Gaylord Schanilec

As an artist, writer, letterpress printer, designer and illustrator, Gaylord Schanilec has set the standard for contemporary artist’s books over the last 30 years. His highly collected and unique fine press books explore his interests and experiences as well as his hometown landscape and community.

From farming culture and the waters of the Mississippi, to an exhaustive inventory of the 24 species of trees surrounding his Stockholm, Wisconsin home and studio, Schanilec’s wood engravings illustrate local landscapes, historical anecdotes and natural science investigations. Schanilec has also explored subjects far from home, including two books about New York City.

Artist Statement:

In August of 2008 I launched the “Hungry Mind,” an old aluminum-hulled Lund fishing boat into the waters of Lake Pepin, a natural widening of the Mississippi River 70 miles below the Twin Cities. The previous year had been spent converting the boat into a studio, complete with a live well, library, and drawing table. What vague agenda I had soon became subject to chance, aligned with the rhythm and caprice of the river. The images here represent a work-in-progress, about half of a whole. The text, though written (some of it long ago), has yet to be printed. The book will be titled Lac Des Pleurs, a name given the lake by Louis Hennepin in 1680: “Thirty leagues higher up you find lake of Tears, which we so named, because the Indians who had taken us, wishing to kill us, some of them wept the whole night, to induce the others to consent to our death…