Marian Bantjes lives and works in paradise: a warm, light-drenched cottage on a wooded acre on Bowen Island, west of Vancouver, British Columbia-"a fussy little place most passersby used to describe as ‘cute,’" she says. "Barf." Built in 1994 by an Englishman for his Austrian paramour, the house features interior walls that were once sheathed, from top to bottom, in cedar siding. Bantjes and her boyfriend recently rebuilt it from the inside out, opening the second floor into a workspace, adding doors and windows, and replacing one living room wall with a 6-by-12-foot view into the forest.
Her clients—Wired, Pentagram, The New York Times Magazine, Print—connect Bantjes to an urban audience. Yet here, amid posters by Stefan Sagmeister and Martin Venesky and the neat clutter of an artist (her words: "lapsed graphic designer") known for elegant and dizzyingly ornamental letterforms, rural light pours in from all directions, filling the house like a cathedral. Living among cedar and ferns, Bantjes understandably tends to evoke winding vines and veined leaves in her work. "Restraint," for example—Bantjes’s first font released last fall for Tiro Typworks—is a curlicued typeface as complicated as centipede legs. Her view is of the Canadian sunset; her typographical temperature is exactly what the world needs right now.
"Because I’m so isolated, I get a lot done," Bantjes explains. "I work all day, every day. If I lived in a big city, I’d be surrounded by interesting people, sights, arts, and culture. But I already have more ideas and inspiration than I know what to do with. My phone seldom rings, so it’s quiet when I want it to be; the space is totally mine." At the moment, her scanner lies buried under a pile of sketches. Taking a break from editorial design, she’s painting again, a series of lovely moon-themed pieces for the Barcelona-based magazine The Creator Studio. "I haven’t done this in a long time," she says, pausing to light a fire kindled with cedar siding (she has a lot of it around). "It feels good to smell the linseed oil again."
GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR
BOWEN ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,250
NUMBER OF WORKERS: 1
FIRST THING TO BE RESCUED IN A FIRE:
"My photo albums. Irreplaceable."
DECOR ELEMENT THAT SAYS IT ALL:
"The wall of posters by my friends, Rick Valicenti’s handprint, and my name hand drawn by Doyald Young. I hate ornaments and tchochkes," Bantjes says.
ON THE STEREO: Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick
PHOTOGRAPHER: KRISTOPHER GRUNERT