To celebrate Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair at MoCA, Los Angeles, this weekend, we're profiling a bunch of exhibitors. Second up; Oakland-based publishers TBW Books.

To celebrate Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair at MoCA, Los Angeles, this weekend, we're profiling a bunch of exhibitors. Second up; Oakland-based publishers TBW Books.

We first came across TBW Books as the enigmatic imprint responsible for publishing the work of Mike Brodie, the train hopper and hobo savant whose ethereal polaroids blew the art world’s mind in the mid-noughties.

Established by artist Paul Schiek in 2005 to publish his book, Good By Angels, the Oakland-based company evolved to carry the works of Schiek’s friends and peers and today TBW Books is a prolific imprint working with iconic artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Jim Goldberg, Katy Grannan and Alec Soth.

Famous for an annual subscription series – where TBW invites four accomplished photographers to each present an intensely personal and poetic exploration of their work in the form of a book – this progressive publisher goes to lengths to celebrate the book as art object and is a force of awesome in the medium of print. We caught up with founder Paul Schiek to find out more.

What exactly is TBW?
TBW is a contemporary photo book-publishing house started in 2006 and located in Oakland, CA.

Why did you start it?
It was started as way to publish my own work. I was graduating from art school and I was simply building a outlet to have my work be seen after I left.

How do you hope it has an impact?
I simply strive to produce and deliver a quality product consistently to our customers. I hope somehow that will translate to enjoyment by others. I’m also very conscious of it being a source of employment for myself and a few others within my community in Oakland.

What’s your slice of the art scene in CA like?
Well, I live and work in Oakland. I have been here doing the same thing for 15 years. It’s the place I love and work but I don’t participate in the local art scene the way I used to unfortunately. I feel like I have a community of collectors all over the world that I ship books to and I feel connected to them in a unique way that has on a certain level satisfied those same feelings I needed back in the day of going out four times a week to see bands play or go to parties.

Who’s involved in TBW and what does everyone do?
Myself and Hasti Mirabdal run the company. We both do all chores but she is more on the administrative end and I tend to enjoy the production side of things more. We also have two wonderful interns that have been very productive and punctual and help us out tremendously.

How can people get involved/show support?
Every year we do a subscription series of books where we ship four individual photography books to customer’s homes on a quarterly basis. We strive to have longstanding relationships with our customers, where they continue their annual subscription because they believe and trust the books we deliver to them are of high quality and content with great artists and are always uniquely designed with great attention paid to detail. Those relationships with long-term supportive customers has proven to be the catalyst that allows the company to grow and bring them better books year after year. It’s almost as if the customers are shareholders in that regard, and our job is to re-invest in the company to better the product for the future.

Can you tell us a bit about TBW’s activities during LA Art Book Fair 2014…
We don’t have anything planned in terms of book signings or releases. We just released a new four-book series [featuring Cristian Patterson, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Raymond Meeks and Wolfgang Tillmans] that we will be focusing on and since the artists in that series are scattered all over the world it’s not possible to do a signing. But we will have our booth and be selling our books.

What have been the challenges in bringing TBW to life?
I don’t think they are any different to the challenges any business owner faces – time management, cash flow, trying to keep your products exciting and challenging while appealing to a broad enough audience to keep all the wheels greased. Those challenges are pretty universal to any endeavour I think.

What have been the major inspirations?
Mostly musicians and record labels. However there are a few publishers that I have looked to for inspiration from the beginning, they are JL books , Twin Palms Publishers and Nazraeli Press.

What’s the future for TBW?
Just a lot more titles. I have eight projects planned for 2014.

You can find out more about TBW on their website. The LA Art Book Fair runs January 30 – February 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.