“Books have always had a calming effect on me, not just for the stories they carry, but the visual narratives they bring into my life,” Indhira Rojas, founder and creative director of Anxy Magazine tells It’s Nice That, “I find the visual stimulation quite soothing.”
Anxy is a magazine about: “our inner worlds – the ones we often refuse to share, the personal struggles, the fears that fool us into believing that the rest of the world is normal and we’re not.” Each issue centres around a theme and, so far, the publication has tackled anger, workaholism and boundaries.
For this year’s World Mental Health Day, we got in touch to find with Indhira to find out about the books that help keep her grounded when everything gets too much; which books help keep her calm. “There are a few books in my collection that stand out in terms of bringing me to that place of calm,” she explains. “I’ve chosen them because I can revisit them over and over, and not grow tired. There’s always something new to notice and take away.”
Check out Indhira’s selection below.
Marion Deuchars: Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists
Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists is my favorite book to distract myself with. It helps me soothe to make art. My favourite part is that I don’t have to worry about how to get started, I just let Deuchars lead the way. I enjoy how each chapter expands my art vocabulary and speaks to the younger and more vulnerable parts of me. Like for example, the crayon etching technique – I remember making those as a kid!
Michael Govan and Christine Y. Kim: James Turrell, A Retrospective
The first time I saw James Turrell’s work, I was hypnotised. The absolute simplification of form through light captured my attention in ways that words can’t describe. I had never seen light used in this way before. Turrell’s work brings your brain to a halt, and you enter an almost immediate meditative state. It’s as if your eyes are so overwhelmed by what you see, all the thoughts finally quiet down.
I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Turrell’s art installations a few more times after that, most memorably, his take over of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, titled Skyspaces, and Breathing Light at LACMA in Los Angeles. The book, James Turrell, A Retrospective, transports me to those experiences. It does a fantastic job of rendering photographs of Turrell’s art that feel as vivid and alive as his installations. It captures the spirit of the work. My favourite quote from the book is: “I am not an Earth artist, I’m totally involved in the sky.”
Kunst op Kamers 2008 De Rijp. 26 Kunstenaars 21 Locaties. Designed by Irma Boom
Irma Boom is one of my favorite Dutch designers. On one of my visits to Amsterdam, I got my hands on this beautiful book she designed called Art on Rooms 2008 De Rijp. 26 Artists 21 Locations. It’s entirely in Dutch, but I didn’t care. The book comes in a cardboard case, with perforated circular holes showing through the two booklets found inside. It also has a tiny booklet, which serves as what I presume is a key for the contents inside.
I was first attracted to the circles, but also the haptic feeling of the cardboard in relation to the smoother paper. Then I was seduced by the visual framework Boom created, and even though I couldn’t validate that because of the language barrier, I felt I understood it. Each place is a circle, connected to each artist, differentiated by colour. The simplicity of the solution and the elegance of the execution makes my heart feel full.
Richard McGuire: Here
I was drawn to Richard McGuire’s graphic novel Here, because it compels you to consider the place you are in right now. How many other lives and stories have passed through here? It takes you away from the hectic aspects of your everyday life and gets you outside yourself, re-framing your life it into a much broader perspective.
The juxtaposition of the imagery, representing ordinary moments at different moments in time, allows you to realise how even the most dramatic of life experiences are just so very small in the context of it all. Somehow I find that thought puts me at ease.
Sigrid Calon: Letters become Patterns
I met Sigrid at Printed Matter in LA a few years ago. I was instantly drawn to her work. It’s a beautiful meditation on form, printing techniques, and type. One can get lost looking at the layers, textures, and overlay of colours in Sigrid’s patterns. It’s executed masterfully through the use of Risograph printing (which I’m obsessed with).
One peculiar aspect of the book is the precision of the print registration. Those of us who have tried printing on Riso, will know that it’s a dark magic to get right. So, when I’m paging through Sigrid’s Letters become Patterns book, observing the designs and imagining the great level of care and patience it took to create, the energy of Sigrid’s work transcends and bring you to a different emotional state.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.