Well, you just learned all about Meagan Anderson (half of our awesome-poster-making-team) so why not bring the goods on Kris Johnsen of Emblem Studio (the other half!) for a bit of internetty distraction? I asked Kris a few questions about his work, the fair and more:
The BIG THAW: What new/favorite products/designs will you be sharing at the fair?
Kris Johnsen (of Emblem Studio): As always I will have recent gig poster from music events around portland and a few National acts. I will also have more art prints available, some of which as on my blog Emblem Studio and some I have yet to show with the world. I’m excited about a few drawings i have been working on that are going to be turning into art prints and will hopefully be done in time for the fair. I will also soon be working away from screen printing and trying to do more wood block and linoleum block prints. I have also been working hard on new ways to display my prints since it’s always hard to put everything on display when trying to work with such a small area. I might include some Portland Pins stuff also.
Emblem Studio print in downtown Portland
TBT: You get a bulk of your work from events and musicians – describe the process of collaborating with people who are not necessarily visual artists in giving something you know they’ll like. What are some of your favorite posters you’ve done for an event?
KJ: I do get most of my work from musicians. This happened because when I started to work for Space Gallery I saw a lack in good flyers at the time I started and this was simply because everyone else has such important jobs and are very busy that I felt that I couold help improve Space in this little way and it would/will hopefully get more people to these events that might not find out about them. I also started to book a few shows on my own so I would make screen printed posters for these and just try and cover Portland with them.
So naturally some bands caught on that people actually notice these poster’s and some started to hire me for show posters or art prints. I’ve been continuing to do this as well as make flyers for Space events, but also try and get others to contribute and get their artwork out there.
The best and most fun posters are the ones where clients let me do what I want and dont have much of an input to the poster other than us sitting down initially and talking about a few ideas and more of a feel we want to go with. My favorite posters I’ve done are ones where I had complete control over, those ones I always feel like come out the best also. I also like to stick to projects I support also, this helps myself have a connection to the project, this does not necessarily help come up with ideas but makes me feel better about what I’m putting out in the world and if someone asked me about the show or event I would feel strongly about it.
My favorite recent print is one I did for The last Night On Earth event in Portland. The whole job was nothing but fun, and only worked with friends and people I have done jobs for before. I actually did the job for free because I supported the event so much. I of course sold them at the show to make up for that. It was more about supporting the bands in the show and creating something cool. Hanging out at shows and selling prints is one of the most fun things also!
Last Night on Earth Poster
TBT: You’re new (like me!) to the craft fair circuit… do you have any advice for people who are considering selling at a craft fair but aren’t sure how to start?
KJ: I’m still pretty new to the whole selling your work thing. I really really enjoy being a part of Arts & Crafts fairs, my work fits in really well but also stands out I feel. It’s also so great to hang out with so many other creative people.
From doing craft fairs I’ve learned that your set up is so important. Making it easy for people to view your artwork and not have it hidden. Also if you hang things in back of you they most likely wont even see it. It’s all about the table! With me all of my items are large and flat so that makes it hard to display all of them at the same time. This time around I have collected old wooden boxes to put prints in so people can flip through them, I hope it works out!
For people who are nervous about selling work at a fair I would encourage them to just sign up for a local fair ahead of time and just do it. If you give yourself a deadline then you will produce work! Or you could share a table with your artsy friends to just hang out with for the day. I’ll be hanging out with Meagan Anderson at our shared table this year.
Some great advice and some great work to look forward to from Emblem Studio. The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage sale will be held on Saturday, April 16th at the Mayo Street Arts Center (10 Mayo St., Portland, just down the street from the big church on Franklin arterial) from 10am to 4pm. We are so looking forward to seeing you there!
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