The Art of the Book and Romanticizing Landscape

For several months now, I have had the pleasure to work on a project with my friend and fellow artist Cat Snapp. On a Texas summer evening, we discussed over dinner our overlapping interests in the outdoors and the influence it has on our work. Through connection to the geological past or ties to personal culture, we each use print media to speak about the personal, historical, and psychological relationships we have with the world around us. At a certain point, we realized that the project that would best unite our voices and express the feeling we wanted was a letterpress printed artist’s book. It has the power to be intimate with the reader, yet it transcends the starkness of simple text on a page – it can reach into places travelled and landscapes desired.

Cat is currently a Seattle-based artist, while I live in San Antonio, Texas. In December, we joined up at my studio to work on drawings and make several important decisions about the size and look of the book based on our previous mock ups.

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Cat Snapp and Nicole Geary, at work in the studio. 2014.

Collaborating across the miles and with tools like Skype and Dropbox is helpful, but isn’t quite as good as being in the same studio, able to get immediate feedback and play off one another’s input.  We got to talk more extensively about text, which is the stream that flows through the book and unites our conceptual choices with the imagery.  Our unique perspectives on land, rocks, and spiritual encounters in the wild are the basis for a partnership in writing. This small book will acknowledge the realm of the outdoors, yet leave space for the inner voice to speak.

An early mock-up for the artist’s book collaboration. 2014.

It seems we are finally at a stage now where the existence of the book is imminent.  We have made more drawings for plates than are even essential, and our plans for the stream of the book are like the scenery they are meant to reflect: undergoing a process of subtle ebb and flow. The book itself focuses on themes of landscape, poetry, spirituality, time, and kinship.

Cat and I also applied for and received a Book Arts Residency here in San Antonio at the Southwest School of Art which will enable us to have dedicated time to print and put the book together this summer.