The Book Surgeon - Brian Dettmer

Published: 05 January, 2012 - Featured in Skin Deep 207, January, 2012

We know for a fact that pretty much all of our readers appreciate great art when they see it – and while this has got nothing whatsoever to do with tattoo (so far as we know) – its very subject matter elevates itself into our pages.

Originally from Chicago, Brian Dettmer currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Brian Dettmer is a genius. This is my honest appraisal of the man. Known better to some perhaps as The Book Surgeon, Dettmer does some serious damage (in a good way) to ‘antiquated’ media that makes me wonder how you even begin chipping away at a project like this.

In recent years, Dettmer has established himself as one of the leading international contemporary artists working with the book today. In 2011 his work was featured on the cover of Book Art (Gestalten Publishers, Berlin) and was discussed in a historical context in Bookwork (Stewart, The University of Chicago Press). In 2012 he is scheduled to have solo shows in San Francisco with Toomey Tourell Fine Art and The Jewish Community Center; in Maribor, Slovenia as part of its celebration as the European Cultural Capital of 2012; in Lucca, Italy for Cartasia, a biennale of contemporary paper art; and in Atlanta at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. His work is also scheduled to be in several group shows including ‘40 under 40’ at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute.

If you get a chance to check out his work in the flesh (as I damn well plan to as soon as possible), I’m sure it will be mind blowing. It’s simply fascinating to look at on the page and I’m sure it has the propensity to be quite life changing with regards to the levels of what we accept as ‘great art’.

You can check out Dettmer’s official site at, but there’s a great interview with him that’s worth a read, here: Aside from that, I think the books do quite enough talking for him.