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Jam Out and Make Your Own Sharpie Music Video

This back-to-school season, Sharpie is showcasing the work of some of its most passionate creators in the brand’s first music video.  The video, which debuted as a TV spot last night during the “2012 MTV Video Music Awards,” features hundreds of images of Sharpie fan creations set to the music of indie band California Wives.

BUT we didnt stop there! Utilizing the latest advancements in web development – HTML5 and CSS3 and a lot of other fancy technology, we created a Sharpie Music Video Mashup that lets our fans, just like you,  create a customized Music Video Mashup that can be shared on your social networks!

All you gotta do is visit the Sharpie Facebook page and upload your own creations to the Sharpie gallery, or select from more than 18,000 existing images that fans have already contributed!  From there, just drag and drop the chosen images into place, hit play and watch YOUR Mashup come to life to the tunes of California Wives!  Each Music Video Mashup is a totally unique expression, where you can be your very own mix masters.

Share what you started with Sharpie and shoot us your finished Mashups– we will share our favorites here!

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Subway Art Starts with Sharpie

Enrico Miguel Thomas

You know those wildly difficult-to-fold pieces of paper called maps?  Those oversized contraptions soon to go the way of GPS?  Well they’ve found new purpose. Thanks to Enrico Miguel Thomas, subway maps now have soul.

Enrico is a subway map artist.  He uses Sharpie markers to create magnificent works of art on subway maps.

Based in Brooklyn, Enrico got his start as a map artist after he discovered that Sharpie markers were the perfect medium to express his urban style. Using subway maps as his primary canvas, Enrico created a style — a genre, even – all his own.  Subway maps became the “drawing paper” that allowed him to express his unique perspective, including the incredible and inspiring views of New York City that capture his imagination.

Take a minute to get to know Enrico in our interview below — he won’t disappoint — and who knows, maybe you’ll find your way to a one-of-a-kind canvas that inspires you.

The Apple Store

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What are your interests, likes, dislikes? Pet Peeves welcome too. 

My name is Enrico Miguel Thomas and I was born in Los Angeles, California. I love to draw and always have. The legendary comic book artist, Stan Lee was one of my first artist role models. I used to constantly study how he drew his super heroes .

A good day for me is one hundred push-ups first thing in the morning, followed by a bottle of water and then off to my favorite cafe in Brooklyn, Le Petit, for some apple pie with an iced chai tea latte for breakfast. I am also a film fanatic and a huge X-Men fan and some day I would love to have a part in a cool action film! I am usually always a positive person and can’t stand when people don’t at least try to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. I admire people who have persevered through the greatest odds and keep going anyway!

What is inspires you to Uncap What’s Inside?

I first started using Sharpie markers in my second year at Pratt Institute. As a drawing major, I found Sharpie markers to be so easy to work with as a drawing tool. They were so compatible with virtually every drawing surface I tried whether it was paper, wood, or even foam core. After I graduated, I stuck with them and have always insisted on using them. While at Pratt and afterwards, I began to draw lots of architecture and nothing compared to the black Sharpie Marker! They always had such a smooth feel on the paper’s surface.

Eventually, I would try using a subway map as drawing paper and Sharpie markers were perfect for this new drawing surface! The beautiful architecture in New York City and the cool subway trains and stations inspired me to go out and draw. I love the challenge of creating the illusion of a three dimensional space on a two dimensional drawing surface.

Also, my childhood was very difficult so art has always been a refuge for me and always gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. It gives me a new identity as an artist instead of someone who had a difficult early life.

HSBC Bank

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

In my work, Sharpie markers are used in a way that I think is a metaphor for a part of my personality, which is that of a fighter and someone who perseveres. I can take a package of Sharpie markers and create a colorful drawing that looks as though it was created with the most expensive art materials. e.g. oil paints, acrylic paints, etc. For example the Sharpie Silver Metallic marker works perfectly for the color of the subway cars that I draw on the subway maps. The bottom line for me is that it doesn’t matter how much you have without. Instead, it is what is within that matters. If the will power is there you can create with anything. This is what “Uncap what’s inside” means to me.

How would you describe your style? 

