Alex Appella

writer · book artist

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The János Letter
by Alex Appella


$1000 BUY NOW


I worked for many years researching, writing, and creating The János Book. Over a decade. It's the project that brought me to Argentina originally in 1994, to speak with János, my grandfather's brother. János was the only elder living who could answer questions that arose in our home in the US after going through my deceased grandfather's things.

The János Book came to life as a limited edition artist's book in 2006.

Then, in 2012 the book stepped out of the artist's book world and into the trade edition world, here in Argentina where it was published in Spanish as Entonces el libro.

After nearly 20 years of accompanying this project, I was rather certain I had written and produced all that could be written and produced.

But then, in May of 2014, I received a letter in the mail.

From János.

He wrote it to me in 1983, and due to a string of incredible events, as only real life can offer us, it showed up on my doorstep last May. János passed away in 2003.

The letter from János, both its arrival and its content, was too incredible to not bring to the readers of The János Book. As a writer, and a book artist, it was a new challenge to revisit a work I believed to be finished, and create a book that is...a prologue? epilogue? I leave it to the reader to decide. However it is labeled, both books are now inseparable. One depends entirely on the other.

Not only did the new book design need to mesh with the very large János Book in English, it needed to mesh with the much smaller trade edition in Spanish. It was a unique challenge.

The result is The János Letter.
It depends on woven pages, collage and text to capture the letter's arrival and its content.
In a continuing effort to bridge my two worlds, the book is bilingual (English and Spanish).


About The János Letter (Artist's Book Edition):
8.5 x 25 x 1.5 inches (closed), a matching volume to The János Book. 
The story of the letter's arrival and its content is told through 11 digitally produced collages and woven pages.
The book is bound in a hardback Japanese stabbinding and housed in a gray clam shell box.
The János Letter was printed on Inspira Offset paper, 176 gram, using an Epson Ink Jet Printer.
All acid-free materials.
This limited edition of 50 numbered copies was begun January 2015.
Bilingual (English and Spanish). 

See the TRADE EDITION here.


Wesleyan University, Olin Library, Special Collections. Connecticut, USA.