What would happen if you asked one person to tell you someone who inspires them; and then asked that person to name one person who inspires them; and so on? Where would the chain lead? Who would choose whom? That’s how Creative Chain was born. Each Wednesday, contributing editor Emily Potts adds three new “links” to Felt & Wire’s growing Creative Chain … Take a look below to see how our journey is unfolding, now five weeks and 15 people strong.
(Editor’s note: to see the chain building week by week, and to partake of the art that inspires, here are the links to the Creative Chain by week: Week one, Week two, Week three, Week four, and Week five.)
DUDE AND CHICK
We kick off the chain with a duo that we at Felt & Wire admire and respect. John Gurtin and Katie Wilson of Dude and Chick create cheeky, beautifully letterpressed greeting cards that are irresistibly funny. Based in St. Paul, Minn., John and Katie systematically bounce ideas off each other until one sticks and then it ultimately finds its way letterpressed into a card. Some of the illustrations that accompany the messages are quite literal, while others are a wink and a nudge at the topic. All are cheeky and will elicit an instant smile to the lucky recipient one of the cards.
Dude and Chick is inspired by …
“Kelly Abeln is my definition of ‘Illustration by a Lady.’ Her style is strong and no-nonsense, with a tendency toward wonk, and an ability to work in lots of little secrets to her illustrations. She runs head-on into different mediums, mixing textures, digital and painting with her hand-drawn type, but somehow it always comes together perfectly. Her tumblr is a constant source of inspiration—she posts new and old sketchbook work regularly at her website, as well as a slew of images at Cult of Flowers. The combination of female-centric girly things with a heavy dose of modern feminism is a balance that’s tough to come by, but oh-so-perfect when it’s done right. It’s no wonder that she’s currently illustrating for Rookie Mag. Kelly’s aesthetic inspires me to keep the chick side of Dude and Chick looking sharp.”
Kelly Abeln is inspired by …
“Andres Guzman has been blowing my mind with his artistic abilities since he sat next to me in an illustration class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design five years ago. I’ve had the chance to see his work grow and change mediums — from oil painting to digital, and now somewhere in between. Since day one his amazingly intuitive command of a brush, pen and pencil has been an inspiration. For someone like me, whose hand is clunky and clumsy (but charming in it’s own right), I dream of having ideas flow from my brain to paper like Andres. Although our styles are pretty different, I look at Andres’ practice as a great example. His work ethic, nonstop sketchbooking, experimentation and belief that an artist doesn’t have to have to be limited to one style to be successful, is influential.”
Andres Guzman is inspired by …
“Style, character and humor pour effortlessly out of Alice Pattullo’s existence. She is the kind of person that can say two words, one syllable each, and have you gasping for air on your dirty carpet. Everything she creates is the truth! She makes exactly what she means to and nothing less. Her taste is on point and unmatchable. You can tell that her eyes pick up the forgotten corners of culture that she then takes and immortalizes. Before she returned to her home country [U.K.] once, she gave me a refillable brush that she didn’t like. She showed me how she liked to use the brush, which completely changed the way I drew from there on. I liked this new brush so much that I bought like 10 of them afterward. She was definitely instrumental in my artistic expansion.”
Alice Pattullo is inspired by …
“Rosie Gainsborough’s work is so different from my own, leaving me feeling both inspired and in awe of her sensitive and considered images and animations. I personally tend to create over-cluttered and overt images, and it is really refreshing to see Rosie’s work and see how she can tell a story through a more modest method of image-making. She is definitely a sympathetic observer and an acute draughtsman and can make something out of nothing — her works that is most inspiring are those that champion the mundanities and ‘boringness’ of everyday life; she will almost always discover something beautiful in the things the rest of us overlook.”
Rosie Gainsborough is inspired by …
“Sophia Martineck inspires me because her drawings are both aesthetically and conceptually interesting. She makes images that confidently communicate a message —whether it is the message of a newspaper article or of an imagined story — and that draw you into her world. Her storytelling is fantastic.”
Sophia Martineck is inspired by …
Henning Wagenbreth has always been very inspirational for me. He is a master of creating his own unique and complex world. He never tires of finding new solutions, styles, and ideas, and he possesses great knowledge and skills in all kinds of different media.
Henning Wagenbreth is inspired by …
Sophie Dutertre has inspired me since I first saw her woodcuts. All her images have a stunning simplicity, and a deep and lasting expression. She is a master at creating mystery in her images by adding only a few words. It seems to be more important what she does not say. I share Sophie’s admiration of popular art in general, and prints—especially of the past centuries. I admire her ability to combine her life and her art in a convincing and honest way.
