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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Book Unworthy of the Art, May 9, 2012
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This review is from: Chris Bathgate Metal Work (Paperback)
I bought this book on a whim, having read a blog post about Bathgate's scuplture, which led me to the book itself. Bathgate's machined sculptures are, to my mind, the stuff of sci-fi dreams, with cool, inviting surfaces and contours joined with precision fits and imagined purposes. Just take a gander at the images on his website ([...]) and ponder, if just for a moment, how in the world you might be able to scratch together the $6K+ needed for one of his amazing creations.

I hoped the book would be as slick and finely honed as his sculptures, with glossy pictures and diagrams interspersed with tightly worded descriptors and illuminating context. I wanted it to be an interesting addition to the coffee table, a simple stand-in I could afford in lieu of one of his precious works of art.

The cover was promising: heavy grade paper with a high gloss finish, featuring one of his more appealing works. Then I opened the book. To my utter disappointment, what I in fact got was a very poor quality design-and-print job, which may have been intended for sale entirely via print-on-demand. The edit is poor. The font choice is poor. The formatting is just plain awful. And worst of all--because it affects your impression of the art itself--is the image reproduction on poor quality paper that apparently has no coating on it to protect the print from smudges, fading ... or even inadvertent fingernail scratches. I swear, I just lightly scraped the dark background of one of the pictures and it left a bright vertical scratch, effectively ruining the picture.

Curious that an artist with such attention to detail would create such an amateurish book to represent his art. Unless this book gets some serious, professional publishing treatment in a revised edition, you would be far better off just visiting his website and saving a few bucks to go toward the purchase of real art--or a real book.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 16, 2013 8:03:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2013 8:05:56 AM PDT
I thought I might wait a while before commenting on this review as I certainly did not want to comment in a way that was an emotional reaction to what is obviously a terrible review. But seeing as I have just made an update to the book and this review persists, I felt I must at least rebut a little. I think this review is unfortunate for a number of reasons that I will state below.

While I certainly appreciate the reviewers praise of my actual sculpture work, I think the reviewers critique of the book comes from a place of misplaced expectations.
I will make no bones about the fact this is indeed a self published, print on demand art book. I can not comment on his preference for fonts and formatting although I find those comments at least slightly puzzling. I can however say, that as a working artist trying to make a living solely from his own efforts, it can be an attractive option to try and produce a low cost book for fans of the work who do not have the means to actually collect what are admittedly much pricier sculptures. And that is exactly what this book is, a Herculean effort to produce a economical book by the sweat of my own brow with the help of a few professional writer and designer friends which I happen to be rather proud of.

The goal of this book was to try and create a nice compliment to my work while keeping costs as low as possible so that people could actually afford it. Anyone who has looked at self publishing knows costs can become unmanageable very quickly. But publishing through Create Space (which is affiliated with Amazon) provides some fairly nice, low cost solutions. But this does unfortunately limit some options, chief among them being paperback only, and sadly, no glossy paper. This seams to have been a major sticking point for the reviewer, but as much as I would have preferred it as well, glossy paper just is not an option and using another publisher that does allow that option would more than triple the cost of the book. I have done my best to optimize the images appropriately with good success.

My main reason for my comment about expectations is based on the knowledge that the book the reviewer describes as the one he was hoping for (high end publisher, heavy glossy paper) would cost many times more than the current retail price of $20 which is actually even lower given Amazons discounts (currently $13 bucks). I think the book is a wonderful buy as is, and a great deal at that price.

I think it is unfortunate that the buyer expected what could easily be a $100 or more Coffee table Art book for such a reasonably low price. I am actually exploring options to produce such a high end art book in the future, but I would expect the price tag to be well over $100 and I am not sure if there is any demand for such an expensive book. But if the reviewer would like to contact me, I would be happy to see what I can do to remedy or improve the situation regardless. I would like nothing more than to keep fans of my work happy.

Chris Bathgate
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Location: Seattle, WA USA

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