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Charlie Hillhouse


Charlie Hillhouse undertook a three-month internship at renowned bookstore Printed Matter in New York. Printed Matter is one of the world’s largest publicly available sources for artists' books. Charlie worked directly with the manager for editions at Printed Matter who is also the director of the New York Art Book Fair.

During his time in New York, Charlie gained knowledge about how art book fairs are curated and organised. He also developed skills in curating new artists into publishing projects and was exposed to a variety of sources who follow new independent publishing practices.

Charlie enjoyed being immersed in the New York community and being able to visit the multiple exhibitions and artist book fairs not available in Australia such as the Bushwick Artist Book Fair and 8 Ball Zine Fair. There is a high level of interest in independent publishing in New York and working with one of the top curators in this field was very inspiring for Charlie.


May to July 2014

Image of printed matters


New York, USA 

Arts Queensland contribution

$2200– Individuals Fund   


  • Charlie was asked to work on a project by the Printed Matter Editions Manager, Shannon Michael Kane, to produce a new book for the 2014 New York Art Book Fair (NYAB). Charlie was asked to design the layout and top New York risograph printer Duncan Hamilton printed the book. 
  • Charlie engaged in dialogue with well-known curators about current art book practices and publishing and now has some curators following his work and publishing after meeting them in New York. 
  • Charlie has started a new independent publishing project with connections made from New York and is hoping to gain new audiences in America and Japan with his new publishing company, Romantic Press. Already three titles have been produced and released with another two in the development stage. 
  • Being immersed in the Printed Matter community allowed Charlie to meet with well-known artist and former Printed Matter employee, Asher Penn. They have discussed working together on a printing project. 

Learnings and reflections

Charlie gained extensive practical experience from his internship including how to run a book fair: 

From working at Printed Matter I gained experience in the logistics of organizing an event such as the New York Art Book Fair. The primary focus of my job there was to work with the proposals from applicants to exhibit at the fair. The fair received over 600 applicants. From seeing all the examples of other independent publishing companies and talking with the curators for the New York Art Book Fair I learnt what was both new and exciting in small publishing as well as what was classic. It was surprising to me that only two people organised the majority of an event attended by approximately 27,000 people. 

The importance of relationships was an important lesson: 

At the conclusion of my three months I realised the importance of building relationships, and maintaining relationships with curators or people of note in the field of independent publishing. To see first-hand the selection process for the fair and for what is stocked in the shop at Printed Matter I learnt about the value that human interaction plays in having your work properly considered. 

In many ways the experience was a terrific confidence boost for Charlie: 

Throughout my experience in Printed Matter and being constantly surrounded by new and old content created from around the world I realised that my skills in creating books and those of other independent publishers in Australia were equal to those from around the world. The difference was the in audience. The number of people interested in this field in America and Europe is much greater than in Australia thus giving the impression that the projects produced in these places had more worth. After knowing this I don’t believe I would change how I produce new work in the future, but focus on getting the work seen outside of Australia to access this larger audience. 

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