Conjurer of irresistible book covers, arty zines, and austere photography, designer and illustrator Sebit Min takes inspiration from her vibrant worlds in Brooklyn and Seoul. Her love for books led her into a book design career, with art books (Frida Kahlo, Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede), artist zines (#fashion by Matin Zad), cookbooks (Hey There, Dumpling!), and independent zines (Nuvozine, i’mazine) among her work. Through her “private paradise” persona, Sebit explores additional mediums beyond print publication. She draws postcards, photographs intriguing compositions, and engages in whatever creative ideas come to mind during much needed “treat-yo-self” time. Throughout her work, the power in purposeful restraint is evident. “A certain amount of cuteness is definitely charming,” she says, “But overdoing it is one of the worst design crimes.” Sebit values “structure and reason” in the artist’s process — and in her own studio, where everything has its right place. —Annie
What’s in your toolbox?
The basics: blank notebook, pen, pencil, blue marker.
The gadgets: iMac, laptop, iPhone (which doubles as a camera).
The helpers: inspirational books, stickers, rulers, music, coffee, and snacks.
Fill in the blank, “When I’m in my studio, I feel ____________.”
When I’m in my studio, I feel as if I’m in my private paradise.
What’s on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?
How do you keep yourself organized?
Clean, functional boxes and containers (the prettier the better). I assign things to their places, and always try to return them to where they belong.
If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?
I would love to be like Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max. She might not have any superpowers, but her general badass-ness and her strength — both physical and mental — are as special as any super power.
What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?
My typography professor Sara Giovanitti said that being “cute” could as easily be considered a diss as well as a compliment. A certain amount of cuteness is definitely charming, but overdoing it is one of the worst design crimes. So my advice would be to go easy on the cuteness.
How do you combat creative blocks?
I run away from it, both literally and figuratively. I find that jogging to the point where you sweat lightly, with music blasting in your earphones, helps to empty the mind. I also run away from my desk and dedicate some quality “treat-yo-self” time doing all the things I love: gallery strolling, window shopping, spacing out in a café…anything but giving a single thought to the project at hand.
Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?
Bookstores: Strand‘s art book section is holy — there are hidden gems in the cheap catalog bins. Dashwood Books specializes in photography books from all over the world. The owners have sophisticated, exquisite taste and extensive knowledge of their collection. The museum store on the first floor of the New Museum has a modern library with fun art objects (and there’s no admission fee for the shop!).
If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?
John Pawson: his minimalistic, detail-oriented, near-perfect designs always have me thinking about what his workspace would be like. I bet there would be structure and reason, even behind any clutter, and I would love to sift through every little piece.
What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?
The Internet, D’Angelo, The Pharcyde, Frank Ocean, and J Dilla. All things groovy and soulful. And since it’s autumn, Chet Baker and Vince Guaraldi.