In 1983, while combing through a flea market in Salem, Massachusetts, a young artist named John Derian happened upon a box of nineteenth-century books. Inside were two remarkable, intensely colored loose prints that unleashed an obsessive curiosity. Had these prints come from other books? How could the color be so vivid when the prints were so old? That curiosity led him to what would become a lifelong search for centuries-old prints of flowers, fruits, animals, calligraphy, and other beautiful memorabilia. A few years after finding those first prints, Derian discovered the forgotten craft of decoupage-the art of cutting and gluing images under glass-and realized that this art form was the ideal way to share his passion for the printed image.
Fast-forward to today: John Derian designs and oversees the handcrafting of more than six hundred one-of-a-kind plates, paperweights, platters, and trays, which are carried by hundreds of gift shops worldwide. A John Derian piece inspires a timeless fascination. You hold it. You turn it over. And you're compelled to look again.
Nearly thirty years after he began his journey, Derian offers for the first time a highly curated collection of his most coveted images-removed from under the glass, shown with all their imperfections. The iconic human eye. An eighteenth-century illustration of a sea fan. A wistful note written in elegant script. The pages capture the unmediated pleasure of image meeting eye and everything else that comes with it: the layers of meaning, the mystery of its origins, the silence of a work frozen in time.