This is part two of a two-part interview. Read part one here.
Levi Sherman: What lessons have you learned as you become a more experienced book maker? And what are you eager to try out in your next book(s)?
Tiffany Gholar: With every book I publish, I am becoming more comfortable with experimenting. For The Sum of its Parts, I designed a two-page spread for the title page, something I had never considered for my previous books. I took advantage of the format of the ebook edition of The Unforeseeable Future and included links where readers can find out more about the podcasters I mentioned in my acknowledgements. I also decided to link to some of the blog posts that I didn’t include in the book because I thought they worked better online instead of in print.
LS: Can you talk about what an ebook can do that a blog or website can’t? You seem very thoughtful about the degrees and types of interactivity in the forms you choose.
TG: I actually feel like it’s the other way around, that there are things that blogs can do that ebooks can’t. For example, updating a blog post or a website is a much simpler process than updating an ebook because you have to upload it again to every bookstore that’s selling it.
LS: Which seems related to that question of closure versus ongoing work. Do you think the expectations of your blog readers differ from those of your ebook readers?
TG: Probably. Readers don’t expect blog posts to be as polished as books.
LS: Do you see those expectations evolving in the future? Will we expect books to be more flexible like blogs? Or perhaps readers will lean into the fixity of print as more things become digital and fluid?
TG: With all the synthetic digital media that we’re constantly exposed to, I think that print books might become more appealing to readers.
LS: Does that same instinct play into your studio work, which seems to revel in materiality?
TG: Absolutely. The more the world becomes virtual and digital, the more I want to work with my hands.
LS: What about your own reading habits — do you read more in print or digitally? And are there artists or authors who particularly influence your work?
TG: I have been reading more digitally lately. I like the convenience of the format. In an effort to prevent myself from acquiring too many books that I’m never going to read, for over a decade I’ve been trying to check books out of the library first and only purchase them if I find myself wanting to check them out more than once. I love being able to read ebooks through the library. Not having to worry about late fees is such a relief. I also like the privacy that reading books digitally can afford. I often read when I’m not at home, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy books without other people asking about them.
I feel like I’ve been influenced by other writers and artists on a subconscious level most of the time. Often I don’t realize their work influenced mine until later. I don’t set out to create anything in anyone else’s style. In terms of art, I think pretty much anyone working with found objects and bright colors has inspired me.
LS: What project(s) are you working on now? Do you have a book-in-progress?
TG: I’m working on a few new pieces for my Post-Consumerism series. I’m also working on my next art book. My goal is to publish it in 2025.
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