My style is all about speed. The speed of New York City. I love to draw quickly so my style is definitely illustrative and architectural but can also be classified as fine art.

How did you get started?

I started drawing at the age of eight. I remember being in an art class when I was about thirteen and the teacher would say, “Enrico it is time to go”, but I would want to stay and finish my drawing because I loved art so much. I continued to take art in high school and college and always received encouragement to keep doing it from family and teachers alike.

You have really put a new spin on “following the map” – tell us the story behind using subway maps as your “canvas.”

I started using subway maps because I wanted to try a new challenge. Life without challenges is pretty stale so I gave it a go even though I wasn’t sure if I would like the result. To my surprise, using subway maps as drawing paper, added the additional challenge of working with the colors already present on the map. It wasn’t always easy collaborating with the map but I was determined to make it work. This is the message that I would like my art to send out to the world. In life you have to keep trying until you are happy with yourself. You have to refuse to give up!

The city really seems to inspire you and your art; do you have a favorite subject or a place in the Big Apple where you find inspiration?

My favorite place in the city, by far, is New York City’s upper west side at 72nd Street. There is a huge exterior subway station there with a smaller one behind it and in the background, beautiful tall buildings that provide the perfect backdrop for the negative space of the drawing. I have always found this space to be architecturally fascinating.

Your art has a really cool “sketch” effect that I can imagine is hard to create with a permanent marker! Do you free-hand your work or plan them out first? 

I definitely free-hand all of my drawings. It is just a gift that I am very thankful to have and it has been a wonderful refuge for me all my life.

The New York Philharmonic

Franklin Street Station

How do you decide what you want to tackle next, slash can you tell us what you ARE working on next?

I basically just walk around until something that I find beautiful “catches my eye.” And then watch out because Enrico Miguel Thomas goes to work on the spot and basically doesn’t leave till the drawing is complete – just like I did in Junior High School! There was this one time about two months ago, when I was working on two interior watercolors of the New York City 72nd Street Station and my work session didn’t end until about 5am! Right now I am working on a subway map drawing of the New York City Freedom Towers that are actually still under construction.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?

I definitely have drawings that are favorites. I love my 72nd Street drawings and my Flatiron building drawings.

72nd St on Subway Map

Best part of your “day job”?

I decided after Pratt Institute, to give my life to my art so it is all I currently do. I believe that when you make up your mind to do something nothing is impossible. “As a man thinketh, so is he.” – James Allen

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

To fly so I could travel for free. First stop…Paris!

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

Denzel Washington because I think his work is amazing!

Finally, what are you just JAZZED about for 2012 (trends, upcoming projects, personal life)?

In 2012, I am really looking to branch out even more as far as additional exhibitions of my work. I am also going to study more acting. Studied some already about five years ago at H.B. Studios here in New York City. Also looking into doing art work in Amsterdam and Paris.

Check back to see what Enrico Starts next and be sure to follow him on Twitter @NYCSubwayArtist for daily updates.

You can read more about Enrico here:

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YOUR SHARPIE ART ON MTV?!?!

WELCOME TO YOUR AUDITION.  HAVE A SEAT. 

 

[Image via http://www.etsy.com/listing/103782553/custom-comic-superhero-wingback-chair]

JUST A FEW QUESTIONS BEFORE WE GET STARTED: 

Are you a Sharpie doodler who turns out cool Sharpie designs, like on your shoes or jeans or backpack ? Or maybe on less obvious things like your mom’s styrofoam wig holder?

Whenever you pick up a Sharpie marker, are you insanely driven to write, draw or doodle on something, anything, NOW?

Insane doodler

Are you a serious artist who makes blow-your-hair-back art using Sharpie products?

Coffee cup artist Cheeming Boey, a Sharpie partner in inspiring others to start something.

Do you just want to be famous and are willing to pick up a Sharpie product to get noticed?

Being famous to be famous is so not the point. Earn your fame by creating something cool with Sharpie.

OK, THANKS.  NOW LET’S GET STARTED.

THE “START WITH SHARPIE” CHALLENGE GIVES OUR

AMAZING FANS A START AND A STAGE IN OUR FIRST-EVER MUSIC VIDEO

PREMIERING DURING THE MTV VMAs!!

