Here's an official sort of bio:
Jane Mount is an illustrator, designer, writer, and maker of things -- particularly things for people who love books. She is the creator of Ideal Bookshelf; the author and illustrator of Books Make Good Friends (Chronicle Books, 2023), and Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany (Chronicle Books, 2018); and the illustrator and co-author (with Jamise Harper) of Bibliophile: Diverse Spines (Chronicle Books, 2021) and My Ideal Bookshelf (Little, Brown, 2012). She lives in a log cabin on Maui with her husband, three weird cats, and two dogs.
Here are a few more things about me:
I was born and raised in Atlanta, formed in Manhattan, am in love with Berlin, and now mostly live on Maui. My husband Darko is originally from Zürich, Switzerland (but his dad was Croatian and his mom Italian). We have three cats named Lada, Benz, and Opel, and a speckled dog named Fiat (yes they are all car brands that looked great in the late '80s).
I studied anthropology at Davidson College in North Carolina (it's tiny, but Steph Curry went there, so that's why you've heard of it), co-founded three companies (including Bolt.com, one of the very first social networks, for young adults, in 1996), and won awards for my graphic design skills. I was once on Oprah's show, back in the day, for the way I designed our tiny apartment in Manhattan (my dad was an architect and my mom an interior designer, so happily they passed some space smarts to me).
I need to be making things the way fish need to keep swimming, for life. And I need to learn new things, not just do the same ones over and over, so I take a lot of classes and workshops for new skills (right now, I'm really into ceramics, like everyone else and their cousin). When I was little I thought people kept learning and learning until they knew absolutely everything, and then they could die. I'm still on that mission.
Here's a picture of my painting studio area, within our office.
To be honest, sometimes I wish I could stop making stuff and chill instead, but that only happens when I travel. So we travel as much as possible, when I am not on insane book deadlines, or when there's not a global pandemic, etc.
I started Ideal Bookshelf in 2008, painting friends' books as they lay on their shelves, like a dinner-party voyeur. Then I realized it was more fun to ask them for their favorite books, the ones that made them who they are. What books changed your life? It's ridiculously hard to pick (but very enlightening, try it!), but mine include The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, Dune by Frank Herbert, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline, and The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez. I firmly believe that there is more to the world than we can perceive with our limited senses, and I particularly like books that show me possible ways this might manifest.
Here's a picture of the log cabin we live in, at about 2000 feet up the side of Haleakalā, a dormant(ish?) shield volcano, on Maui. It was built in the early '70s, but I added the hippie stained glass, thankyouverymuch. That's Benz out front.