In Conversation: Forth + Back

This summer, we released Dreams of New York from Forth + Back. Dreams of New York is a stunning book with a unique concept. Tanner Woodbury and Nikolos Killian are the masterminds behind this design studio based in Los Angeles. Due to COVID, we conducted a socially distanced interview via email. We are excited that you now have the chance to learn more about this project, and their ideas for the future!

aint–bad: I am sure you have been asked this plenty of times, but how did you guys come up with this concept for Dreams of New York?

Forth+Back: Maybe close to four years ago now, we were perusing google earth for some forgotten reason and stumbled upon a group of young skateboarders on the streets of Tribeca. All of them were posing to the camera, waving, jumping up and down, lifting their shirts up, and goofing around in such an honest/youthful way that immediately sparked the memory of our own childhoods and what it was like to be skating the streets with friends—with no concept of time or any particular place to be. Especially with identities being concealed in Google Earth, it was almost as if we were looking at a snapshot of ourselves from the past. We kept this photo close for some time—always loving this particular moment that we happened across. Until one day, we started to think about what other amazing moments might be out there that sat frozen in time. 

Additionally, as kids who grew up on the west coast, (Northern and Southern California specifically) we had developed a fixation with New York. It was always the mysterious “other side” that we dreamt of being a part of. This project allowed us to “be in New York” whenever we pleased and explore the city at our leisure—absorbing all of the details that we feel make the city such a magical place.    

AB: How long did this project take you guys to complete from conception to completion?

F+B: The duration of the project took over 3 years—consisting of long nights wandering streets, getting lost, and documenting anything and everything that caught our eye.  

AB: When will Dreams of Los Angeles be coming out?

F+B: Hmmm… it has been on our mind. With LA being our home, we feel a bit indebted to the city to create an LA edition. It also feels like it would make for a good companion to DONY. With that said, DONY was such a massive commitment for so long, we will most likely take a break and focus on other projects that come through the studio. But who knows…

AB: Tell me about Forth + Back. What is behind the name and what are your goals with the brand?

F+B: To keep it brief— we are a multidisciplinary design studio located in downtown LA. We take on a range of different projects that reside in identity design, print design, packaging design, environmental design, web design, type design, art direction, photography, and more.  
The name of our studio, simply put, refers to communication or dialogue. The name has gone on to represent a certain acceptance of the creative process, and our process of design. There is a sort of inherent struggle or vibration in this process that we’ve come to embrace, as a way in which to get deeper into our work and find more unique solutions. It’s also fitting that the name initially came from a hip hop song that we liked—so it’s roots in rhythm and flow resonate with us still.

AB: This book is beautiful and is not your typical photography book. How do you describe the book and the project to people who have never heard of it before? What is your elevator pitch?

F+B: Dreams of New York is at one end, a door to a dreamy landscape— allowing you to drift off to a strange yet familiar place. Conversely, it is also a fascinating window into what it feels like to be simultaneously watching and being watched in our current times. We like to think of it as a time capsule that captures a specific era of NY (with a technique reflective of our times) that will only grow more beautiful with age.

You can pick up a copy of Dreams of New York from our shop today! For the next few days, we will be offering free shipping with the code DONY at checkout! Be sure to add this beautiful book to your collection. Nikolos and Tanner built an amazing website for this project, which means that you can explore Dreams of New York in more detail here. To learn more about Forth + Back, you can follow them on social media, and visit their website!