Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Report from NYC: Little Friends of Printmaking

The humble print has exploded on the Web as an affordable art work bursting with imagination. I could spend my whole day – and my entire paycheck – buying up prints on Etsy. As the cold winds whip through Wall Street and the art market starts to feel the chill, I take comfort that for a mere $25, I can buy me a heart-stopping little showpiece, like these by the Little Friends of Printmaking.

The Little Friends of Printmaking are the husband-and-wife design team of James and Melissa Buchanan, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make silkscreen prints, usually in batches of no more than a hundred, which they sell on their fabulous website.

Many of their prints start life as posters for music concerts, film festivals and book readings. Okay, so you didn't actually see Yo La Tengo at Memorial Union Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin, but you feel like you could have been there.

James and Melissa also make art prints that they take on travelling exhibits around the country. I asked James which of his prints were his favourite. "They’re all our children," he said with mock affection. "I tend to divorce myself from them when they come out of the house." Jeez, I hope this guy isn't actually planning to have children any time soon!

Seriously, it's clear that the Buchanan household must be a fun place. A visit to their website is worthwhile, not only to see their fabulous portfolio of posters, but also to read their zany captions.

Where DO they get all these wacky bolts of imagination? "We watch too much TV. We connect the dots wrong between things," said James. "We keep a list of all our crazy ideas."

Not too shabby for a design duo with few prospects after graduating from art school just four years ago. "We were music fans, so when a promoter asked us to make some posters, we thought it would be fun. We didn’t have an inkling we were interested or good at design," says James.

To read about another up-and-coming print artist - this one based in my home town of Brooklyn - take a visit to my blog, The Brooklynist.

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