In 1982 Frans Baake ended his education at AKI Art school in Enschede and he went to Amsterdam. At that time he was already interested in artists’ books and had published a few.
At Rijksakademie he followed a course in bookbinding and continued his bookmaking. Summer of 1983 he went to Faroe Islands and was struck by the landscape he noticed: barren, treeless and windswept islands. The forms he saw were directly connected to the way of printmaking he was working on: simple one- colour shapes, elementary expressions in wood- and linocut. Going back to basics and using all printing ways combined with photographs, texts and collages. Out of this first island visit, together with fellow artist Willem Moeselaar, he produced an artists’ book, printed and hand bound in a small edition. Some more to come.
Thanks to stipends from later Mondriaan Fund and fundraisings he was given the opportunity to travel to some remote spots, mostly situated in Atlantic waters. Iceland followed in 1984 and some more obscure islands were visited afterwards: Aleutians, Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Greenland. In 2017 he could finally visit the remotest island, named Tristan da Cunha.
A boys dream that came true. In his childhood he read an article about the volcanic eruption in the early sixties, the evacuation of the complete population and its comeback. After 46 years he set foot on the island. Therefore he took part in a long boat trip called ‘Atlantic Odyssey’, starting in Ushuaia in southern part of Argentina and ending in Praia, Cabo Verde. Meanwhile visiting some more lonely spots like South Georgia, St. Helena and Ascension Island.
All these travels have inspired him to create books: these islands form a thread in his oeuvre. During a period of more than 35 years Frans Baake has made more than 100 books, some printed in offset, others in woodcut and silkscreen or a mixture of techniques, mostly bound by hand and published in limited editions.
Thanks to Johan Deumens, gallery owner specialising in artists’ books , a selection of these books can be found in international collections.
For an shortened list of exhibitions, fairs and presentations do have a look at the cv. The pictures also will give you an idea of working in books and editions and finding a way around.
The latest project is based on the idea of visiting Island City, a small town in Oregon. In 2003 Frans Baake visited its reverse in name situated in the city of New York. About the works created out of this trip: to be continued.