Kiss and Tell Press/Michael Wynne
How did you become involved in artist’s books?
I’d been a writer for about twenty years when I began to feel I wanted more than words. Photography is an old love of mine that I’d kind of forgotten for thirty years. I started taking pictures of friends, lovers and strangers, and began to make photobooks. In the beginning my practice was so private that I just did whatever I wanted – with a bit of help from YouTube videos! Then I allowed myself to do bad illustrations and made zines out of them. I guess, in a way, it all happened organically – this search for other ways to engage with the book form – but was also unexpected. Writing was always how I identified what I do, then gradually I was an artist. Then, about five years ago, a weekend bookbinding workshop at City Lit in London changed everything and opened up new possibilities for me. What I realised as soon as I started studying bookbinding, is that my love for books is just as much for books as objects than it is for what happens inside them.
What is the focus of your practice?
My main focus is trying to make sense of the world. Relationships, sex, Brexit, trauma, PTSD, life in a war zone, how we survive and keep going. I’m very interested in what happens when two people are in a room alone together, and I’m interesting in exploring ways to make sense through mark-making on paper, through abstraction. After a lifetime of relying solely on words – writing is the hardest artform – I like the playfulness and experimentation that visual art allows.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a big artist’s book called Brexit. That was exhausting and abstract, so I’m back to words and trying to finish a couple of novels I’ve been working on for a while. I’m also working on a photobook about sweets and chocolates.