Artist Series: Ryan Thompson
Anteism’s mobile gallery OuterSpace, housed in a customized cube van.
Artist Series: Ryan Thompson, Anteism (Victoria)
By Stephanie Fung
Ryan Thompson is the founder of Anteism, a Canadian publisher showcasing visual arts through unique books, zines, monographs, prints and contemporary handmade editions. Anteism works with undefined avant-garde and contemporary artists who are just beginning their careers and have yet to be “figured out.” Thompson will be exhibiting work by Anteism at the 2013 Vancouver Art/Book Fair.
Project Space: What brought you to artist publishing?
Ryan Thompson: Publishing art books began as a secondary aspect that I took on while being involved with large group exhibitions in Victoria in the early 2000s. I had been living in Taiwan and had access to cheap offset printing. The first thing I published other than a zine was an offset artist book for a group exhibition. I had prepared the work online with friends then smuggled hundreds of copies with me in my luggage when I moved back from Taiwan.
PS: How did Anteism come about?
RT: It’s a little blurry how we came about. Maybe when our name Anteism was developed with our first offset artist book, but I would probably say when my co-publisher Harley Smart and I started receiving Canada Council grants. We were forced to act and think like a “real” publisher. It was a great kick to allow us to try new things.
PS: Can you describe Anteism’s publishing mandate/curatorial interests and some of the artists you have worked with?
RT: We’ve never really nailed down a mandate. Over the years we’ve published a pretty broad range of titles. With some experience behind us we have now focused directly on contemporary artist books, specifically in short-run handmade editions. We keep pretty busy working on projects for The Hole, whose curatorial vision is inspiring and in line with our taste. An example of a project and some of the artists we’ve worked with would be Chicken or Beef.
PS: Can you describe your favourite recent project by Anteism?
RT: We are just about to start a new series of books called Lineage Editions. The series is almost like a chain letter. An artist is selected for a book. Once complete they then choose the next artist to be published. We have started with four “Lineages” (Blue, Green, Red and Yellow). The first in the Blue series is by James Kirkpatrick and will be released at his upcoming exhibition at OuterSpace gallery.
PS: Can you tell us more about your upcoming OuterSpace gallery project?
RT: OuterSpace is a mobile gallery housed in a customized cube van. It’s a project that’s taken a couple years to pull together, but it’s finally happening on August 23rd with an exhibition and book launch for James Kirkpatrick. I think of OuterSpace as an extension of our publishing platform. We entered into the publishing field through curating exhibitions so it feels natural to create a small flexible space to exhibit artists and host book launches and events.
PS: What is the artist publishing community like in Victoria? Are there particular publishers or artist-run spaces in your city—or on Vancouver Island in general—which you would recommend checking out?
RT: I’m sure there is, but I feel out of the loop. I know of many people doing amazing one-off publications and self-published titles here in Victoria. Publishing is strangely something that can really go unnoticed unless there are outlets to show it. Anteism doesn’t really show our work in Victoria—maybe it’s the same for other people? I hope OuterSpace will help bring publishing people out of the woodwork and show others what we’ve been up too.