Straight from our friends over at CrownDozen...
For publisher/designer Mark Murphy making books on artists is something that comes out of his passion to celebrate what he calls “good people who just so happened to be great artists.”
Murphy says it’s all about the exchange, “I started my firm in ’91 and soon realized that the best work was inspired out of mutual collaboration. I loved themed projects, calendars, and graphic narrative promotions featuring motivated friends. They were constantly searching out opportunities. Never knowing how something was going to end up looking visually, I found the easiest way to best represent and record all of this goodness was to publish books.”
Joe Sorren, who is currently working on paintings for his next solo show to be exhibited by Billy Shires Fine Art in 2007, has worked with Mark on two books (“When She Was Camera/ Exhibition and Installation” and “In Celebration of Balance and Opposable Thumbs”) When asked about collaborating with Murphy he described it rather succinctly by saying, ” I gave him film and let him work his design magic.” When pressed to describe this design magic Murphy says, “The magic happens when you take the pressure off of the artist. Let them realize their own unique vision. That allows them the space to continue doing what they love (paint or create inspired pieces) while some kid out back assembles, builds, critiques, and agonizes over transparencies, scans, slides, sketches and odds and ends. It is a magical process, as the opportunity allows for close examination of bodies of work that blow you away.”
This is in full evidence in Murphy’s beautiful book of the art of Jeff Soto “Potato Stamp Dreams.” The layout is simple and unobtrusive with full reproductions and close ups that allow for a kind of examination only bested by a magnifying glass held up to the actual object.
Jeff, who is currently working on new paintings for his show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in February 2006, juggling toy design projects for Critterbox and Toy2R, doing book signings for “Potato Stamp Dreams” while trying to spend time with his wife and new baby, clearly enjoyed being a part of the magic saying,”Mark was really fun to work with because he understood what I wanted to do with this book. From the start my intentions were to tell a story and take the viewer on a journey rather than just show the artwork. I wanted people to get a feel for where I’m coming from and what my inspirations are. To start out I gave Mark a sample book layout that I’d put together just to organize my thoughts. Mark has a great eye and I think he took my ideas and ran with it. We shot ideas back and forth through email, and as things progressed he would come over and show me printouts of completed pages. We both had ideas and it was fun to collaborate.”
For Murphy working with artists as different as Sorren and Soto means considering what level of involvement comes with each one’s territory. “The most important thing is to understand the artist’s connection with their work, where they are, where they want to go, what the most important and personal pieces that they have to celebrate are and what they are most comfortable with. For each artist, its all about figuring out an interesting way to tell their story, relay the emotion of the collected works, while allowing “just enough” to satisfy the reader. The most important part for me is to connect the artist with fans of art and culture now and after.”
To help Mark realize this goal check out the books he’s published.
link to Murphy Design: http://www.murphydesign.com/
link to CrownDozen.com: http://crowndozen.com