Location: Rochester, NY.
Duration: I have been working professionally since 2007, but with a couple of interruptions: I spent two years in graduate school, and another two years teaching graphic design full-time at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). In January 2014, I made a major shift in my practice to focus on book covers.
Education: BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts.
Artistic influences: I often look to artists for ideas about how to use materials. People like Bruno Munari, Heinz Mack, Ann Hamilton, Anni Albers, Hella Jongerius, James Welling and Corita Kent are big influences. I admire graphic designers who embrace an analog-digital process, including Skolos-Wedell, Martin Venezky and Oded Ezer. I love ceramics, especially the work of Elke Sada, Henk Wolvers, Lubna Chowdhary, Wouter Dam and Bodil Manz.
Cultural influences: Reading. I enjoy nonfiction, especially biographies and the work of artists who write about their process. Where the Heart Beats by Kay Larson and Daybook by Anne Truitt are a couple of favorites. I also look forward to devouring the New York Times in print every Sunday.
Big break: I designed book covers for myself, without any clients, for about seven years. During this time I was working as a graphic designer on other types of projects, attending graduate school, and teaching graphic design. I found that the work I was being paid for was not exactly the type of work that I wanted to be doing. In order to change my practice, I had to build a portfolio of work that I loved and wanted to do more of. Over time, I developed a portfolio that allowed me to go after book cover work. My big break was when a friend introduced me to my first paying book cover client, Stanford University Press.
Work environment: I collaborate with my husband Mitch Goldstein. We work at home—the whole first floor of our house is our studio. It’s just the two of us, and we work very closely together on all aspects of our practice. We have everything we need here: lots of tables, a photography setup, printers, scanners, etc. Collecting is essential. We have a supply room full of materials and tools waiting for the right project to come along. The studio starts out neatly organized at the beginning of each project, and gets turned upside down by the end. Then we clean the space up again as a way to change gears for the next project.
Approach: I am an image-maker. I make most of my book cover images by constructing tactile objects or three-dimensional setups and then photographing or scanning them. I love finding ways to embed text in physical objects, building scenes in-camera instead of relying on purely digital effects. I combine analog and digital tools, often layering the two many times. Using both hand-crafted and computer-based methods allows me to work beyond the constraints of the computer and take advantage of the aesthetic possibilities of the actual materials.
Aspirations: I want to be doing exactly what I’m doing now, just more of it. I hope to work with more publishers and to design for many different types of books and other publications.