Photograph from VABF 2019 of the Vancouver Art Book Fair hallway at Emily Carr University, attendees look at exhibitor tables, a plant is out of focus in the foreground.

Free and open to the public, VABF is a multi-day celebration of artists’ publishing featuring over one hundred local, national and international publishers, as well as a diverse line-up of programs, performances and artists’ projects.

Featured exhibitors produce everything from books, magazines, zines and printed ephemera to digital, performative or other experimental forms of publication.

VABF is Canada’s first art book fair and the longest-running international art book fair in the country.

Vision

Our vision is for Vancouver Art Book Fair to lead the development of the international community of art book publishers, makers and appreciators, furthering art literacy as well as the establishment of art books as an artistically and socially relevant medium.

 

Mission

Vancouver Art Book Fair is a non-profit organization committed to the advancement, appreciation and circulation of artists’ publishing. Through community-focused public programming, we provide inclusive platforms to deepen engagement with artists’ books and connect local and international communities.

History

The seeds of the Vancouver Art Book Fair (VABF) were planted in 2006 when VABF Founders Tracy Stefanucci and Ken Yong created one cool word, an art and literary magazine that featured work by Vancouverites.

In 2010, one cool word relaunched as OCW Magazine and Stefanucci registered the organization as a non-profit under the name OCW Arts & Publishing Foundation. One year later, a bookshop and gallery named Project Space was opened at 222 East Georgia Street in Chinatown. From 2011 to 2013, Project Space presented many curatorial projects, including Arte Factum, an exhibition of poetry chapbooks curated by Daniel Zomparelli of Poetry Is Dead; the exhibition Party Foreverer, which was accompanied by an artist book by Jeffry Lee of Hard Drugs; Summer School, a socially-based work by the American artists Erin Jane Nelson and Ming Lin; Money Is Just Paperwork, by collage artist Randy Grskovic; and the Wandering Art Metropole Publication and Ephemera Archive, co-presented with Art Metropole, Montreal and featuring work by Julia Feyrer and leannej. Project Space also served as a community hub and venue for a variety of art and literary events, readings and workshops.

After observing the increasing interest around art publishing in Vancouver during this period, Stefanucci founded the first annual Vancouver Art/Book Fair in 2012 (the backslash was dropped from the name in 2016), held at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The immediate energy around the fair made it clear VABF would become the organization’s main activity, and in 2013 the Project Space storefront was closed to focus on the book fair. 

In addition to the main fair, VABF has continued to produce a variety of auxiliary community programming. Most notable is the Monthly Open Studio series, curated by Asia Harvey, Melanie Trojkovic, Sylvana dAngelo, Yifan Jiang and Jennifer Dickieson, which began in 2015 and was held at the organization’s 236 East Pender Street studio. After the VABF studio—affectionately remembered for its by-donation brews, a pug studiomate named Penelope and an after-hours “knock loudly” access point via an alley in Chinatown—was closed in 2018, the Open Studios moved to Dynamo Arts Association in 2018 under the initiative of dAngelo. Unibrow Arts Festival, Vancouver’s first comedy and zine festival, was co-created under the leadership of VABF Executive Director, Lisa Curry and local comedian, Cameron Macleod. Other activities include VABF’s attendance with dAngelo of Zine Club at the Fully Booked Art Book Fair in Dubai and The Garden pt 2, an installation and workshop in collaboration with Moniker Press and Vide Press at the Toronto Art Book Fair in 2018.

In 2018, VABF moved from its original location at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2012–17) to the newly opened Emily Carr University campus to accommodate for the increase in annual attendees. At this time the Guest Curator role was created to ensure diverse and dynamic programming and new policies were introduced, such as maintaining affordable table prices, introducing subsidized tables, and centering BIPOC voices.

Today, VABF is proud to continue operating the first international art book fair in Canada while serving the local art publishing community year-round through various curatorial events and activities. The organization is run by a dedicated team of independent contractors, volunteers and board members, and seeks to establish Vancouver as an international centre for artists’ publishing.

Team

Board of Directors

  • Jaclyn Arndt, Co-chair
  • Vinny Gibson, Co-chair
  • Beth Howe, Treasurer
  • Roni Simunovic, Secretary
  • Cemre Demiralp
  • Jeff Khonsary
  • Alistair Henning
  • Emma Walter

Guest Curator,
Vivian Sming

Vivian Sming is an artist, writer and publisher based in the Bay Area. She produces a wide range of artists’ books through her publishing studio Sming Sming Books. Formed in 2017, the studio experiments with books as art, discourse, exhibition and archive, working in collaboration with artists whose works and ideas inform design, material and printing choices. Sming is invested in creating books from practices that are challenging to represent on paper, and is committed to promoting critical discourse and advancing cultural equity through the format of publishing.⁠

She holds an BA in Art from UCLA, an MFA from CalArts, and was a 2016-17 Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In 2018, Sming Sming Books received the Shannon Michael Cane Memorial Award from Printed Matter. Her books have been collected by over seventy libraries, museums and universities nation- and worldwide, including the Getty, Whitney, Met, MoMA and SFMOMA, and were most recently on view in the exhibition Printed Publics: Contemporary Art and Design Publishing at SFMOMA.

Portrait of Vivian Sming wearing round glasses and black t-shirt with brown skirt. Her hand is on her hip as she stands in front of a table of books on display at a book fair.

The Guest Curator is a rotating role with the purpose of programming dynamic, diverse and interesting presentations to take place during the fair weekend. Past VABF Guest Curators have included Kathy Slade (2019) and Jeff Khonsary (2018).

Photo of a group of volunteers standing in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Thank you

Since VABF was founded, countless people have dedicated an immeasurable number of hours shaping and building the organization and its projects. 

Volunteers

While it would be impossible to name everyone, we’d like to express immense gratitude to some of the volunteers who shaped and built the organization through its various incarnations: Jaclyn Arndt, Bridgette Badowich, Stephane Bernard, Kristin Cheung, Sarah Ellis Clark, Lisa Curry, Sylvana dAngelo, Sarah Davidson, Pete Florentini, Jake Tobin Garrett, Vinny Gibson, Jaz Halloran, Asia Harvey, Julia Dahee Hong, Sarah Husain, Emilia Kalka, Jeff Khonsary, Michael Lee, Megan Low, Jessie McNeil, Jen Neale, Christy Nyiri, Shannon Rayne, Jenny Shipper, Tracy Stefanucci, cheyanne tourions, Melanie Trojkovic, Emma Walter, Lauren Wetmore, Erica Wilk and Ken Yong.

2019 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Alice Yang, Amy Cornish, Bianca Lui, Catalina Valenzuela, Claire Williams, Dallas McKinnon, Eno Won, Flora Lee, Hubert Leung, Jenn Poon, Jess Driscoll, Joshua Kim, Juliet Zhu, Kathrin Teh, Kathleen, Le Nguyen, Liam Binnema, Li Zhang, Mary Gavan, Megan Low, Mel King, Mengxi Chen, Mizuki Eguchi, Nathan Willis, Nidhi Hira, Ranee Ng, Reiko Innouye, Ruby Izatt, Ruby Pang, Sirja Moberg, Sophie Meuller, Sorina Chirhei, TJ Tambogon, Teah Elaschuck, Trista Orchard

2018 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Ileanna Cheladyn, Mengxi (Catherine) Chen, Mindi Chen, Nicola Campney-Durrant, Claudia Fleury, Sarah Foot, Stephanie Frame, Stephanie Gagne, Hubert Leung, Catherine Hughes, Patrycja Kamska, Mel King, Max Littledale, Madison Mayhew, Genevieve Michaels, Sunny Park, Yeongju Seo, Elise Stella, Natasha Tar, Alyssa Uebelhard, Zoe Vedova, Alena Webber, Andrea Wheeler, Risa Witten, Julia Wong, Daryn Wright, Sarah Wright, Kathleen Yang, Juliet Zhu