So that’s the headline but more importantly, here’s how your Sharpie art can make its way into Sharpie’s music video:

  1. Make something fantastical with Sharpie!
  2. Take a picture and upload it to our gallery by August 6.
  3. Then on September 6, watch the VMAs and look for our commercial, a 60-second music video-style TV ad made up of fan art from the Challenge submissions to the Sharpie gallery - maybe even yours!
  4. Bust a move!  So you’re sitting on the couch Tweeting your friends about Kanye and Kim at the VMAs when all of the sudden you see YOUR Sharpie art on TV!  You immediately spill your Chili Cheese Fritos and text your mom (who’s in the kitchen refilling your Camelback with kool-aid).  Done.  You’re famous!
  5. What now?!?!?!   Head over to Sharpie’s Facebook page and watch it again…and again…and again.  Share it everywhere and with everyone. Tweet us @Sharpie –more surprises happening that day on Twitter, so be sure to follow.

AND FOR THE RECORD (because everyone will ask) the band making its debut in the Sharpie VMA video is none other than California Wives performing their just released soon-to-be-hit single “Purple” (like as in PURPLE SHARPIE but really not so much about PURPLE SHARPIE).

The boys of California Wives!

Band members Joe O’Connor (drums), Jayson Kramer (vocals, guitar, keys), Dan Zima (vocals, guitar, bass) and Graham Masell (guitar, vocals) are getting their start with Sharpie, too, by appearing in our TV ad, so visit them on Facebook.  Here’s what they had to say about starring in our campaign:

“As we get ready to release our first album, we are really excited to be working with Sharpie,” said California Wives’ singer and guitarist Jayson Kramer. “Looking through all of the user-submitted art, we could tell that sharing ideas and promoting creativity is something that Sharpie is really passionate about. As a band, it’s easy for us to stand behind that. We are excited to provide our music as the backdrop for that type of creative environment.”

Ok, so what if WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I DIDN’T SEE MY SHARPIE ART IN THE VIDEO?

Immediately following the video debut, fans will be able to create their own custom version on Sharpie’s Facebook page, adding their Sharpie artwork to create their own personalized music video.  This is a first.  You won’t want to miss this because how often to you get to make your own music video featuring your own Sharpie art?  Like, never!

Get Inspired! 

Our goal is to make everything we do about our fans, so we’re shining our spotlight on a couple of our most prolific and talented Sharpie creators, starting with dumpster-diver-glass-artist Emmy Star Brown and her amazing window creations.  Emmy is helping us introduce our new Gold and Bronze Metallic markers in our new TV ads. Gold and Bronze colors are joining the Silver Metallic marker in our shiny Sharpie lineup.  More heavy on the metals below…Check out her work:

Our very own gold star, Emmy Star Brown, Sharpie 2012 Advocate!

Sassy in silver

Sharpie brings home the Gold!

Sharpie Bronze, Baby!

And soon enough, you’ll be tracking Enrico Miguel Thomas, subway map artist also appearing in our TV ads.  He creates amazing subway art using our new Sharpie Brush Tip markers…stay tuned!

NEW PRODUCTS FROM SHARPIE – BRING IT!

Sharpie fans, get ready to SCORE with these new Sharpie products, hitting store shelves just as you’re heading out to stock up on school supplies (remember, while school can sometimes be a drag, school supplies are almost always FUN!).

Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers:Joining the Sharpie Silver Metallic marker are new Gold and Bronze colors!  These are AMAZING and so fun to create with.  Their brilliant sheen sparkles on both light and dark surfaces.  Shine on!  And just in time for all that sports stuff happening in London this summer ; ) : )Now that’s some heavy metal!

Sharpie Brush Tip Permanent Markers: These are the first Sharpie markers to feature a flexible brush tip so you can create fine lines, bold strokes and shading all with one marker.  These let you control the width of your lines—thick or thin—with the pressure of your hand. Perfect for shading and contouring. Available in a rainbow of bright colors.Sharpie Brush Tip Markers – so smooooooooooth!

Be sure to visit us on our Facebook page and on Sharpie.com for all the latest from Sharpie…what are you gonna start?

