The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Monday, November 22, 2010

Koyama Press is a boutique publisher based out of Toronto with a focus on promoting young artists on a larger scale.

Founded by Anne Koyama (avid art collector, arts supporter, and an over all awesome woman) this independent publisher is producing a variety of unique products by an exciting roster of Canadian and international artists.

Anne is also making good on the promise of promoting her artists by offering her publications on an international level at various book fairs, online, and at fantastic independent book/comic shops.

The Ministry's Simon Cole recently had a chance to do a brief interview with Anne about Koyama Press.

(A sample page from artist Aaron Leighton's book Spirit City)

Simon Cole: Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Koyama press?

Anne Koyama: In late 2007, after a health crisis, I decided to try my hand at something different (than my former work as a film producer). Through Clayton Hanmer, I hooked up with illustrators Aaron Leighton and Steve Wilson and we created the book, 'Trio Magnus: Equally Superior'. I sent them to Design Festa in Tokyo to debut the book. I continued sponsoring art projects and publishing books and zines with various artists, mostly Canadian. In the ensuing three years, I've built up a pretty interesting catalogue of books and continue to do all kinds of art projects with local and international artists.

(Cover art from artist Nick DiGenova's survey Wunderkammer #1)

SC: You are extremely supportive of younger artists, is there something in particular you look for when choosing which artists to work with?

AK: I have to love the work first, but I'm certainly partial to printmaking, certain illustrative styles, weirdo comics, typography and good photography. Humour is important too.

(Cover art for Tin Can Forests' book Baba Yaga And The Wolf)

SC: The Koyama library is pretty diverse, you have created a variety of items like graphic novels, artist cards, and catalogs. Is there a certain project that has been a personal favorite of yours?

AC: I couldn't choose a favorite as I've enjoyed working with all of the artists but the great part of the job for me is formulating what kind of project we'll do together. And, every time a print run is ready, it's like Christmas for me.

I really like to connect people and I derive great pleasure from seeing someone discover an artist through the book or show we did together.

(A video walk through of Diary Comics #1 by surprisingly high pitched artist Dustin Harbin)

SC: Whats coming up in the future? Any exciting titles you could tell us about?

AK: Diego Bergia's book the 'LEPOS Bible' was released recently, Mark Laliberté's book 'Grey Supreme' will be out in January and Michael DeForge's new comic 'Spotting Deer' will debut at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival December 4th. Steven Charles Manale will have a new print for that show too.

Michael DeForge and I are co-editing an anthology called 'Root Rot' which will be ready early in 2011. Diana McNally is doing the book design for us. I have fine art projects in the works with Lukas Geronimas, Niall McClelland and Jeremy Jansen. John Martz is doing a print for the spring too. Next year will see new comics by Steve Wolfhard, Maurice Vellekoop and a continuation of the 'Lose' series with DeForge. I'm about to start work on a book with local photographer/artist, Jeremy Kai. And, a few others in various stages of development.

(Rendition of Koyama's Kick Ass Annie Logo by artist Jim Rugg)

To keep up with the latest from Anne at Koyama Press you can follow her on facebook and twitter.