Why did you accept the invitation to design the Fall 2022 edition of All-Story?
I’ve been a visual artist for a very long time, and I love storytelling. And I’d never done anything like this before, so it was a new experience for me.
Were there any surprises in the design process?
The editors explained that none of the artwork necessarily had to be connected to the narratives of the short stories in the issue. However, I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with the stories, and on a few occasions, the works really lined up with the stories’ themes. For example, in “On the Erotic Possibilities of COVID-19,” by Daniel Mason, an older man living in a retirement home develops an obsession with an old flame—a woman he had been in love with fifty years earlier, a beautiful Greek actress who’d starred in Italian B movies. I had done a painting of an actress named Lila Leeds, whose career ended when she was caught smoking marijuana with Robert Mitchum in the late 1940s, and this portrait felt germane to the story.
One of the difficult things was the selection process, because I’ve been very prolific. So, there was a lot of work to go through.
Might you offer any advice to future designers?
The list of designers over the years is an amazing group of visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, and storytellers, all of whom have their own voices. My suggestion is to keep it loose and messy and not to be too schematic in your choices.
What’s inspiring you of late?
I’ve been looking at the work of the Danish painter Asger Jorn and the Cobra [Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam] movement from the 1940s.
I’ve been enjoying a lot of jazz and dance band music from the 1920s and ’30s.
I’m in the middle of reading a book by Ada Ferrer, Cuba: An American History.