Artwork by Emma Bennett
The City Art Books series, which launched with the inaugural Cambridge Art Book, has become a hugely popular celebration of much-loved cities in the UK and Ireland. With a mission to show each city through the eyes of its artists, the series brings together professional painters, seasoned sketchers and amateur artists – all of whom have been inspired to create art by the city they call home. With The Dublin Art Book coming out this month, we spoke to City Art Books creator and editor Emma Bennett to find out more.
What originally inspired you to start City Art Books?
I was visiting the bookshop at the Tate Modern in Liverpool in 2016, and the display of books about art got me thinking how great it would be to show my (adopted) home city of Cambridge through the eyes of the artists it inspires. I am a visual artist and much of my work shows Cambridge and Ely. There wasn’t anything like it, so I thought: how hard could it be to put a book together? It was challenging – and a leap of faith from independent Cambridge publisher UIT and the artists involved – but in 2017 The Cambridge Art Book was published, showing the city through the eyes of over 50 local artists in a huge range of media and styles.
Are there any highlights from the Cambridge Art Book that you’d like to share?
The highlights from The Cambridge Art Book and the City Art book series as a whole are similar. It is an honour to see such great works of contemporary art in the cities and to then work with the artists to put the books together. So far I have worked with over 300 artists and have made some lovely artist friends along the way. Another highlight is when all of the celebrity endorsements come in for each of the books, from Stephen Fry to Sir Paul McCartney, who wrote the introductory note for The Liverpool Art Book. It is always a thrill to see what those from the cities think of the art and the books.
What can we expect from the Dublin Art Book?
The Dublin Art Book will continue the City Art Book narrative of showing the city of Dublin through an amazing variety of vibrant contemporary art and styles from over 50 local artists. The maps in the book encourage locals and visitors to walk around Dublin, see the sights and stand for a while in the footsteps of an artist. The Art Books are local interest, art and a guidebook – what more could you need?
Do you have plans to curate City Art Books for any more cities in the UK?
Our first combined city book is just in production – The Bristol and Bath Art Book – which will be a great contrast of the two different cities. Then I would like to explore Manchester and its art, and then hopefully Birmingham, my city of birth, to celebrate the Commonwealth Games. The list is endless though, and I get contacted by artists from all over asking if I am going to come to their city!
Due to be released on 3 September, The Dublin Art Book will be available to purchase for £14.99 from the book’s website, thedublinartbook.co.uk