Sophie Dutertre is inspired by …
Placid has been an inspiration for me since my start. His work with Muzo was instrumental in motivating me to make books. He fills his notebooks with wonderful drawings of everyday modern life, with the typical small details. I like the way he catches the atmosphere of a street scene—the light, the clothes, the ugliness and innocence. His drawings are never despising, although the backgrounds are often exaggerated and distorted. Placid loves pictures and loves what he does. He’s always willing to share his thoughts on art. He’s generous and very curious.
Emily Potts is inspired by …
I first met Yann Legendre (Paris, France) in 2010, when he and Lance Rutter were sharing a loft studio in Chicago under the moniker Legendre + Rutter. The place was filled with big, beautiful posters exhibiting Legendre’s fluid, trademark style. I was also fortunate enough to peek inside one of his many sketchbooks lying around the studio and see how he captured his thoughts and observations. He makes it look so effortless, but in reality very few people have this talent. Legendre moved back to Paris with his new wife late in 2011. I was sad to see him go, but I am able to keep up with him and his work through social media.
Yann Legendre is inspired by …
You can classify Martin Venezky of Appetite Engineers (San Francisco) as a graphic designer, but for me, he is a poet. Martin collects every little piece of paper, sticker, typography, shapes, etc., that he finds in his environment to compose his visual poetry. I read his images as I would read a poem from Beckett, Rainer Maria Rilke, Bukowski or Faulkner. They are not just what they are made for, they are what they are made with — and here is the key to understanding Martin’s work: The vernacular elements that compose the pieces are as important individually as the whole composition itself. With Martin’s work, you also understand what you see in the format, and what is around it … on his table, on his studio, on his city, on his country, on his universe, in his mind.
Martin Venezky is inspired by …
I first encountered Ed Fella’s work in issue 17 of Emigre Magazine. That was in 1991, and the simpleton that I was then just didn’t get it. Everything seemed off — mismatched, irregular, tangled and confusing. I couldn’t understand why someone would want to make work like this or why someone would want it made. But I kept returning to those pages. For me, they were magnetic and alive. Eventually, as I learned Ed’s full story — his years as a self-labeled “hack,” his return to school, his intense hand-driven process and the magnitude of his output — I’ve come to love and admire the work and the artist deeply. So important has his work been to me, that I would use my rising appreciation as evidence of advancement in my own visual sophistication.
Today I consider Ed Fella (Los Angeles) the most unburdened and adventurous artist working in the intersection of design, typography and drawing. Ed’s practice is a perfect example of discovery through making, and making as a way of seeing, documenting and living. He plays with the form of language as well as language itself. He plays with materials and bounces among disciplines. His work is simultaneously contemporary and old fashioned, and completely outside of time and its constraints.
More than anything, Ed’s success has given me permission to treat design as an artistic practice, with each work building on its predecessors, and allowed me not to feel obliged to look over my shoulder and copy what others are doing but to forge my own eccentric, rambling path forward.”
Ed Fella is inspired by …
Scott Massey (Los Angeles, CA) is one of my grad students. In the two years he has been here, he has produced a large and striking body of work—most impressive for me, his series of silkscreen posters. Both formally and technically, they are beautifully done. His ideas are clever and complex. They have a slyly outrageous and saucy attitude that appeals to my own past attempts at design and letterforms with a certain impertinence. So, if my current work is becoming too refined and nostalgic, maybe these posters will inspire me to stay a bit more audacious!
Scott Masey is inspired by …
Paul Share (New York, NY) has inspired me to never quit on my ideas, to take a project as far as it has to go until you know its complete; to infuse projects with personal passion, knowledge, and curiosity; to not be afraid of starting your own projects, even if that means paying for it yourself; to hold true to content and let that dictate direction (his work somehow still always looks great and reads well). Visit OOPS, he updates constantly with inspiring work.
Paul Share is inspired by …
One of the reasons I teach design part-time at the School of Visual Arts is the influence of my students, so I’m choosing a particular former student who will to stand in for the rest of them as my inspiration. Suckzoo Han is currently in New Haven pursuing a masters degree at a relatively well known University there. He is a rare combination of funny, type/graphic design geek, and punk. After waging a personal war with typography at SVA, he somehow graduated in 2009. He promptly got a job in Philadelphia working at Urban Outfitters. He lasted a few months.
I lost track of him for a time until I received an official Notice of Violation from the Public Health and Sanitation Department of Philadelphia, citing a violation involving a sticker — of my design — that had been slapped on a piece of prominent public art. I really wasn’t sure if it was fake or not until I examined it closely. This turned out to be from Suckzoo. It’s a beautiful thing. I love the idea of designing for an audience of one.
All line art portraits created by Fred Schaub.
Opening image: Big Tricks by Scott Masey