We’re big fans of Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf series. In her contribution to the west elm’s collaboration with 20×200 she creates her vision of the ideal bookshelf for a design enthusiast.
Ideal Bookshelf 275: Design by Jane Mount. Frame: 16″ x 12.5″; mat opening 14.25″ x 10.25″.
ARTIST Q&A: Jane Mount
Tell us about your work:
In my Ideal Bookshelf series I paint portraits of people through the spines of their favorite books: those that changed their lives, those that made them who they are. I’m not sure one can tell a book by its cover, but one can learn a lot about a person from the covers of their books. I love that a book is something created very personally and then mass produced in order to affect many other people very personally. I paint them to turn them back into something intimate. I am extremely earnest and try hard to render things perfectly, but I believe the charm in my work comes from never being able to do so. I come from a family of architects and designers of all sorts and have spent my life, so far, generally surrounded by designers. This piece is a sort of “super ideal” bookshelf, made up of all the design books that people I love have loved.
How do you live with art?
We have over 200 drawings, paintings and sculptures in our 1,000 square foot house, many of them made by friends, including 15 pieces from 20×200. That’s one piece for every five square feet! I could not live without art.
What is a favorite gallery or museum that you particularly love or that inspires your work?
These days, I spend more time in bookstores than galleries! There are some truly beautiful books out there, and I love hunting down amazing versions of classic books, both new and old. The more decorative the spine, the better. Although, often they seem to get much less attention than the covers, even though they are usually what’s facing out.
Tell us about what it’s like to work with 20×200 as an artist.
I reach many more people through 20×200 than I could otherwise, and the whole point of my work is connecting with people. When you realize someone loves the same book you do, you automatically feel a kinship toward that person, and the world is a tiny bit better around you. And on a personal note, I’ve met other amazing 20×200 artists whose work I love and whom I now consider close friends.
For more about Jane, visit 20×200.