Anne Dobis – Artist, Designer

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I was born in East-Berlin and 8 years old when the wall came down. Stepping into a new world I had only heard of, it was a truly overwhelming experience which signified for me freedom of creation, of beauty and the unexpected.  I will never forget that moment – how I felt as a child in a giant toy store, tickled by an undefined desire. Being a designer, these impressions are what I attempt to create in my work.

I’ve always turned to sketching and drawing as a means to express myself.  It was the greatest feeling when I realized that my work also left an impression on others, and I decided that this was to be my life’s direction.

The page and the pen is where it all starts for me.  It is the entry point for my work and has become the basis of my creativity. I’ve gone through 17 Paperblanks writing journals since finishing my first one in 2008.  I consume the pages of my books, often completing one within a month or two after first beginning, and all my ideas are stored in them.  I may never be able to create each one, but I take comfort knowing I can always return to them.  So often, a single idea will lead from one page to another.

I use a writing journal so frequently, almost daily, that working in this way has become a meditative experience.  Each journal really does become a companion, one which I take everywhere with me.  Because I have collected so many different designs over the years, I receive a distinct impression of the year and the period of my life documented in it just by looking at a particular journal. When I flip through an old writing journal, I enjoy looking back in time. It’s a funny feeling – something between a time machine and a peepshow.

The beautiful cover designs, and the stories behind them, are what I love most about Paperblanks. While it is a fashionable item on the outside, the inside is very private and creative. Using a Paperblanks journal makes me consider my work in much more valuable terms, for the books themselves are so thoughtfully designed.  I find it’s a very sophisticated way of storing and cataloguing my ideas.

Whatever the design, each blank journal possesses an attitude and a bold presence. I love the classic elegance of the Cartellas and the Black Moroccans. Yet because there are so many options for colours, textures and designs with Paperblanks, I feel like I have a lot of room to play with and can change my style when it suits me.

To me, this is what being a designer is about.  It is being a detective for forms, shapes, colours and ideas.  It is about finding harmony by combining different elements. It is about being bold and gentle at the same time.  And it is about knowing the edge between absolute conviction and complete uncertainty.

Our Artist Series features snapshots of the creative people who use our journals. From all parts of the world, and all walks of life, we celebrate the infinite number of ways in which creativity can be expressed. If you would like to have your story featured, email fmallett@hartleyandmarks.com.

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