Creative Couples: Dustin & Jemma

01 February 2010


Dustin (UPSO) and Jemma Hostetler (née Gura) are a husband and wife team living and working in Toledo’s historic Old West End. Dustin, an illustrator and artist, curates and publishes a well known art magazine called Faesthetic. Jemma, an art director and designer, has been featured in numerous reviews and books, notably her projects under the moniker Prate.

Together they operate as Sans Nom, a multi-faceted design studio, while collaborating on a series of personal installments called Purpastoe. Read more about them after the break.

How did the two of you meet, and how long have you been together?
D: I think we were both aware of each other’s work long before we ever met, but sometime in 2003 we were officially introduced to each other by mutual friends. Jemma had been in Faesthetic (my magazine) a couple of times at that point, but we hadn’t had much dialog until the official intro.

J: Dustin sent me the first issue of Faesthetic with a hand-written note. I thought that was pretty sweet. He also had a pretty sweet mustache… guys weren’t into mustaches back then like they are now. Our first date was in Minneapolis, at Chino Latino. My fortune cookie that night said I would “…marry the like of your life”. This Spring we’ll have been married for 5 years.



Sans Nom

What’s it like working with your better half?
D: I love it. If you’re lucky enough to be with someone who shares the same interests as you do (in my case art, design and music) it’s like hanging out with your best buddy all day. What could be better than that?

J: Dustin is really good-natured, doesn’t stress out or get bummed, so that makes it easy. And, yeah… spending the day with your best buddy is great.



Can you describe your creative workspace?
D: My half of the room is covered in piles of papers, bills, books and empty coffee cups. Jemma’s half of the room is like a zen garden.

J: We work out of an old house we bought a few years ago, in spare rooms. We started by working in the attic but that got too hot during the summer. So, we’ve been using one of the bedrooms. Sometimes his junky mess starts to creep into my half… and that’s when I move to another room. I’m all about laptops and mobility. He’ll clean things when he gets lonely, so that I return.


What are the benefits of living/working together?
D: Working from home, our overhead is low, and working together we are able to give creative input on each other’s solo projects without worry of offending.

J: I get free kerning help, illustration work, IT assistance… and he makes great sandwiches for lunch.




Any disadvantages?
D: I think early on there were some ego issues on my part… not wanting to hear Jemma’s honest (and always spot on) critiques of my work. But I’ve grown a lot from having that kind of input in my life so at this point I would say no… no disadvantages.

J: I don’t like messes.




Has your work changed as a result of living/working together, if so how?
D: I know my color pallate and sense of experimentation has greatly improved being around Jemma and her work.

J: I really trust Dustin’s opinion, so when he’s supportive of my work I feel more confident while taking risks.

Dustin & Jemma

Are you currently collaborating on anything at the moment?
D: Nothing we can tell you about! :)

J: We’ve been renovating our 1902 historic house. The bathroom color we chose hasn’t worked out for Dustin so… time for an update!


Sans Nom

Any advice for future creative couples?
D: Well, if we’re talking like 100 years in the future, and there are flying cars I just want to say how jealous of you I am.

J: I too, am jealous of the flying cars.

Thank you guys! Let’s just hope flying cars exist in the future. Till then good luck with the house.


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