About the Book
In the introduction to the first edition (36th printing, December 1943) for the Boy Scouts Of America Manual, it is stated that only the Bible exceeds the Boy Scout’s publication in terms of production volume and sale figures.
HANDBOOK FOR BOYS uses the re-copied, reticulated and disintegrating woodcut illustrations from the Boy Scouts Of America Manual as a starting point to discuss ideas of coding, value systems and honor.
HANDBOOK FOR BOYS attempts to frame the contemporary gay male experience by deconstructing the oaths, rules and expectations set forth by the Boy Scouts.
Thus, existing merit badge titles are re-designed to accommodate the potential ways in which the author can conceivably earn them. Likewise, the various Boy Scout character traits associated with each of the 16 cardinal points on a compass are re-assessed. Hypothetical patrol mascots and secret calls have also been re-evaluated based on personal encounters with queer sub-cultures|sub-groupings.
As a double-sided book, HANDBOOK FOR BOYS also includes the public performance BLAZING TRAILS. 200 double- sided screenprinted plywood discs were used like trail markers directing the way to the various necessary sites the author visited on a daily basis as part of surviving the three month artist residency period at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska.
Formally trained as a printmaker, Joel Seah received his Master of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Until he relocated permanently to Royal Oak | Michigan this year to become the primary healthcare provider for his boyfriend, Seah maintained a tenure-track position in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Southern Maine | Portland, where he was named as the Outstanding Emerging Teacher | Scholar for 2008. Upon his resignation, Seah started GreenBambooStudios - a graphic design business exploring ventures in commercial visual communication - as a means to support a now independently funded fine arts studio practice. In spite of having exhibited both internationally and nationally, as well as holding numerous visiting artist and artist-in-residence positions, Seah’s proudest accomplishment to date has been holding on to the same boyfriend for the past five years and counting.