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What Happens When A Sharpie Lands in the Hands of Scott Davies?

Scott blew us away with his stunning Sharpie mural and we knew we wanted to chat further with this brilliant Brit. We also know you do too..

Just a fraction of what Scott created with only FIVE markers

Introducing Scott Davies:  

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

Well where do I start! I’m a 17-year-old fine art and graphic design student, studying at Wyke Sixth Form College in Kingston upon Hull, England. Since I was very young I’d always been the ‘kid who did art’ my Dad is a painter and my Mother is a wizard with textiles. The artistic/ creative lives my parents live have definitely been influential on my interests and aspirations, and after maturing, art has become the driving force in how I go about living my life. As a school kid I’d spend countless maths lessons just doodling away, anything that didn’t interest me or I didn’t believe in I’d ignore and I’d just be doing my own thing in my own world, blasting a ballpoint pen with a chewed end or something. I’d often get in trouble, but I didn’t care because I knew what I wanted to do and that there was a place for me to make a contribution to the world if I worked hard enough.  Since then I’ve never stopped creating. I’m always drawing something and I feel certain that I want to study an arts-based-course at university (whether that be illustration or fine art) and to then attempt to make a freelance career out of art and illustration.

Wyke College

Off the topic of arts, I love the outdoors; hikes and such. I’d also like to make sure I do plenty of travelling; it’s humbling and inspiring. I need to see the world, and to make a little art along the way of course. [I am] very interested in music, too and it’s my main form of entertainment and I can’t seem to draw the same without tuning in, everything from Four Tet to Sigur Rós, if it matters. And if there’s anything I dislike, its people who just give up on art or show great skills but don’t believe it’s possible for them to make a career out of it, it fills me with pity. I just find it such a shame when people don’t have enough enthusiasm to just give something a shot regardless of what may get in the way. All art is beautiful in its own right and there will always be an audience for something.

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?
Things I see every day, personal experience which influences me to make work with relevance to society as it is today. I often find inspiration at the strangest of times so it’s always good to get things onto paper as they appear in your mind. I’m someone that’s probably blessed with a constantly imaginative and active mind which is great when it comes to having something to work from, however it does have its traits such as stressing yourself out over the littlest things and excessively over thinking yadda yadda.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

Sharpie is a very iconic company, and I’ve been exposed to the products because of that. When I was little I used to draw on toy cars with them. But apart from my mural, ‘A warning’ I hadn’t used them in a piece of art before. Because I was aware that the pens would write on almost every surface I knew I needed some Sharpie markers to create an 8-and-a-half-foot illustrative drawing. A lot of my work is created with fine refillable pens and mechanical pencil when working [on a] small scale for the intricacy, so it seemed if I was working scale up I needed a broader tip that would have all the impact that comes with black ink (Sharpie fine point), but that would still be able to give me a delicate and highly detailed outcome. And they worked a treat!

Scott's pencil and pen work

Tell us how you got started with Sharpie?  
I had a voucher and I headed to my nearest stationary supplier and picked up three Sharpie Fine Point markers (these covered much of the whole mural) and I started on the board!

You created a HUGE mural using Sharpie, tell us what inspired you to take on a project of such magnum proportions! 

My art teacher Jon was aware I wanted to work on a large scale to create a drawing like my small scaled refined drawings, he was given the old photo board of students in 2011/ 12 which he then revealed to me, it left me in shock and perhaps fear. It’s around 8 and a half ft long and a good 3 ft tall, a massive blank canvas made of smooth plastic and I was going to be making a final piece out of it. I knew internally what I wanted to create, something that was an insight as that what I believe will become of the future of society as people become more media driven, brainwashed and subconsciously under control in a situation where there would be no such thing as freedom. The mural itself is titled ‘A warning’ because that’s its intentions.

In progress...

I didn’t make a single compositional plan for the mural, lots of people told me it was the wrong way to go about doing it and they seemed concerned that I would have problems down the line, but I carried on regardless just crossing my toes (hands too busy) that it would all just come together nicely. It started with a little pencil outline of a burnt out car and developed into a huge miserable inky dreamscape.

