For the past few years Nicholas Gottlund has been producing ridiculously beautiful, often hand-made artist books from his studio in Pennsylvania, US. The catalog is growing steadily – recent books showcase the work of Ali Bosworth and Ed Panar – so we thought it high time to find out exactly what’s going on…
Nicholas, can you tell us a little bit about Gotlund Verlag?
I started a small print shop in 2005 doing letterpress and offset work mostly for friends. In 2007 I decided to move into printing and publishing books, specifically artist books. So, since then that’s what we’ve been doing. We work primarily with photographers and/or photo-based work to produce limited edition books and multiples. The majority of the printing and binding is done in house and by hand at the studio in Pennsylvania.
How do you choose the artists you work with? How important are personal relationships?
It’s important to me that the books can, in a sense, all hang out together on the bookshelf. That said I meet artists in different ways and the process of creating a book together is a close collaboration. Some artists I meet through mutual friends and a dialog starts. Other artists I approach because I appreciate their work or feel that a body of work would work well in book form.
So who designs the books?
I generally do, but always along with the artist. It’s a process of making everything available and then narrowing down the right choices for that particular project. My main goal with book design is to maintain a light hand.
How important is the book as a physical object to you?
A book’s physicality is paramount. It is something that you are meant to hold. You relate to its scale and weight. It will always have a specific smell. All these things you experience right away in that moment of picking it up the first time. If you live with the book, you learn to know it in detail.
What are you working on now? What books have you got coming out soon?
We’re finishing up the last in an edition of unique books by Sam Falls titled ‘Light Work’. These are books that Sam has made by masking out construction paper and fading it in sunlight. The book pages are then bound and it’s all housed in a custom book box. Also to be released later in the spring is our second book with Coley Brown titled ‘A Recurring Dream’. It’s looking like a great follow up to his first book, ‘Jam Jelly Honey Wild Rice’!
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