 

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Sharpie Star, Emmy Star Brown

It’s that time of year again! Sharpie is excited to announce the bright new faces appearing in its 2012 advertising campaign! You may remember last year’s “Start With Sharpie” ads that featured some of our most passionate fans.  We were so inspired by what fans just like YOU are creating with Sharpie that we HAD to showcase a new round of amazing talent in 2012!

Allow me to introduce you to Sharpie’s newest rising star, and one of the stars for our 2012 ad campaign, Emmy Star Brown! (Yes, I am having a touch too much fun with her name; I mean, who wouldn’t?! It’s AWESOME!) 

Our very own gold star, Emmy Star Brown, Sharpie 2012 Advocate!

Emmy is a Chicago graphic designer and artist who got her start by creating eco-friendly, freehand expressive artwork on salvaged glassware and glass windows. And this cute-as-a-button creator is pretty rough and tumble when it comes to her craft– from dumpster diving to garage sales– she digs in, taking other people’s discarded treasures and giving them new life with our new Metallic markers (NEW Gold and Bronze colors joining Silver)!

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? Give us the good stuff!

I grew up right outside of Chicago, in the suburb of Glen Ellyn. I think describing a bit of my childhood may explain where my artistic roots came from.

 As a kid, both of my parents were teachers. Mom taught elementary school, Dad was a middle-school art teacher. With his summers off, Dad would pull me around in a little red wagon through the flea markets. As an art guy himself, he would go seeking old books, tools, and things for his classroom. This really opened my eyes to the world of finding, salvaging and reusing early-on, which has stuck with me my whole life.

 

Likes: Design-wise, I have always loved mobiles, typography, modern/minimalist work. Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg and Alexander Calder are my heroes.

I’m also a huge dog lover. I have a 14-month Welsh Corgi named Mickey. He looks like a little bear. He’s good company at the studio too.

As you can probably guess, I love salvaged furniture too. I’ll often stumble upon old wooden coffee tables, chairs and/or shelving in our alley, most of which I somehow make room for. I have had pretty good luck lately. My most recent find was a pair of really nice mid-century mirrors.

What inspires you to uncap what’s inside?

Most of my inspiration for my current work comes from my background in graphic design, specifically typography. I have always had some attraction to letter forms and script fonts. I just love their movement, line weight and sharpness. I also feel incredibly inspired by my friends! My closest circle of friends all work as independent creatives as well, which I feel allows for us all to feed ideas off of each other. This group includes an animator, jeweler, craftsmen, seamstress & illustrator.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

All of my work began with ink drawings! If you were to flash back to three years ago, you would find me sitting in a corporate office, filling sketchbooks and scrap paper with doodles in my free time. I had stacks of them. Little did I know, these were the start to something much bigger.

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

Bronzed and Beautiful!

My favorite Sharpie is the fine point black markers. Black ink has always set the foundation for me, always the best starting point. I also love the metallic markers, they appear beautifully on black surfaces.

How would you describe your style? 

My style could be described as: abstract, controlled, intricate, whimsical, expressive, smooth, seamless, organic, free-flowing.

Because my lines are so controlled, my work is often mistaken for screen prints or paper cut-outs, which is interesting. It’s actually a compliment.

One of my friends recently said to me, “your gift is your control, your skill is painting.”

You have done some amazing things on VERY different surfaces and go to some pretty unconventional lengths to get them. Tell us, do you REALLY go dumpster diving?

Yes! I have many times. Its not a daily thing but I have gone to extremes to find old windows. Surprisingly, most are found in my own neighborhood, Ukrainian Village. I guess I have been lucky to settle in an older neighborhood, but I definitely keep an eye out for them all the time. I commonly find them piled up in the alleys, dumpsters or around construction sites. Its always funny approaching construction workers, as I’m not taken too seriously at first. But you’d be surprised with how many I wind up walking away with. Lesson learned – It never hurts to ask. I really prefer to find the old windows myself, rather than buying them. I love having a story of where they came from. Of course, the more I can salvage, the more I can keep my prices of paintings down too.

What are you working on next?

My next project is going to be a grouping of smaller glass paintings.

