Speartalks: The Little Friends of Printmaking

JW and Melissa Buchanan are the husband and wife team known as The Little Friends of Printmaking. Known for their God-like mastery of screen printing, their brightly layered imagery, and their quirky sense of humor (take that, douchebaggiezz!), this Milwaukee-based pair is cranking out posters and collecting high fives faster than you can say "zesty gazpacho."

Because we're big fans of concert posters (like any average league of flailing hipsters), we scored ourselves an interview with the arty couple, and wound up wondering if we were in the right profession. Read on to learn why these two ink slingers are living the dream.

Joshspear.com: Can you tell us about your personal backgrounds in printmaking?

Melissa: I've been making prints since I was a teenager "“ I started in high school; woodcuts and etchings, mostly. Because printmaking was my main jam, it only seemed natural to study art at the University of Wisconsin where they have a historically great printmaking program. I would talk them up more, but I'm holding out for an honorary masters degree.

JW: I don't have quite the background that Melissa does. I did some screen printing in high school. Screen printing was not something they taught as an art course. Instead, you had to go through a tunnel under the street to a completely different building out back by the auto shop, and then into a room that smelled like acetone and was filled with very dangerous-looking equipment. I enjoyed it but it didn't make a huge impression on me. I didn't make any more prints until I was in college. I had originally gone to the UW to study sculpture, but once I was there it seemed obvious to me that it was pointless to study anything else but printmaking at that place. I must've picked up a trick or two because I seem halfway decent now.

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Camp Firebelly

What if you could go back to a summer camp where all you did was arts and crafts? Well, Firebelly Design is about to make you one happy camper. Camp Firebelly, a two week graphic arts program / sleepaway camp, is ready to accept applications for ten gifted design students to take part in a work-intensive project for a non-profit client. In lieu of tents, Firebelly is letting you camp out in their Chicago loft. And, if you really miss the swimming and canoing of your childhood…there’s always Lake Michigan. From the sound of it, the days will be long, and the nights may not be full of s’mores and ghost stories. But, it will look a heck of a lot better on your resume than that first place archery ribbon.

Sao Paulo: Skol Beats 2008 Election Time

The most delicate challenge that all music festivals organizers have to overcome is putting together a lineup that pleases a large enough number of John and Jane Musicfans, but also convinces them the ticket is worth the price. It’s a make-it or break-it deal and determines whether the festival will be staged again in the future. But let’s say you got to play curator and put together your own show befitting your tastes "” seems like a shoe-in success, right? That’s precisely the approach the promoters of Sao Paulo’s annual Skol Beats electronic music fest is taking for this year’s event, set to take place at the end of September. It could set a regular concept into motion for other music fests. Skol Beats just opened a special forum on their site this week to let the public discuss potential headliners and other supporting acts (even options for VJs and possible formats like indoor/outdoor, hours and venue). Fans are already excited about the idea of Justice, Erlend Oye and Air adding their names to the roster for an event that, in the past, has included acts like The Prodigy and Sao Paulo’s own DJ Marky. Skol Beats will present a shortlist of artists culled from the discussion for a final vote later, with results to be shared August 22. See, this is the kind of election that we can really get behind.

iGoogle Artist Themes

If you haven’t logged into your iGoogle page yet, you’re missing out on a rad new customizing feature: artist themes to personalize your search toolbar. I’ve got mine set on Nigo’s camo apes, but that’s after I changed it from Sao Paulo’s 10 Pãezinhos urban landscape drawings, which in turn had just replaced Shepard Fairey’s stenciled iconography (pictured). I’m actually wasting tons of writing time going through all 68 themes to find the perfect one for my Friday, but you’ll be surprised how they help set the tone of your day.

WALK Travel Guides

What do you normally do when you go on vacation? Pay too much for dinner? Get lost? Argue with your significant other? Sure, but mostly you take lots of pictures. The jetsetters over at WALK photographic travel guides recognize that a photo is worth at least several hundred words, which is why you won’t find stars, ratings, tips, or endless flowery prose dedicated to the sights and sounds of a city. Instead, you get a great representation of what it’s like to — well — walk around. Their first book on Berlin is out now, with upcoming destinations like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Chicago, Copenhagen, Florence, London, New York, Paris, Rome, and San Francisco coming up. If you happen to live around Denver, check out the release party at Enso Gallery.

Rob Pepper: To There & Back Again

We blog every day. But, sometimes working up the motivation to put fingers to keyboard is difficult. For starters Grand Theft Auto IV ain’t gonna play itself. Oh, and we can always find an extra hour or two in the day to sleep. British artist Rob Pepper has somehow found a way to combine his work and his passion into a productive habit. His once-a-day sketch work on Daily Drawing Diary has been going strong for three years, with successful solo gallery shows in both the U.S. and Australia. Pepper’s latest collection — “To There & Back Again” — is a collection of still life sketches that juxtapose middle America and the middle of England, rendering pencil forms of the people, places and farm animals that make these two disparate countries great. If you’re in London in the near future, stop by SW1 Gallery for a sample.

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