Author Archives: J.C. Gabel

About J.C. Gabel

J.C. Gabel is the founding editor and publisher of STOP SMILING magazine, and now edits and publishes books under the moniker, STOP SMILING BOOKS. He also writes regularly for Wallpaper and Bookforum, and lives in Chicago. Photo: David Black

Postcards from the Edge: An Interview with Jim Heimann

When I was a kid, I loved to buy postcards from places along the route of my family’s dreaded annual road trip. This was 1980s America, so most of the postcards—unless they were vintage-inspired or found at thrift stores—had no charm and reeked of boosterism. They offered little visual delight, but the ones that...

Shadow Boxing Off Utopia Parkway

In the book Dime-Store Alchemy, poet Charles Simic captures the essence of artist Joseph Cornell in verse like a close encounter of the third kind. Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch three Eastern European poets duke it out over the merits of Polish writer, translator and poet Czesław Miłosz. The line up...

Paint By Numbers: An Exploration of Color and Music

Chris Force, the editor and publisher of Design Bureau and Alarm Press, has been working on self-styled magazines and book projects since he was a teenager. “My self-publishing background began making zines, often hastily assembled together with photocopiers, glue sticks, and Scotch tape while an inattentive copy-shop attendant looked the other way,” Force writes...

Five Questions With thx thx thx's Leah Deiterich

Like most daily web sites that cater to a specific audience, Leah Dieterich’s thank-you note blog thx thx thx first captured my attention for a variety of personal reasons: For one, I too, love to write thank-you notes—and have for the last five years—written a few freehand letters a week (instead of emails), using...

Stamp Pressed Lovers

In 1974, while working at a garment company in San Francisco, a native New Yorker named William “Picasso” Gaglione walked up to Darlene Domel, a Chicagoan working at the same company, and said, “Close your eyes and put out your hand.”  With her eyes closed and her heart in her throat, Darlene offered him...

Greetings From the Brink of Mutually Assured Destruction

Initially, the dawn of the Atomic Age came in the form of two mushrooms clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, ending the Second World War. But in the years immediately following the war, while The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists were raising red flags about the dangers of nuclear weapons and warning of...

The Portable Naomi Yang

For the last quarter century, Naomi Yang’s graphic design palette has evolved serendipitously. This is in large part, she says, due to the fact that she could pick and chose her projects based on creative merit. It was never her bread-winning gig. Still, Yang is primarily known as a musician—first as a founding member...

Five Questions for Matthew Jacobson on the Art of the Number 17

Detroit native Matthew Jacobson is a designer, art director, creative director, magician, mind-reader, escape artist, record-label-owner, and former notary public (though he only ever officially notarized one document). He currently lives with his wife and son in Chicago, but will soon be relocating to Nashville to work as the in-house designer at Third Man...

The Promise of Tomorrow

Alexis Madrigal’s first book, Powering the Dream: This History and Promise of Green Technology (DaCapo), is a quiet page-turner that anyone concerned with our future energy policy—or lack thereof—should read. A former editor at Wired.com (and current technology writer and Senior Editor at The Atlantic), Madrigal is a talented wordsmith and astute researcher with...

The Backstory Behind Studio Gang's Reveal

Chicago-based architect Jeanne Gang, known internationally as the creator of the Aqua Tower, wasn’t originally intent on re-envisioning the traditional monograph when her firm, Studio Gang Architects, decided to get into the publishing game five years ago. But after teaming up with designer, Elizabeth Azen, a California native who made the move to Brooklyn...