I don’t know about other cities, but the Chicago suburbs ‘unlimited garbage day’ is taken very seriously around here. Once a year, each suburb is assigned 1 day to throw as much junk on their lawn as they please – which often is very usable furniture, housewares. etc. This results in scavengers, like me, spending hours rummaging through it all. I was fortunate enough this past May to salvage around 50 old photo frames, all of varied sizes, colors and materials. Jackpot!

Because most of the glass was either missing or broken, I did replace lots of it. But finding each frame adds a little more personal story behind each piece. And it feels good knowing that this ‘waste’ will be reused into a piece of artwork worth keeping.

Sassy in silver

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?

Yes! One of my first ink drawings I ever completed was a piece titled ‘Feather.’ Not only was it my first 2-piece drawing, but also my first piece which I felt worthy enough to frame. Fast-forward to 3 years later: I saved enough money to get my first studio space in Chicago, which ironically is called the ‘Feather Lofts ‘ so I now feel a little more even attached to it.

Best part of your “day job”?

There are so many best parts! I love the freedom of making a living, doing what I love. It’s really a dream. I was often told growing up that ‘art is a hobby, not a career.’ but overcame the obstacles to make it happen for me. It really feels more like a lifestyle than a job at times.

Working directly with clients is another great part. They are so appreciative, kind and supportive.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

I would choose Robert Rauschenberg. He was an incredible inspiration in my dad’s classroom, as well as in my creative process the past few years. He created non-traditional collage work using layers of found photos, prints and trash. He salvaged things to recreate from, which of course, is a major component of my own work. He also took risks and was experimental and didn’t care. His experimentation lead to ‘surprise and collectiveness’ as he said, which allowed him to really run with his style. Every artist, aspiring or professional, could learn from this guy.

Want more on Emmy? Check her 30-second ad that will be coming to a television screen near you!

AND the full-length version right HERE!

Also, be sure to check out her profile in the Sharpie gallery and see EVEN more on her website and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, on Flickr and on Instagram at emmystarbrown!

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Meet Billy The Artist

casa decor/ART BASEL MIAMI

Billy the Artist.  It doesn’t get any simpler than that.  His name is Billy.  He’s an artist.  But as simple as the name sounds, the work is anything but.   It’s in your face.  It knocks you back.  It’s a kaleidescope of color and puzzle-like images that celebrate the human spirit.   And Billy creates a lot of it using Sharpie markers.

“Create your own reality” is Billy’s mantra.  Billy captures the energy and power of the city around him, creating what he calls “Urban Primitive” art.  He has been embraced by both the fine and commercial art worlds, with openings at such prestigious venues as the Forbes Gallery in New York, Casa Decor Miami, Art Basel Miami, openings in Chelsea, Chicago, Cleveland, Austin, Orlando, and internationally at The Carib Fine Art Gallery on the island of Curacao. His commercial clients include designs for MTV, Suzuki and Hyundai,.  He’s been featured at (don’t hold your breath here – the list is a long one) The NY International Auto Show, LA & Chicago Auto Shows, Microsoft, The New Now Next Awards, Chock Full o Nuts Coffee, The New York Mets, The Sony Music and Film Studios, Woodstock 99, Delaguarda, The Rio Casino in Las Vegas, murals for The Broadway and London productions of RENT, Ducati Motorcycles and a special limited edition bottle design for Mountain Dew.

Billy’s Public Art projects have been sponsored by (exhale here) such clients as Entertainment Weekly, The American Kennel Club, Imodium, The Shubert Organization, Epic Records, Starbucks, Spike Lee/Pizza Hut, BR Guest Restaurants, Bike Nashbar, and Columbia Pictures. Billy has been featured internationally in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, New York Post, Juxtapose Magazine, and appearances on Fox and Friends, MTV, VH-1, CNN, Discovery, Japan TV, and 60 Minutes to name a few.

He’s has also done artwork for several philanthropic organizations such as The Fresh Air Fund, Covenant House, The Harvey Milk High School, JCC of Manhattan, and his work has been auctioned at Sothebys and Christies.

Okay, just breathe…

It’s amazing to see what Sharpie can create in the hands of a master.  Read on to learn (and see) more about Billy and his work:

How did you get started as an artist?