2017 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Danni Jia, Gracelle Mesina, Judy Zheng, Yifan Jiang, Erik Hansen, Aaron Lettner, Adriana Beradini, Ana Paula Reyes Ochoa, Ann Pappajohn, Camilla Serano, Claire Finnegan, Corrina Tang, Cullen Beckhorn, Curtis Ho, Eileen Gubar, Emma Cohen, Fiona Lewis, Hannah Dempsey, Hana Golightly, Stephanie Tong, Lola Storey, Lou Papa, Mel King, Ruth Barrow, Yanya Waung

2019 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Alice Yang, Amy Cornish, Bianca Lui, Catalina Valenzuela, Claire Williams, Dallas McKinnon, Eno Won, Flora Lee, Hubert Leung, Jenn Poon, Jess Driscoll, Joshua Kim, Juliet Zhu, Kathrin Teh, Kathleen, Le Nguyen, Liam Binnema, Li Zhang, Mary Gavan, Megan Low, Mel King, Mengxi Chen, Mizuki Eguchi, Nathan Willis, Nidhi Hira, Ranee Ng, Reiko Innouye, Ruby Izatt, Ruby Pang, Sirja Moberg, Sophie Meuller, Sorina Chirhei, TJ Tambogon, Teah Elaschuck, Trista Orchard

2018 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Ileanna Cheladyn, Mengxi (Catherine) Chen, Mindi Chen, Nicola Campney-Durrant, Claudia Fleury, Sarah Foot, Stephanie Frame, Stephanie Gagne, Hubert Leung, Catherine Hughes, Patrycja Kamska, Mel King, Max Littledale, Madison Mayhew, Genevieve Michaels, Sunny Park, Yeongju Seo, Elise Stella, Natasha Tar, Alyssa Uebelhard, Zoe Vedova, Alena Webber, Andrea Wheeler, Risa Witten, Julia Wong, Daryn Wright, Sarah Wright, Kathleen Yang, Juliet Zhu

2017 VOLUNTEER TEAM

Danni Jia, Gracelle Mesina, Judy Zheng, Yifan Jiang, Erik Hansen, Aaron Lettner, Adriana Beradini, Ana Paula Reyes Ochoa, Ann Pappajohn, Camilla Serano, Claire Finnegan, Corrina Tang, Cullen Beckhorn, Curtis Ho, Eileen Gubar, Emma Cohen, Fiona Lewis, Hannah Dempsey, Hana Golightly, Stephanie Tong, Lola Storey, Lou Papa, Mel King, Ruth Barrow, Yanya Waung

Photographers

Many photographers have helped us out over the years, including some photographers whose photos are featured on this site: Michal Leonczuk, Katarzyna Roman, Lizhang, Rachel Topham, Ash Tanasiychuk, Saman Shariati, Rennie Brown, Ester Tóthová, Alistair Henning, Annie Dong, Lukas Engelhardt, Jon Vincent Ragay, Jakub Markiewicz, Janaya Taylor, Hikaru Hayashi and VANDOCUMENT.

Thank you Camille Vernet of Inspired BC for video footage of the 2018 Fair. 

Branding and Design

Thank you to our past and present graphic designers who have helped make each year’s branding unique! Hayley Burns, Cora Yiu, Cristian Hernandez, Sylvana dAngelo, Martin Gnadt, Lindsey Hampton, Pete Florentini, Christy Nyiri and Jaz Halloran

And to the artists who collaborated with us to create fundraising edition prints or totes: JP King, Ryan Thompson, Tylor Mcmillan, Karlene Harvey, Aaron Read, Dana Kearley, Brick Press, Mike Bourscheid and Ilya Milstein.

VABF’s smiley logo designed by Pete Florentini

Art Book Month logo designed by Yeongju Seo