Still going...

It took a total for 5 Sharpie Fine markers with the assistance of a water based felt tipped grey pen for mid tones, which I’d smudge around the Sharpie lines (Sharpie ink unaffected). The Sharpie markers lasted for a very surprising amount of time; each one went a long way. Even pens that had run out I was using for grey tones. The pens never blued out, they stayed black, they were precise, stayed fine for as long as I needed them to be fine and they dried so quickly.

Almost there...

They allowed me to create the result of ‘A Warning’ I highly recommend them for anybody attempting to take on something of similar scale/surface. It took a total of 11 weeks to complete and 5 Sharpie markers (fine point) I’m unsure of hours and I neglected the board for a month to work on other things.
Favorite (or should I say favourite?) Sharpie?  Why?
Well so far I’ve only used the classic fine point Sharpie markers but I’ve only recently discovered that Ultra fine point markers actually exist, they’d be a joy to use amongst larger pens!

How would you describe your style?
I’d say something like contemporary illustration, traditional methods. Illustration for me is the bridge between graphic design and fine art; somewhere that seems appropriate for me to rest. I’m definitely a drawer but I would like to master it along with painting. Painting seems like another planet I’m yet to explore, and I’ve barely seen enough of drawing.

How do you decide what you want to tackle next, slash can you tell us what’s next for you!?

With me being a college student it’s all about university prep and I have to prioritize that work over everything else, my topic for my exam unit is ‘Body Language’ so expect some other large board filled based around that topic (potentially with the assistance of Sharpie ultra fine point) I’m currently working on my illustrative coursework final piece for graphics made with pencil, some progress images currently on my page. I’m also filling pages with sketches each day which I occasionally post on my little art page.

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

Hm, well I did once see someone answer a question like this with ‘The ability to shoot three cotton balls out of your hands every ten days’ I thought that was nice and quirky. But in all seriousness I’d love to be able to pick up any instrument and know the techniques so I could create some weird one man loop machined orchestra, people would so see that.

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

It’s definitely Rupert Murdoch, to give him a good slap with the mackerel I’d order.

Scott is QUITE the jack-of-all trades

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen is Scott Davies! I hope you all read that interview in a British accent, ( No? just me?) and were as blown away with Scott’s work as we were!

Have another question for Scott? Comment and ask away!

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Daniel Roberts is out of this world

We love Facebook, beyond the unlimited stalking opportunities it allows,  it ALSO introduces us to amazing, out-of-this-world artists like Daniel Roberts!

We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Daniel about his work and his unique Sharpie style. .

Check it.

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

First and foremost, hello, my name is Daniel Roberts from Las Cruces, but currently I’m now living in Albuquerque, NM. I am turning 22 in April, I obtained my associates degree in Business Management. I have completed/sold well over 50+ canvases as well as I’ve created custom art for a select few. I have participated in approximately 5 local art shows including two in downtown El Paso, TX. I have developed my portfolio over the past 8 years.  More than money, I want people to simply see my art and view it as they may. Enjoy it. Every single one of my canvases I have created is made 100% Sharpie products. People always ask me why I create my Sharpie Art, I tell them “because when I actually start creating with a blank canvas and my Sharpie markers, I forget about the rest of the world, forget about my problems and insecurities, about failures and an uncertain future, about everything, I lose myself in each canvas…”  Each one of them tells my story; you just have to use your own imagination to bring them to life. My work is unique, original, and overall expressive. My ideas, imagination, and creations become alive through Sharpie markers. ENJOY!!

2. What inspires you to uncap what’s inside? How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

My inspirations and signature art twists, come from different parts of me which are influenced by the different beautiful images of life that surround me. A select few icons that are my muses include Alexander McQueen, Marco Mazzoni, Alex Pardee, High Fructose & GQ Magazines, Brandt Peters as well as other inspirational artists. Music has also been a huge part of my inspirations.

