It has been way too long since the last Ten Questions interview. Luckily, I caught up with North Carolina’s Us & Them studio. They are putting out some beautiful work lately, and I think you’ll agree that this is a great read. Enjoy!
Age/Location: 27 years young. I am located in Boone, North Carolina. For those of you that don’t know, Boone is a small, hippie mountain town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Life in Boone moves a lot slower than the real world, which I love. The past few years, I have been very nomadic. Everything I own, including my printmaking equipment, fits in my car, but now that I’m in Boone, I feel like I’m rooting. It’s a beautiful, inspiring place; where strangers on the street smile and say hello.
How You Got Into Doing Posters / First Poster / Years Doing Posters: As a wide-eyed design student, I was very intrigued by the poster world. We had a design assignment to emulate the process of a design master that we respected and admired. A big influence for me was Art Chantry. I had a good time using the xerox machine and cutting out letters from old skateboard mags. This was also my very first silkscreen. Nick Wilson and Sara Thomas, now owners of Half & Half, and I were in design classes together. Nick already had some knowledge of the silkscreen process, and he was kind enough to teach me. We spent many a nights playing with ink and drinking cheap wine in the university printmaking department. From there I was hooked; silkscreening was like crack to me.
Favorite Poster / Art Print You’ve Done: That’s hard to say. Every poster I do, I strive to grow as a designer, illustrator, and printmaker. So I guess, every new poster I do is my current favorite. Right now, that would have to be my print for Mike Gordon’s show in Buffalo, NY. The print was based on a song off his newest album, The Green Sparrow, where he talks of escaping reality and digging tunnels in his neighborhood. Funny thing is that the Mike Gordon print was one of the last prints I did before making my journey to Flagstaff, Arizona, where I’m now doing some rock-climbing on limestone pockets that are very similar to the illustration on the Gordon print.
Describe Your Creative Process a Bit: Lots and lots of coffee. I spend a good amount of time on research, listening to albums, basically totally immersing myself into the scene until the ah-ha moment when I come up with a concept. Then, I spend a lot of time building piles of crumpled paper and playing on my wacom tablet.
All-time Favorite Poster / Art Print that Someone Else Did: There is so much talent in this world. I guess it’d have to be Oliver Vernon’s print for Sound Tribe Sector Nine’s NYE 05/06 shows. The jpeg doesn’t really do the print justice. The typography looks like it was made from chalk, blown out in some spots. He’s not really a poster designer. He’s an insane painter, one of my favorites. We had the opportunity to see some of his work in Seattle a couple years ago at the Blvd Gallery. So much more intense to see in the flesh. Someday I’d love to own one of his paintings.
Music Currently In Rotation: Jay Z – The Blueprint 3, Piano Overlord – The Singles Collection 03-05, Critters Buggins – Guest, Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles, Pandora stations: Tortoise, Mogwai, Silver Jews, Andrew Bird, Eek-A-Mouse.
Last Print, Poster, or Toy Bought: I try to resist the urge to buy stuff, even though there is so much awesome work coming out everyday. A few months ago, Zach Hobbs sent me a tube bustling with some sick shit. His Dark Meat poster was the favorite of the batch. I really really love Zach’s work.
Art Hanging On Your Walls: Yamabushi’s Isis Print, Bigfoot One’s Territory Print, Delicious’ Acid Mothers Temple Print, and Jay Ryan’s FS 16 Print.
Upcoming Stuff: We’re opening up a studio space and shop in downtown Boone! I’m working hard on tons of new art prints, t-shirts, and random graphic ephemera! Tons of work to do; it’s kinda overwhelming.
Words of Wisdom: Stay psyched and work hard!
See more of their work at UsAndThemStudio.com.