I finished the book design months ago. It went through a bunch of revisions, some big, some small. The writer had a lot of input. I tried to make all the changes she wanted. Tweak by tweak, minute change by imperceptible adjustment the cover turned into something I barely recognized as my own.
That’s as it should be. It’s not my name below the title. If someone wants to know who designed the thing they’ll probably have to dig around a bit. The colophon is rarely the first thing that comes up when you search for a book.
I like this kind of job because it gets me out of myself. I’m using the same muscles but to very different ends. It’s a bit like being a marionette: the audience sees the figure moving but under someone else’s power. Every time I opened Photoshop and moved a bit of text or a graphic element there was a relinquishment of control. For better or worse, in my own pictures and books there’s no one else who’s allowed so much input.
There were three or four pretty involved design projects this year. They’ll be published/released early next year. When they come out I’ll be able to observe people’s reaction like a stranger. I can cheer their success or mourn their failure for a short time, then leave and forget about it. It’s a lot harder to do when the thing is my own.
I’m not much for looking ahead for the most part. I remember when I was in school, I created small things to look forward to so I could make it through the miserable weekdays. A movie to see, a record to buy. Sometimes those faint glimmers were the only thing that would get me to walk down to the end of those dark tunnels.
It’s not that I’ve become a sunshine-y motherfucker or anything but I’m a lot more focused on the day-to-day, the minute-to-minute, than I was back then. It’s because for the most part I choose how my days pass. I’m very lucky that way. I don’t have to hold tight until the good thing happens somewhere down the line. The good thing and the bad thing is mostly right now, moment to moment.
That said, I look forward to my annual Rainbo show in June and my third show at Firecat in July. I’ll keep working on the weird new book I’ve been chipping away at for the past year. No idea when it will be done. It’ll take as long as it takes. There are a few potential art jobs that aren’t for sure yet that I very much hope will happen but those are not entirely up to me.
So it goes. Thanks as ever for reading/looking/listening. Talk to you next year.
—Listen to my talk with Chris Brokaw and/or a discussion of Midsommar.