3Q&A with Jessica Willams

1. Which of the qualities of the book (as a form and a concept) do you appreciate the most?

The inherent intimacy of books is perhaps my favorite thing about them as a format. The one on one experience is something special.

2. Tell us about your most recent publication/book work/fanzine!

While in Philadelphia for a two person exhibition this past May, I produced a quick artist’s book on the gallery’s Risograph machine. The publication is called “Not ready for this world” and is a mash-up of poems I wrote in 2012 and photographs from the island of Svalbard taken last year. It is a two-color and two-paper little book, with the available materials and tools dictating the form and expression of content. This particular Risograph wasn’t hooked up to a computer, so everything was scanned using the built-in flatbed scanner.

Not ready for this world, 2017

Not ready for this world, 2017

3. What are your experiences when it comes to book fairs?

In 2005, while an art student in New York City, I interned at Printed Matter: making coffee, running errands, sorting books and the like. By that time, I had already been making my own zines for a few years. Every Friday I loved spending hours in that little on 22nd Street, which has since moved to a much bigger space on 11th Avenue. In the fall of 2006, I received a call from my old boss there asking if I could work at this new thing they were putting together: the first ever NY Art Book Fair. Before this fair, which acted as a bridge between the high and low, young and old, the majority of the others that displayed artist’s books were either internal for the industry or specialized in blue-chip printmaking editions.

Slow Education, 2013

Slow Education, 2013

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

In 2011, I started my first artist’s publishing venture called North, South, East, West (NSEW). In the four years that I worked under that name, I traveled to fairs in places like Oslo, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Antwerp, Tokyo and Milan. Each fair was different and I felt like I learned something new each time, both when it came to artist’s books and the respective host countries. In 2014, the last year of the press, I finally returned to the NY Art Book Fair as an exhibitor. Full circle. Last year I began publishing again, but under a new name: Hverdag Books. This new press is primarily a personal project and thus far I have only published my own works through it. With Hverdag I have traveled to Bergen and soon Shanghai.

Bergen Art Book Fair 2016

Bergen Art Book Fair 2016