Expressing and Pressing in Lubbock

Husband and wife duo, Dirk and Carol Fowler have been running f2design since 2000, but each takes on their own clients in their specialties. Carol focuses mainly on print collateral and event graphics, while Dirk is busy designing letterpress posters, music packaging, corporate identities, and editorial illustration. The beauty of this set-up is that they collaborate when needed and and bounce ideas off each other, so they’re not working in a vacuum from their remote studio in Lubbock, Texas.

“We are comfortable with each other and the way we work, and we have intentionally kept our shop to just the two of us. We have had the opportunity to work for high profile clients, but we are just as happy designing something for our kids’ schools,” Dirk says. “One of our kids is usually hanging out right beside us while we are working, and we are OK with that.”

Although the shop is small, f2 has churned out a startling number of posters over the years, many of which are for sale on their website. Dirk has had the good fortune of working with some great bands, including The Killers, the Avett Brothers, Modest Mouse, singer Lyle Lovett, and Wilco, with whom he’s had a ten-year run. As he notes, Wilco works with a lot of artists, but they appreciate poster design and commission one for almost every show, and they’re easy to work with. “They don’t present me with ideas, or specify certain subjects, but they know what they like and don’t like. They really allow the artist to be creative, but the work definitely has to fit the image of the band in order to be approved by them,” Dirk says.

In the grand scheme of things, the Fowlers are right where they need to be. A long tradition of great musicians from Buddy Holly to Waylon Jennings and many more, hail from Lubbock. So, when the local PBS channel did a documentary film about the town’s music history, they hired Dirk to create posters for the premiere event. “My visual is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the film title Flat Land Open Sky. I like the idea that no matter the genre of music, or time period, all the musicians from this area had one thing in common: our expansive blue sky. Some might not see anything, while others might see it as limitless possibilities,” he explains.

The 75 posters were letterpress printed on Astrobrights Lunar Blue. To achieve the fuzzy effect for the con trails, Dirk used a spray-paint stencil. “I really enjoy printing simple one or two color images on colored stock and using the paper color as an intricate part of the design. I also enjoy very small runs that include this type of hand work. You can easily see that a human made the poster.”

A Bearded Lady & A Hoarsefly Walk Into a Bar

Whoa, Nelly!
Zombies, Cannibals, and Blood Lust Bambie?
Abi Daniel  is Out There. Waaaay Out There.

Whether mixing inks at Bearded Lady print shop or crafting logos at Hoarsefly Design & Illustration, Abi Daniel is constantly refining and reimagining her creative output. You’d never know that illustrator/designer Abi Daniel started her career drawing zombies, wookies, and spaceships, as a concept artist at Sony Online Entertainment, as much of her work now has a broader, more ephemeral appeal.

After leaving Sony to find her own creative voice, she discovered that she really loved printmaking and etching. She eventually met and married designer Josh Chalmers in Austin, Texas, who runs Bearded Lady, a screen printing shop. She now helps him run the print shop and does client work under her moniker, Hoarsefly.

Daniel says that one of the many perks of running a print shop, includes collaborating with other local artists. “It’s a fantastic avenue to form relationships with creative peers, and it’s a busy, productive working environment. I’m continually surrounded by very talented people who are working hard on their projects, and are stoked about the process. It’s a very positive, energetic vibe, and I think that’s possibly one of the nicest things about my life these days,” she admits. In addition to hosting workshops, Bearded Lady also has a gallery space to display the works of local artists.

At Hoarsefly, clients primarily Daniel to design logos, t-shirts, posters, and packaging because of her unique, hand-crafted sensibilities. A recent project for Pint House Pizza in Austin, required her to create large, linework illustrations on wood paneling. She drew at full-scale, taping sheets of cover stock together and tacking them to the wall. “I got really big and gestural. It was refreshing to work that way … and oddly, fast,” Daniel says. She then photographed the different elements, and finalized the placement and overall layout in the computer, projecting the images on the wall. She then painted the two murals directly on the walls, each measuring 7 x 10 feet. Getting the lines and details just right, took her hours to complete.

Ugly Art Possesses Charm & Character

The crude, messy nature of screenprinting is exactly what attracted designer Ryan Duggan to his craft of making what he calls, “Ugly Art.”

In Chicago, where the temps are currently freeze-your-ass-off frigid, the print scene is hot. “We have more pro-level screen printers in this city than anywhere else in the world, and yet it’s not an ugly competition. Everyone helps each other out. I love it here,” says Ryan Duggan, a one-man screenprinting machine, churning out posters, invitations, and art prints in the Windy City.

He’s printed hundreds of gig posters since 2006, when he came to his senses after studying advertising copywriting at Columbia College in Chicago. “I realized I had zero interest in working in an ad agency,” he says. I’m sure his parents were thrilled. Fortunately, in high school he learned how to screenprint from a temperamental guy named Zim. Duggan recalls, “He would absolutely lose his shit if you called ink ‘paint.’ To this day, I cringe when people use the wrong term, expecting Zim to jump on a table and scream.” Read rest of article here.

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