Each and every one of my canvases are made with 100% Sharpie markers. As a final touch and when I decide I’m finished with a final piece, I like to spray paint the boarders with black spray paint to create a perfect fitted frame. This also helps contrast perfectly against the vibrant Sharpie colors on the canvases.  I’m always keeping imagination, creativity and the arts alive!! These are only a few things what inspires me to uncap what’s inside!!

3. You create some amazing blended looks with the marker ink, any tips on how to achieve this?

I ALWAYS get asked how I am able to manipulate the Sharpie Ink into such a smooth coating. I would love the share my secrets with the world, but that is something I’m also very proud of. I enjoy knowing that it is such a mystery, kind of like chefs “top secret recipes.” I like having a unique medium that I truly enjoy creating with. This gives my art an interesting edge, as well as brilliant colors. My personal tip, black Sharpie markers are the key to bringing all of my major and minor details a life.

4. Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

By far, my favorite Sharpie markers are the original Fine Point Sharpie. I love the outstanding variety of colors. I have different art supply boxes and bags FULL of black and colored Fine Point, Retractable Sharpie markers, Twin Tip, and of course the Chisel Tip. I use nothing else but 100% Sharpie for my pieces! I recently fell in love with the black Sharpie King Size marker; this truly helps me with a lot of my major detailing, considering my bigger sized canvases.

5. How would you describe your style of art? 

I would describe it as Nontraditional–Urban. New Age. Unique Art. I create and design beautiful images, but there is a darker, sicker twist to each piece. I create things that don’t exist, but I really wish they did. I like to incorporate elegance and beauty with a touch of obscenity and vulgarity. When I start to create a canvas, I like to find ways where imagination and creativity can be explored with images never seen.  [D.R.]

6. Your work is pretty whimsical and other-worldly, how did you get started?

All of my life I have found that different art comes from different minds. I remember creating my first few art pieces throughout school with acrylic, pastel, oils, and other art supplies, but I never found my true medium that inspired me to explore further. I was 13 when I started creating with my Sharpie markers. I was leaving my mark with Sharpie everywhere; it was around 14 when I discovered my ability to manipulate the Sharpie ink. That’s when my entire world and visions of art changed. I truthfully started to appreciate the colors and details in each piece. I already loved creating with my little monsters, box-headed figures and strange images, but my “Top Secret Art Recipe” was what brought each character to life and pushed me further to explore my limits as an artist.

7. What projects are you working on currently or can you tell us what you ARE working on next?

Currently, I am working as a barista for Satellite Café in Albuquerque, NM. I’ve been selected to participate in creating the marketing flyer for “Live in the Living Room”, which is different events that are featuring local artists, actors, and musicians that come to perform for in our café. I also have been searching for different art galleries in New Mexico and around the country to try and participate in a show or even just get help in pointing me in the right direction for my kind of art. And always, I’m continuously working on different canvases around my house, which accumulate all of my wall space!! My Sharpie Art is my passion, my inspiration is everywhere!

8. Do you have a soft spot for one of your pieces in particular?

Well, of course I have my favorites, but each canvas contains an emotion of me. My heart, mind, body and soul go into each piece, my life and experiences (good and bad) are what influence my art. There are both happy and very detrimental pieces in my art collection. The titles of each canvas can also usually say a lot, but overall, your imagination is what really shows me as an artist I am telling you a story. I want people to view my art and focus on something nontraditional and let their minds explore.

Want to more? Check out all of Daniel’s work by becoming a fan of his on Facebook and checking out his website!

Want to OWN one of these other worldly peices? Shoot him a note at bleepy00012@yahoo.com

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The Gilded Age of Sharpie

Sharpie is coming into its Gilded Age and illustrator Eric Rosner is leading the way. Eric has been an artist for more than 20 glorious years using Sharpie to shine the light on stunning Manhattan during its iconic period, its golden era, its gilded age. And we are more than a little impressed with what he can do with a Sharpie!

