooklyn, NY; Thunder-Sky, Inc, Cincinnati, OH.

Do Anything, Space 4 Art, San Diego, CA.

Recto/Verso, Co-curator with Jasdeep Khaira, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley, PA


Special Collections, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Art and Architecture Library, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Hunt Library Special Collections, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

MIF Art Book Library, Fukushima, Japan

The Smile Face Museum, Brooklyn, NY