Obvious State


In 2014, my husband Evan and I cofounded Obvious State–a creative studio and literary brand. I am the Creative Director and I also run our Instagram account.

We’re inspired by provocative language that has stood the test of time, poetry that captures the beauty of the human experience, and philosophy that drives us to examine and re-examine.

We aim to create art and thoughtfully designed gifts that prompt conversations and bring aesthetic joy to everyday objects.

Visit our site.



 "After all I have no nationality and am not anxious to claim any. Individuality is more than nationality. 'You are you and I am I,' says Confucius.” - Sui Sin Far. || Project 52, Week 34. Sui Sin Far was the daughter of a British merchant and a Chinese mui tsai (slave girl) who met while her father was on a business trip to Shanghai. She grew up in Montreal, and by age 18 was writing poetry and anonymous articles about the local Chinese experience for the Montreal Star and other English language newspapers. Her work focused on the daily life and struggles related to being Chinese in North America and shed light on prejudices in her time. The illustration depicts a map in the form of a masquerade mask, a reminder that identity is more complex than one's superficial characteristics or circumstances. Print from our SHE collection.  “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” -Oscar Wilde, “Critic As Artist." Happy birthday to one of our favorite wordsmiths.  “Though dewy grass, nor small birds hushed in bowers, nor unto silent leaves and drowsy flowers,—that voice of unpretending harmony” - William Wordsworth ||  of our Wordsworth tote by @mylittlebooktique  "Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it." - Andre Gide || The illustration is divided into two parts, a puzzle-piece-shaped question mark and its severed tail, which now resembles an exclamation point. ? > !  Giveaway alert ❣️A collection of 8 Illustrated Literary Classics by T. S. Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Keats, Henry David Thoreau and Sara Teasdale. Would you like a set? In order to celebrate the launch of our small press and the funding of our Kickstarter campaign, we’re giving away the first 8 books to a set of friends. TO ENTER: Simply like this post and tag a friend. We’ll select a winner Friday, October 11. TO PREORDER THE BOOKS: Click the books link on our site (Kickstarter backers get the free gift - two 5x7 art prints and three bookmarks). BONUS ENTRY: Share via stories or your feed… be sure to tag us! Good luck.  A lightning bolt leaves a lasting impression before it fades into darkness.  "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;” || Favorite season meets favorite poet.
 Autumn weekends are for... ||  of our Austen travel mug by @catebutler  One of them has to go. Forever. Which is it?  "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion." - John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty” || Project 52 Week 33: John Stuart Mill. This illustration depicts the border between two contrasting spaces as a tightrope. The walker's balance pole becomes the balance of a scale weighing both sides of the argument dispassionately. - Evan  Are you team stay-in-your-lane or loop-de-loop?  "Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me Fluttering from the autumn tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow Blossom where the rose should grow; I shall sing when night’s decay Ushers in a drearier day.” - Emily Bronte  Big news! We’re making more books. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and John Keats will join our collection of illustrated classics. More info on our site!
 “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” - William Shakespeare, “As You Like It” || Here’s to Feste, Touchstone, Lear's fool and the whole lot. The smartest guys in the room. This is a throwback to our first collection in 2011!   “Now the white prairie was sky, and the stars lay under my feet.” Zitkala-Ša was a Native American writer, lecturer, and activist. She is best known for her 1921 collection “American Indian Stories,” which illuminates the challenges and complexities of her personal history. She spent her early life on the Yankton Indian Reservation and went on to be educated at Earlham College. She advocated for greater understanding of Native American society, and her work provides a unique bridge between two cultures. || Illustration from SHE—our women writers collection.  Back by popular demand: 2020 Desk Calendars! There were riots when we didn't make these last year, and we now know that many of you look forward to giving these as holiday gifts. The calendars are unbound so that the art may be repurposed: clipped and framed, shared, used for inspiration boards, etc. Each calendar comes with a complimentary wooden easel while supplies last. Want a FREE calendar? Our publishing campaign Kickstarter backers found out this morning that they are receiving a free calendar for helping us reach a major milestone. If you'd like to score a free calendar, there is still time to back the campaign. All backers at the three book level or higher receive a complimentary calendar PLUS the free paper good pack. We’ll share the links in stories.  Sweater weather! Who’s giddy? And Psssst… we have a little something special for you. We’re making room for new notebooks and are running down current stock. Save 25% on all notebooks with code: TAKENOTE  Tolstoy’s take on International Coffee Day  “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all” - Oscar Wilde, “The Critic As Artist". Is there such a thing as a safe bet?