Renowned German painter, printmaker and writer, Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) is one of the most celebrated artistic figures of the Northern Renaissance. Dürer’s work has immensely contributed to the printmaking medium as an art form, his delicate prints ranging from religious scenes to exacting studies of animals and the human form. Feeling Dürer-inspired as of late—natural touches, animal motifs, and delicate black and white lines.
Madewell pullover sweater / Madewell fitted shirt / J.Crew j crew / Madewell boots / Madewell spike necklace
Part 2: The Little Friends of Printmaking
[All images via The Little Friends of Printmaking]
Milwaukee’s husband and wife printmaking duo, Melissa and JW Buchanan, have gained international acclaim since the establishment of The Little Friends of Printmaking. Amongst their most famed designs is Fantômas, utilized as the difficulty screen for the well-known video game Guitar Hero. When first approached by a fan who worked at Harmonix, the original developers of Guitar Hero, Melissa and JW agreed to loan their image, though apprehensive as to the game’s future success: “we were like yeah sure, good luck with that. It sounded insane at the time, a video controller shaped like a guitar? Whatever.” The duo’s style is distinguished by the use of bursting illustrative compositions—intricate assemblages of objects and figures combined to visually embody the represented musicians. The printmakers’ 2010 gig-poster for comedic band Flight of the Conchords, depicts a multitude of colorful details representative of lyrical phrases, as well as moments from the musical pair’s HBO television show. Characters Jemaine and Bret peek out of their fabled New York apartment, a bodega down below selling magazines and various wares featuring lyrical references. Although The Little Friends’ gig-posters overwhelming favor a focus upon imagery, rather than text, the artists’ 2010 design Guided by Voices, features the band’s name, in thick curving typography, occupying the upper three-fourths of the composition. The designers’ deviation from their image-based prints, acts as an acknowledgement of the Indie Rock band’s lyrical focus, as well as songwriter Robert Pollard, dubbed one of the most productive songwriters in American history, releasing “nine albums and 11 EPs in the Nineties alone” (“Guided by Voices: Biography,” Rolling Stone). Whether depicting intricate imagery or bold typography, The Little Friends of Printmaking unfailingly demonstrate a true appreciation of the screenprint medium, visible in gig-posters such as the 2009 print Sonic Youth, created for the July 20th performance of the Sonic Youth at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom. Although Sonic Youth is a three-color print, the transparent nature of the silkscreen ink creates the appearance of about nine distinct hues, masterfully produced through the calculated printing of layers. The Little Friends have become a pillar within the growing Milwaukee gig-poster community, their edification of screenprint technique extending to fellow artists such as Josh Rickun, Milwaukee designer and illustrator and owner of the local t-shirt company Wiskullsin, as well as the wider community, through lectures and classes such as Inkblot Academy, Discovery World’s Print & Publishing Lab established and taught by Melissa and JW.
[Excerpt from The Gig-Poster Explosion: Artists and Collectors of Milwaukee, by Kelly Brown]
Milwaukee Art Museum
This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Milwaukee Art Museum’s annual juried art festival, the Lakefront Festival of Arts. The Lakefront Festival features more than 170 artists, this year featuring a commendable variety of artists (an improvement upon last year’s selection in my opinion). A few of my favorites this year include photographer Cali Hobgood, mixed media artist Dolan Geiman, and printmaker Nick Wroblewski.
John Taylor’s Shirts
Cali’s hand-colored black and white photographs capture everyday objects, isolated in a manner which, in Cali’s words: “gives them an iconic nature that moves the images from the everyday to a moment from our lives.” Striking in person, I can attest to the power of Cali’s photographs (especially her large-scale prints, in which the stunning hand-coloring can truly be appreciated). My only complaint, how am I to choose just one? (as at least one of these prints will inevitably be joining the ‘must have’ list). Envelope and The Manuscript over my desk? Flippers or The Sink in the bathroom?
Virginia Den Collection
Mixed media artist Dolan Geiman uses up-cycled materials to create contemporary yet rustic folk pieces which don the homes of privates collectors and windows of international retailers alike.
Navigating the Night
Hand-cut woodblock print
I am beyond drawn to the lovely nature-inspired woodblock prints by Midwest-based artist Nick Wroblewski. The printmaker’s latest works, including Navigating the Night, demonstrate an especially discerning sense of balance and color.