I've noticed a bunch of you come to my site from countries where English is not the language of choice. I have painted a few custom collections in other tongues, but I don't yet have any prints for sale. If you have any suggestions on collections you'd like to see and are willing to send me photos of books spines that many people in your country love dearly, please do! I hate that there's nothing currently available for you.
Also, I'd love to do a collection of Sports-ish books, and one of New York-ish books (both in English), so if you have ideas (or photos) for those I'd love to hear them as well.
Hi there, if you'd like me to paint your favorite books (or someone else's), you can see all the size/price/number of book options here. Click on any of the listings for more info about how to proceed, and to see several examples of other people's I've done at that size. I'm pretty swamped with custom holiday orders but you can always ask.
If you're looking for prints or notecards from the Ideal Bookshelf series you can see everything here.
There will be an Ideal Bookshelf book! To be published by Little, Brown!
I'm trying to cut down on the exclamation points and use of the word "exciting", but to be honest, it *is* very exciting! I've been working with Thessaly La Force, an editor at The Paris Review, to create a proposal and the beginnings of a book that will feature the ideal bookshelves of 100 well-known "creative thinkers". So far I've already had the joy of painting the books that helped make Thomas Keller, David Chang, Mira Nair and Jonathan Lethem who they are today. I even met an idol of mine, Maira Kalman, and photographed her entire, giant library.
Then, just a week or so ago, Little, Brown bought the rights to publish it! There is no better fit, and we love all the people we will be working with there, especially Michael Sand. Everyone at L,B seems to be just as excited as we are.
From Publisher's Marketplace:
"Artist Jane Mount and Paris Review web editor Thessaly La Force's THE IDEAL BOOKSHELF, a collection of interviews with 100 well-known writers, artists, designers, musicians and chefs -- including David Sedaris, Maira Kalman, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, David Chang, and Gwyneth Paltrow -- discussing the books that matter to them most, with paintings of their ideal bookshelves by Mount, to Michael Sand at Little, Brown, at auction, by Kate Lee at ICM (World English)."
The only thing that is not so exciting is how long it takes a book to be completed, published and released; it will probably be in bookstores in Fall 2013, just in time for the holidays. And until closer to that time I can't really show off any of the amazing book selections, sadly. But they are *amazing*, seriously.
Yay!!!! A book! So excited!!
Below you can see many paintings I've done of many people's books.
And click here to see all the other size/number of books painting options, plus many inexpensive (non-custom) prints.
Many people ask me about how to affordably frame the bookshelf paintings and prints and I'm finally going to post about it instead of typing it out over and over; no idea why it took me this long to do so ;p
I like the Ideal Bookshelves best in white wood frames, and the best off-the-shelf ones I've found are West Elm's gallery frames., and I also like IKEA's Ribba frames. They both come in black and silver, in case the white is not for you. They have great rectangular ones in various sizes, and even nice square ones that often fit the paintings with fewer books (7 or so) perfectly.
Unfortunately, the mats that come with the frames usually have too small an opening for the bookshelf images (especially for the West Elm ones; the IKEA ones are more straightforward). But you can get a custom white mat cut for you at most art supply and framing stores; it usually costs $10-15 at most. Some places may even just cut the opening on the West Elm mat larger for you, to fit the image.
Hope that helps! Also, this video from 20x200 does a great job showing how to do all of this yourself.
I've updated the Ideal Bookshelf "gift package," so to speak. Now, if you want to give a certificate for a custom painting as a gift so that the recipient(s) can pick their books later on, I'll mail you a card with the info on it, plus a postcard to show an example, all in a nice envelope. You can then write inside the card and give or send it to your friend.
If it's very last minute then I can still email you a PDF version of the card, no problem.
Also, if you proved me with the recipient's email address and the date of the gift-giving event, I'll email them a reminder a few weeks later, to make sure they send me their books. This seems to be especially useful for wedding presents, so that the couple has time to honeymoon and then settle down before working to compromise on their combined all time favorites ;)
If you want to give someone a painting of their Ideal Bookshelf but don't want to try to sneak photos of their books or guess at which are really their favorites, no problem. I've made a little PDF voucher that you can print out at the very last minute (ideally on cardstock, but paper will do just fine) and give to them. It includes instructions on photographing the books and where to send them. A small image of it is below:
Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf by Mark Medley
The Afterword (book blog of Canada’s National Post), August 9, 2010
Commission a Painting of Your Bookshelf by Jason Boog
Galleycat (publishing blog of Mediabistro), August 3, 2010
“At Home With: Natalie Afshar” by Maya Mackowiak Elson
Venus Zine, Fall 2010
Non-Books for Bookworms by Hannah Elliott
Forbes.com, July 14, 2010
Oh, What a Tweet Can Spawn by Nancy Colasurdo
FoxBusiness.com, June 09, 2010
Jane Mount and the Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force
The Paris Review Daily, June 4, 2010
Painted Bookshelves by Caroline Foreman
lmnop magazine (lmnop.com.au), Issue 11
9 Essentials for Guys Who Still Read Books Made of Paper by Erica Ceruloey
Details, April 16, 2010
ideal bookshelves by Grace Bonney
design*sponge, April 9, 2010
Jane Mount's Ideal Books by Tina Barseghian
The Wallflower (design blog of The San Francisco Chronicle), April 1, 2010
The idea of the book, cont’d: Ideal bookshelf by Rob Walker
Murketing, March 22, 2010
Jane Mount paints people’s bookshelves by Liz Danzico
Bobulate, March 19, 2010
The Ideal (Kid’s) Bookshelf by Tina Roth Eisenberg
SwissMiss, December 3, 2009
Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf by Monica Racic
The Book Bench (book blog of The New Yorker), August 11, 2009
'What’s Your Inspiration?' | PSFK Talks to Jane Mount, Bookshelf Art by Allison Mooney
PSFK, September 26, 2008
jane mount. by Meighan O'Toole
My Love for You Is a Stampede of Horses, May 26, 2008
This is an ongoing project called "Ideal Bookshelf". I paint sets of books as a form of portraiture: a person's
favorites (of all time, within a genre or from a particular period in
their lives); the ones that helped make them who they are today.
We show off our books on shelves like merit badges (the ones not on our Kindle, at least), because we're proud of the ideas we've ingested to make us who we are, as we should be. The spine of a book, as I paint it—only a few inches tall and with slightly wobbly text—is a sort of code for the giant cloud of ideas the author included within it. Just ten of them together on a sheet of paper tells the story of the mind that picked them in a way that is easily digestible but allows for endless study.We also display our books hoping to connect with others. When I paint someone else's bookshelf and they have the same book I do, it instantly makes me happy. When people enter a space where one of these illustrations is hanging, they immediately say things like, "I love that book!" and "Oh, that was one of my favorites when I was a kid, too." That spontaneous emotional reaction is usually very difficult to come by with two-dimensional art; usually it's reserved for music or film.
Finally, I'm also fascinated by the design of books spines. It's such a small place for a lot of information, with very little room for distinct characteristics, even though it's exactly what you use to identify books first. As someone who does a lot of design work, I enjoy the process of turning graphics into "art". And I love that a book is something created very personally and then mass-produced in order to affect many other people very personally. I group and paint them to turn them back into something very personal and intimate.