Artist Book: How He Died

‘How He Died’ was an old hardback book of (very) indifferent colonial poetry when I found it on the $1 table of a local second hand store. The gold embossed cloth binding with it’s Art Nouveau design on the spine was an attraction, and the title had possibilities. I chose it as a repository  for  the clippings I had amassed concerning Kurt Cobain, as a man and as an icon. Initially I removed a lot of  pages, thinking I would not have enough material to fill such a fat book, but I was wrong. As it is twenty years today since he died, I am sharing a small selection from the book.

How He Died 1


All else aside, the book gave me a space in which to experiment with many mixed-media techniques.How He Died 2

It was also a means of trying to get my head around what happened, and why, and to express my own feelings and ideas on the subject.How He Died 3

Alongside my own poem, newspaper pieces layered with photos and a dictionary extract .How He Died 4

The quotes on the left hand page are of the photographer, Stephen Sweet, about his experience of photographing Kurt.How He Died 5

“The mere fact of dying..” was in the original text of the book. Despite the dire verse, I salvaged and used bits of the old text in places throughout my new version. Whatever else any one says about Kurt Cobain (which is a lot), he sure rocked a frock on occasion.How He Died 6

After my drastic pruning of pages at the start of the process, I added some back in, including these black ones, which are mainly dedicated to quotes about the  Buddhist concept of ‘nirvana’, but also another poem which refers to the band and the concept.

How He Died 7


Of course, my favourite quote found a place. I’ve put the last few pages that I photographed today into a gallery.

I was planning to write something deep and meaningful for today’s post, but there’s not much I could say that I haven’t thought before and included in this altered book. I might share some more of it sometime.CreativityEscape

This last image is from a different altered book – “Escape”, which is dedicated to the theme of creativity. It was a rather ghastly mid-century novel before I got to it…

Vale, Kurt

April 5 1994


4 thoughts on “Artist Book: How He Died

  1. i have just spent a delightful 30 minutes lost in the pages of your blog. Thanks for sharing, i especially have enjoyed your art books even though i am not particularly a fan of Cobain’s. You are a delightful wordsmith. rochelle


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