Candor (pronounced kan-der) is the quality of being open and honest. Candor Arts publishes books about life, learning and healing. Operating on the basis of open and honest communication, the efforts of the organization are rooted in the support of its affiliated authors and collaborators. Specializing in handmade artist book editions, Candor Arts produces a range of design and print projects driven by each artist’s vision.
As a returning chef, we asked Matt Austin if he’d share a little more about their work and, of course, their thoughts on chili.
SP: Candor Arts always seems to be experimenting with economic models that are pushing a more equitable agenda. Was this emphasis on a alternative funding models with a bit of a moral overtone part of the plan from the beginning or something that has evolved out of need or trial and error?
CA: It has certainly been an evolution—I see any current existence of ours as a response to the circumstances we exist within, as well as a culmination of our learning through experience operating as a small institution. I think our model has been built partly in necessity to sustain our work without being so vulnerable to abrupt losses of support, like inconsistent/unlikely grant opportunities or the uncertainty of finding individual donors, and partly in observing the overall lack of financial support and equity for artists in America.
SP: Where did you get your mad bookbinding skills?
CA: A guy named Sage Reynolds on YouTube. He is an excellent teacher, gentle man, and does not require student loans to learn. 😉
SP: Do you have a favorite style of bookbinding? If so, why?
CA: Not necessarily a favorite style, but I think my favorite thing to make is complicated clamshell boxes. I think there’s some kind of madness to it, like you might mess this whole thing up in one small mistake over the course of hundreds of moves made to put it all together.
SP: What book(s) are you reading right now?
CA: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Five Fifths by Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, 11 poems for addicts/normal people by Justin Nalley.
SP: Can you tell us a little about your newish studio space?
CA: Yes! We have a nice nook in west Logan Square (3520 W Armitage) where we do much of our in-house bookbinding, foil stamping, and some digital printing. We share the space with talented awesome artists April Sheridan, Daniel Mellis, and the boys of Ghost Press: Ryan Troy Ford, Cooper Foszcz, and Josh Davis.
SP: What is the key to great chili?
SP: Name something people should not put in chili, but do all too often.
CA: Too much heat.
SP: Who is one person, living or dead you would have over for chili and why?
CA: Gerhard Steidl, so we can critique the chili in our lab coats.
SP: Do you have a favorite chili story?
CA: True confession: I don’t think anyone will ever top the legacy of Cowboy Mustang Jane’s Flamin’ Hot Freedom Chili from the 2015 Hashbrown Cook-Off, but we will continue to try.