Husband-and-wife team JW & Melissa Buchanan design fancy junk for whoever would pay them money. They are the artist behind Little Friends of Printmaking.
Their awards include honors from the Art Directors’ Club, American Illustration, and Communication Arts. Their work has been featured in books including New Masters of Poster Design [Rockport] and Handmade Nation [Princeton Architectural Press] and has appeared in magazines including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, WIRED, and Sierra.pockets.
How Did You Get Started?
We started out while attending art school, making prints together at the University of Wisconsin. A few early jobs making concert posters shifted our whole outlook towards illustration and a more omnivorous approach to our art practice. We’ve never looked back!
What is the inspiration for the brand name?
The name was always meant as a bit of a goof. When we were coming up with it, we weren’t thinking about it as a brand name that we would have to live with for 14 years, we were just trying to be silly and have fun. As odd and unwieldy as it is, it’s a reflection of our humor and personality, and as many people love it as are puzzled by it.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
Overcoming our student debt and crippling self-doubt. One of them, of course, is more easily overcome than the other.
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
By the time we’d graduated from college, we’d been making concert posters for a few years. With nothing else better to do, we joined up with another pair of poster artists and organized a rather down-and-dirty, DIY touring exhibition of our prints and posters.
We put together 25 exhibitions over five weeks that summer, travelling all across North America. Years removed, it all just seems completely nuts! We showed in museums and galleries and at skate parks and in crazy art squats. We slept on gallery floors and put up elaborate shows just to take them down and get right back on the road. It had a hugely positive impact on our career.
Looking back, the two lessons I have to take away from it is:
A) Occasionally, you have to create your own opportunities
B) You have to treat yourself and what you’re doing like it’s a big deal and it’s worth caring about.
You Can Reach Little Friends of Printmaking via:
Web – http://thelittlefriendsofprintmaking.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/littlefriendsof/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/littlefriendsofprintmaking/