“We come across all sorts of materials in our day- to-day lives, and each one of them can be useful in making art.”
Henry Martin: What is inspiration? How do you find it?
Anne Jordan: As a book cover designer, the text itself is a huge inspiration – the words are my art direction. In the bigger picture of my practice, inspiration is that initial spark of curiosity or impetus to get up and start making something. It’s not usually a full idea, instead it’s more of a feeling of being drawn to a certain material or curiosity about a process. The value in inspiration for me is that starting point. Making makes ideas, so as long as I can start somewhere (it almost doesn’t even matter where), get my hands and brain going, I don’t need to search for more inspiration. It develops out of the process.
I most often find that initial spark of curiosity in materials. We come across all sorts of materials in our day- to-day lives, and each one of them can be useful in making art. Anything can become an image. A walk through the local hardware store leads to infinite ideas. Inspiration could be the way light interacts with a surface, the line quality of a crack in winter ice, or the way a pile of beads rolls across a table. My curiosity in materials eventually leads to physical setups that I photograph, scan, or manipulate in other ways to become pieces of design.
Henry Martin: How do you work?
Anne Jordan: My husband Mitch Goldstein and I work together in our home studio, collaborating on everything. Our projects are a mix of book cover designs for publishers, other client commissions, and self-directed art projects. Our house is designed around our studio space – we have a very small living area, instead dedicating almost all of our space to different types of studios (a lighting/photo studio, a clean digital design space, a wet darkroom, and a messy sculpture/ceramics space). Our goal is to combine all of these different ways of working. A photogram may influence a book cover, a ceramic experiment may become a typography treatment, laser cut paper may find its way into a ceramic process, etc.
Our graphic design practice focuses on book cover design. Book covers are appealing to us because they provide an ideal opportunity to investigate type and image. We do this by exploring the intersection between typography and materials, using literature as content and inspiration. We’re fascinated by the power of a material to form the visual shape of a word, and also inform that word’s meaning. We use materials and methods as visual metaphors.
All of our work starts with a pile of physical materials that we play and experiment with, then we run the materials through a variety of analog and digital tools such as cameras, projectors, and scanners. We build physical setups that we can manipulate with our hands, and then document them. The visual style and spirit of our work comes directly from this process, and it’s what makes our work unique.
Title: The Gist of Reading. Date: Designed in 2017 (published in January 2018). Format/Materials: Printed book cover made by projecting typography on blank sheets of paper and photographing the setup. Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches Picture. Credit: Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein.