Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Glenn Goluska, 1947–2011

Glenn Goluska
Glenn Goluska judging the Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design
in Canada, March 2007. Photograph by Jason Vanderhill

On Saturday, August 13, 2011, the book arts community lamented the loss of Canadian book designer, typographer, and letterpress printer Glenn Goluska who passed away in Montreal after a battle with cancer.

Glenn was this year's winner of the Alcuin Society's Robert R. Reid Award which recognized his lifetime achievement and contributions to the Book Arts in Canada. He received the award earlier this year in a private presentation ceremony in Montreal.

This was certainly not the first time his work has been acknowledged. In fact, Glenn was winning awards before the Alcuin Awards even existed. As mentioned on Nigel Beale's blog recently, while he was working for Coach House Books in Toronto in 1978, he won an AIGA Award for Book Design for BP Nichols’ Journal. 

The first year the Alcuin Awards for Book Design were issued was in 1981, and Glenn was one of only three designers to receive the honour. He received his award in the prose category for the book A Trip Around Lake Huron by David W. McFadden, published by Coach House Books. The other winners were Frank Newfeld for Down to Earth: Canadian Potters at Work, and Tim Inkster for McAlmond's Chinese Opera.

Glenn would continue to attract the judges attention over the years. He was honoured again in 1985, with the book Inner Necessities: The Letters of David Jones To Desmond Chute. In 1992, he was honoured twice; once for Parables and Other Allegories: The Work of Melvin Charney, 1975-1990, and again for Publications de l'Avant-Garde Soviétique; Dessins d'architecture de l'avant garde russe, 1917-1935. In 1994, he was honoured for the book Eadweard Muybridge et le panorama photographique de San Francisco, 1850 - 1880. In 1995, he was honoured for
the book Cités de l'archéologie fictive: oeuvres de Peter Eisenman, 1978-1988. In 1999, he received honourable mention for the book Carlo Scarpa Architect: Intervening With History.

Robert Bringhurst writes on page 98 of The Surface of Meaning: Books and Book Design in Canada about Glenn's publication Liebhaber's Wood Type, which was an excerpt from the Robert Kroetsch novel What the Crow Said:
In 1987, Glenn Goluska created a typographic tour-de-force part of a novel by Robert Kroetsch, and the same inventiveness could easily be visited on the work of Atwood or Lee. In most cases, however, this would probably turn out to be irrelevant intrusion. Goluska's showpiece is relevant indeed, and not at all intrusive, because the episode he chose from Kroetsch's novel concerns a small-town printer having a medicine fight with his type. Goluska entered quite straightforwardly into the spirit of Kroetsch's work - in effect producing a typographic play for which Kroetsch had written the script. Most novels, however, are not about typographers or printers. And even in ardently self-enchanted historical periods such as ours, most writing is not about writing.  
Other tributes to Glenn are now appearing across the web, and on the Fine Press Book Association's blog, Paul Razzell writes:
This spring, as I was putting Parenthesis 21 to bed, I was presented with an opportunity to run a gallery of a few of Glenn’s book and poster designs. As I pulled this illustrated article together, I feared that it would turn out to be an obituary of sorts, and so it turned out to be. I am sad that Glenn won’t see this feature appear in Parenthesis 21, which comes out next month, but I am very glad to be able to share his work with readers of Parenthesis.
As an added tribute, the entire issue is set in a brand new typeface called “Goluska,” designed by Glenn’s friend, Canadian type designer Rod MacDonald. This will be the first appearance of this font in print.
Andrew Steeves, publisher of Gaspereau Press (and designer of the North American issues of Parenthesis) visited Glenn Goluska this spring in Montreal and posted an account of his visit on the Gaspereau Press blog.
Gaspereau Press has again written a brief tribute to Glenn here, alluding to further words & reflection in the future. Coach House Press has also paid their respects with this post.
Having won numerous awards himself over the years, Glenn was gracious enough to share his expertise not once but twice, acting as a judge in our annual book design competition. He came to Vancouver for the 2005 and 2006 Alcuin Awards, judged in the spring of 2006 and 2007 respectively. Here is the photoset from his return trip to Vancouver, judging alongside Alan Brownoff and Jan Elsted in March of 2007. And from the 2006 Alcuin Awards catalog, I'll conclude this post with Glenn's bio in English and French. He shall be missed, but not forgotten. 
Glenn Goluska is a book designer, typographer, and sometime letterpress printer with no formal design training but a lifelong love of type. In Toronto he gained an invaluable education working at the Coach House Press, designed and printed limited editions for his private press as well as for clients such as Margaret Atwood and the Writers Union of Canada, and taught typography at York University. Work led to a year of commuting and finally a move to Montreal, where for ten years he designed exhibition catalogues and posters for the Canadian Centre for Architecture. His design work has won numerous awards in Canada and the US. He now works as a freelance designer and is slowly attempting to get away from the Macintosh and back to letterpress now and again. He lives in Montreal with Pica the one-eyed cat and canoes on the Lachine Canal.

Glenn Goluska n’a pas fait d’études en design, mais, depuis toujours, il aime les caractères typographiques, ce qui l’a amené à exercer les métiers de concepteur graphique de livres, de typographe et quelquefois d’imprimeur en typographie. À Toronto, il a acquis une formation inestimable en travaillant à Coach House Press; il a conçu et imprimé des éditions à tirage limité pour son imprimerie particulière, de même que pour des clients comme Margaret Atwood et The Writers Union of Canada; il a enseigné la typographie à l’Université York. En raison du travail, il a passé un an à faire la navette entre Toronto et Montréal, où il a fini par s’établir et où, pendant dix ans, il a assuré la conception graphique de catalogues et d’affiches d’exposition pour le Centre canadien d’architecture. Ses travaux de conception graphique lui ont valu de nombreux prix, au Canada aussi bien qu’aux États-Unis. Aujourd’hui pigiste, il cherche tout doucement à s’éloigner de son ordinateur pour se remettre à la typographie, de temps à autre. Il vit à Montréal avec Pica, une chatte borgne et fait du canot sur le canal de Lachine.

The 3 Judges
Judging the 2006 Alcuin Book Design Awards in March of 2007
Alan Brownoff, Glenn Goluska, and Jan Elsted. Photograph by Jason Vanderhill

1 comment:

  1. Wow Deirdra, those are some pretty colourful awards! Thanks for the commendations!