Meet Bridget Watson Payne: Publishing for Creatives Workshop on 2/10

 We are excited to have Bridget Watson Payne come to the LPP Workshop to teach a Creatives in Publishing workshop. The workshop is 2/10 from 3-5. We have a few more spots! Go to our online shop to sign up!

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Bridget Watson Payne is a writer, artist, and art book editor. She is the author of the books How Art Can Make You Happy, The Secret Art of Being a Grown-Up, This is Happening: Life Through the Lens of Instagram, and New York Jackie: Pictures from Her Life in the City, all from Chronicle Books. With fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry, she has collaborated as an editor with hundreds of authors and artists to make their book ideas a beautiful reality. She has taught at Makeshift Society, the ICON Illustration Conference, and Sketchbook Skool; spoken at the Book Manufacturer’s Institute, California Library Association, California Writer’s Club, Photo Alliance, California College of the Arts, ARLIS NorCal, APA SF, ASMP NorCal, and RayKo Photo Center; reviewed portfolios at PhotoNOLA, Photolucida, and Review Santa Fe; and served on juries for the Society of Illustrators, Critical Mass, Something Personal, and the Lucie Awards. Bridget has been featured on KTVU Mornings on 2, KATU TV Portland, Minnesota Public Radio, Prairie Public Radio, Raise Your Hand Say Yes, Publisher’s Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Design Crush, Swiss Miss, and Women Who Draw, among others. She is currently preparing for her first art show which will be held at San Francisco’s Rare Device in early 2018, and working on two new books to be released in 2019. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter.

LPP’s Dylan Johnson asked Bridget a few questions about her life in publishing and her creative practice!

Did you ever think you’d end up in the world of publishing?

When I was little I always wanted to be an artist. Then as a teenager I became a theater nerd and wanted to be an actress for a while. Only in my twenties did I start to realize that my career path needed to follow my deep love of books. I toyed briefly with the idea of academia, and about the same time that I realized becoming an English professor wasn’t for me I also realized I wanted to get into book publishing. In truth, I had no idea what that really meant, at the time. I just knew that where they made the books I loved was where I wanted to be.

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What inspired your latest show Everyday Objects?

I feel really strongly that there is magic and beauty around us all the time if we just open up our eyes and look. People tend to say that sort of thing about the natural world, but I think it’s just as true of the manmade. The mundane day-to-day things we surround ourselves with—household objects, bits of the city—can shine for us if we let them. For me, drawing is one kind of close-looking that allows me to glimpse some fragments of that wonder.

How do you balance your work life and creative life?

Very carefully. I am meticulous about my time. Over the past several years I’ve methodically carved out very specific days of the week and hours of the day when I do my creative work. I have certain standing weekly and biweekly appointments with myself for writing and drawing that (barring big important exceptions like vacations and whatnot) I do not miss. I also hold myself to a strict schedule at the office and rarely bring home work from my job on weekends or evenings. The amount of scheduling and structure I use wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.

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What are some of your favorite art books you’ve collected throughout the years?

Oh god! There are so many! So hard to choose. Ok, a few faves:

Golden Gate Bridge by Richard Misrach

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 by Helen Anne Molesworth

Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure

Inside the Live Reptile Tent by Jeff Brouws

Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order) by Bridget Quinn

Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan by Franck Andre Jamme

Lorna Simpson Collages by Lorna Simpson (ok, so this one’s not out yet, but man oh man it’s going to be good!)

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Do you find your creative process for writing and painting similar or different?

I find writing both easier and more daunting. That may not make sense at first, but if you drill down a bit, it actually does. Part of what I really enjoy about drawing and painting is the challenge – I’m often not confident that my technical skills are up to the task of achieving what I want to achieve, so the whole thing becomes like this thrilling high-wire act to see if I can do it. Whereas I’m much more secure in my writing abilities– I’ve been writing forever, I know how to make a sentence. But, as nearly every writer will tell you, there’s just something about writing that breeds a certain quality of dread and procrastination. Even if you enjoy writing and find it relatively painless, which I do, there is still some weird perverse part of you that dreads sitting down at the desk to do it—that would rather be doing just about anything else. It’s weird. Making art feels risky and weird and joyful for me, making sentences feels more like work. Enjoyable work, but still work.

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