I started painting and selling my work on the streets and in clubs in NYC. It was when I was hired to paint 60 feet of black and white murals for the Broadway production of RENT that my life completely changed and catapulted my career to galleries, public art projects, and commercial gigs around the world.

Tell us a little about your genre. Are there lots of artists who do what you do? Where are they concentrated? What makes your work stand out from the rest?

I call my work “Urban Primitive Pop”—people say if Keith Haring, Picasso, and Peter Max got together and had some drinks, you would have my style. I’m self-taught and believe my work stands out because it represents who I am and how I look at life. My work is colorful and black and white. It may look complicated, but is simple. It is positive and energetic. It makes people happy.

How would you describe your style?

As I said, I call my work “Urban Primitive Pop,” a kaleidoscope of puzzle-like images that get in your face and celebrate the diversity of the human spirit.

Billy's work for the "New Now Next" Awards at MTV Studios

How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work?

I’ve had various sketchbooks for the last 25 years and used Sharpies to create a diary of my life through drawings.

What about Sharpie markers makes them your medium of choice?  Is it the variety of tip sizes, colors, other?  Please describe how you use Sharpie as an art tool.

I love the variety of tip sizes—I use primarily black Sharpies – my work is either in black and white or the color is always black outlined. In doing projects on the computer I first sketch out the designs with Sharpie, take a digital photo of it, put it in the computer, and then use the computer to fill in the color. All my design concepts always begin with a black Sharpie.

Tell us about some of your own favorite work.  What seems to get the most attention or is most coveted by others? Why do you think people are drawn to your work?

I’ve enjoyed working on some of my custom car designs for Hyundai and Suzuki–both those projects, which were for the International Auto Shows, were sketched out, freehand, on the cars with black Sharpie—no mistakes could be made–I liked that challenge and they turned out awesome. The custom design for Mountain Dew also got a lot of attention and was real exciting to do. I think people are drawn to my work because of the energy it gives. They are vibrant, they usually tell a story and they tend to make people happy. I like that.

Can you describe the process you go through to create your work?  How many hours does it take?  Is it a free-hand approach or do you create a template in advance?

In my color paintings and designs I sketch out the design free hand with Sharpie and then add the color and then go back and outline the painting in black paint. The black and white paintings are done freehand with black paint. My initial design work is always sketched out with black Sharpie—I tend to design and paint fast–it just flows and I like to work straight through with no breaks-it makes the finish more rewarding.

What inspires you?

My inspirations come from people, music, and the vibe and feel of New York City.

Billy Bottle - Mountain Dew

What statement are you trying to make, if any?  What do you want people take from your art?

I want my work to make people happy and not take life too seriously. Life is too short to be unhappy. Live life for today and have fun. I have two big philosophies — Create Your Own Reality and No Plan B.

Sharpie’s tagline is “Write Out Loud!”  Does this apply to your work and if so, how?

Yes, this does apply to my work—I’m all about getting my work out to more and more people. Be bold and not afraid to share your vision and who you are with more people. “Write Out Loud” means to me that you don’t have to shout out loud for people to be inspired, sometimes inspiration can come from a sketch or a design and that can be more powerful than anything. “Write Out Loud” your vision and you can change people’s lives or simply make them smile and be happy.

See and learn more about Billy the Artist here.

Hyundai Tiburon

Band in a Bubble, MTV

Orlando Guitar Town

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Meet artist Jeffrey Fulvimari

Jeffrey Fulvimari serves up some of his Sharpie art

Now, this is some cool stuff…

The work of Jeffrey Fulvimari, known for his illustrations of pretty young women with irresistible eyes, can be seen virtually everywhere — from mannequins featured in TV commercials to illustrations for Madonna’s children’s books, The English Roses.  His work has also adorned all different types of products, including wallets, pouches, towels, schedule organizers, and bags.  In celebration of his 10-year anniversary since launching his career in Japan, CWC is opening a store dedicated to all things Jeffrey, allowing his fans access to all of his products under one roof.  You can check it out here.  And his gallery here.

And here’s the amazing thing – Jeffrey uses Sharpies to create a lot of his work.  To think that Sharpie had a hand in these creations is humbling.

