The Assignment


Charles Hobson
San Francisco, CA

Title: Three Kisses

Number of Copies in Edition: 90
Size: 5 1/2 x 4 x 3/4 inches
Number of Pages: 12

Medium: Postcards, translucent envelopes, various papers and postcard photographs by Robert Doisneau. Each envelope contains a photograph and a fictional story by Charles Hobson about the persons in the photographs. A pastel monotype by Charles Hobson is reproduced as a digital pigment print with hand coloring. The book is bound as an accordion and has a corrugated board slipcase.

Price: $275

To purchase, please contact Laura at 23 Sandy Gallery.

The Assignment

THREE KISSES was made to test out an assignment that I’ve now been giving to SF Art Institute students for the last six years. Each student is given $7 and an hour to buy materials at a local design supply store named ARCH. We then visit the nearby SF Center for the Book where, working in the bindery, the students are given an hour to put the book together. The purpose of the assignment is to challenge students to respond quickly and directly to actual materials and to see how much holding materials in your hands can give to the creative process. (Actual rules set forth below.)

THREE KISSES was made initially using the limitations of time and money and then developed further into an edition.


Rules for ARCH Design Book Project

Goal: Acquire materials to make a book for no more than $7 at ARCH Design, 99 Missouri Street. (This envelope contains $7. Arch gives a 10% discount to students, which covers the tax.)

Suggestions: Folders; postcards; papers, stickers, containers, plastic trees; plastic snakes.

For text, options are handwritten text or found text pasted down, or letraset (press type).

Rule 1. Only use materials PURCHASED or FOUND at ARCH except
Metal ruler
Folding bone
Cutting knife
Binding Thread
Sewing Needles
Pencil and or pen
Glue Stick
Scotch 811 easy stick tape

Rule 2. One hour maximum
shopping time.

Rule 3. You may collaborate with others in exchanging ideas,  materials or pieces of materials but you must make you must make an individual book.

Artist Statement

I have been teaching about artist's books as a creative medium at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1990.If you conceive of a book as a medium of expression, like sculpture or painting, you’ll notice that a book has unique qualities. It has sequence and flow, it naturally combines word and image, and it has sculptural qualities.

Sequence means one thing comes before another. It affects the narrative impact in dramatic ways. Flow offers the opportunity to create a cadence or melody. Is the page full to the brim? Or, is there only a single word on the page? A kind of music arises from such placement. Combining word and image heightens the creative effect of either picture or text alone. It’s a case of 1 + 1 = 3. Moreover a book’s sculptural qualities offer surprising opportunities to present and enhance the creative idea.



All images and text copyright the artists and authors. All rights reserved.