One thing Jeffrey has done over the years to help give back is his Fashion Plate solo exhibitions.   He held one held recently to benefit the Los Angles County Department of Child and Family Services.   Jeffrey explains how his Fashion Plates came to be:

The show was in part inspired by something that my friend, the illustrator Tobie Giddio, said to me a long time ago.  She said that illustration is always a service, and what we do is service to someone’s vision, whether it be a designer or a writer, etc.  So, the plates are a perfect metaphor for ‘a serving.’ And also the title Fashion Plates was too good to pass up.  So I drew on paper plates.  I also like taking something really overlooked and disregarded and turning it into art, in a pop kind of way, or inspired by the readymades of Marcel Duchamp.  I also use file folders.

Jeffrey has won numerous awards including a Grammy for his work with Ella Fitzgerald. He has worked with fashion designers Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs, and singer Tori Amos, among others.  Below he answers some questions about his work:

A wall of Fulvimari work

How did you get started as an artist?

I started coloring like everyone else when I was two years old, and just never stopped. I basically get paid to “color”.

Tell us a little about your genre. Are there lots of artists who do what you do? Where are they concentrated? What makes your work stand out from the rest?

I’m basically a commercial artist. When I started I drew many different things, but my drawings of girls became popular and became the most in demand subject that I drew.  It’s not like I am even really particularly interested in fashion or “girly” things, it’s just that illustration in the market place has the most applications with a female customer than with a male customer.  Women respond better to illustration than men do.  A woman is more likely to warm up to a product that has cartoon representations of women around it than a man is to the similar usage of a cartoon of a man.

How would you describe your style?

Girl in Yellow

I was influenced by the artists Ben Shahn the most, and Andy Warhol’s early illustration style, but he was also influenced by Ben Shahn. I actually became obsessed with Ben Shahn’s work in high school, well before I even knew that Andy Warhol had been an illustrator. This is my line style.  I also try to draw things that are uplifting and happy.  But I try to make it not boring. Hopefully I succeed most of the time.

How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work?

I have always used Sharpies since high school.  They are just the most solid ink pens around. The ink does not smear and it’s permanent.  The classic Sharpie pen also has the sturdiest pen nib with the best shape.

What seems to get the most attention or is most coveted by others? Why do you think people are drawn to your work?

I think people like my work because it doesn’t really “talk down” to them.  I have really attempted to create a style that technically is not intimidating, or seems hard to do, because I am trying to speak to young people out there who are talented in drawing or painting and have the entire world telling them to give it up because “they will never make any money at it”.  I am trying to show these kids that illustration and drawing are a very viable way to make a living. I grew up working class and had a lot of discouragement, even though I was a bit of a prodigy with drawing.

Girl in Green

I draw with pen and ink, and then scan it in and do finishing work in Photoshop.  Sometimes it takes a few minutes and sometimes it takes weeks. It depends on my state of mind at the time, how much of a workload I have, or how long my deadline is.  Or how complicated the drawing is.

What are your inspirations?

I love artists like Dr. Seuss and Charles Shultz. Keith Haring is pretty cool too, and Jean Michel Basquiat.

What statement are you trying to make, if any? What do you want people take from your art?

What I said about showing young people that creativity is a viable way to make a living in this world.

Sharpie’s tagline is “Write Out Loud!” Does this apply to your work and if so, how?

Well, drawing involves a certain amount of confidence. You have to make your mark with skill and ease….so in a way this is like a proclamation.

Fulvimari and friends at grand opening

Fulvimari fans

Serving up some Sharpie art

Plate full of Fulvimari

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Radio 4 Sings Sharpie-Beckham Backup

Radio 4, a hot pop band out of NYC, gets a big Beckham break with “Give It To Me,” the cool new remix heard in the Sharpie TV commercial featuring David Beckham that aired earlier this year.

Sharpie has a two-year partnership with the soccer superstar that includes TV and print ads, in-store promotions, personal appearances and more.  In fact, go to sharpie.com right now and you can enter to win a chance to meet David Beckham in person.

Sharpie brand managers love the song and it’s been getting plenty of playtime at Sharpie’s Oak Brook, Illinois headquarters.

How about a Sharpie-Radio 4 concert in Central Park?   Give it to me, I want it!!

Read on for more about the band…

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