We had a little chat with Eric about his work, his favorite marker (spoiler alert: it’s a Sharpie!) and some of his most famous fans!

Eric Rosner

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

Hello, my name is Eric Rosner.  I am a New York artist specializing in illustrating the Gilded Age of New York.  I love to illustrate the old world of 1880-1910 Manhattan.  It was such an exciting period of science and discovery, progressive thinking, growth, epic architectural construction and unique forms of new entertainment.

I was born in Brooklyn and  grew up in Las Vegas.  I came back to NYC after college and have worked as a Director of Animation (2d/3d) at MTV, Nickelodeon and TVLAND for 23 years.

I love to explore the city looking for forgotten treasures…small relics from the glorious past of Manhattan.

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?

I  think that there are personal stories to tell about the old history of New York. I’m mostly interested in exploring the everyday tales of people from every corner of the world and from every profession who had come to New York to live a dream. I like to illustrate those moments in my art.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work? 

I love my Sharpie!  I have tried using other brands but the road always turns back to Sharpie.  I think the ink lasts the longest and the feel is just perfect for me.

I search for reference photos of a 1880-1910 NYC structure or a scene that I want to illustrate.  A brand new Sharpie is just a perfect, constant line that is a deep black color. And then the magic just happens, simple as that.

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

Ultra Fine Point!!!  It’s just the perfect line for me.  I can get the details that I desire and perfect the style that I have been working on.

How would you describe your style? 

Hmm… not sure.  People say it’s very unique in its ornateness yet modern feel. To me it’s just my way of expressing motion and flow.  I try to bring power and emotion to a NYC building.  It’s a strong structure of might and an icon of what New York was, is and will be.  I want to express a sense of purpose in the buildings that I illustrate. These are architectural wonders that have stood for decades and housed people and ideas that changed the world.

How did you get started? 

I’ve always loved to illustrate since early age.  Although I’ve never thought anything special about it until during college. I just wasn’t loving my business classes and escaping into illustration was much more pleasurable and creatively fulfilling. When I moved to NYC I got my job at MTV, a new era of pop art was emerging.  I wanted to make a mark in New York.  I wanted to contribute in a way that the great artists of the city before me did.  So I started a series called “FREAK CITY”, which is a collection of faces from average New Yorkers who had strange and bizarre stories. I illustrated the faces and added various backgrounds which happened to included some of the glorious Gilded Age buildings.  It turned out that people seemed to be drawn to the building backgrounds so much that I’d concentrated on illustrating only the buildings. Then I just keep practicing my drawing skills literally every day.

You have come across some pretty famous fans of your work, do you have a favorite fan moment, famous or otherwise?  

Having Alec Baldwin as a fan and attending one of my shows was a true amazing moment this year.  I have also received wonderful feedbacks from friends and people who have become my fans.  I wouldn’t have continued doing this if not for such incredible outpouring of praise and support.

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

I constantly search for inspiring images, buildings, people, vehicles…iconic and epic. When I find something that really strikes me, I draw it doing my best to give it a sense of grandeur and respect that it deserves.  We tend to glorify the future  and sometimes forget the past but it is where we all come from.

My next projects are going to be concentrating on Science and Space.  I want to create art that inspires people about the positive future that we all can have and achieve.  During the 40′s and 50′s magazines would predict great wonders that awaited us all and these images pushed the imagination.  I would like to contribute to the wonders of imagination and thought and help push the next generation even further.

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

One of my favorite illustrations is OLD NEW YORK BLOCK.  This was one of my very first successful art works created in the beginning of my obsession with the Gilded Age. It all started as I happened to venture down Broadway, between 33rd to 23rd streets.  I saw this incredible building on the corner, a relic from another time. And as I stood in awe of this 100+ years old structure, I was imagining all the people who must have occupied it , the throngs of ordinary and famous people who strolled up and down Broadway back in the day.  Mark Twain stayed at the Gilsey House on 29th st.  Edison experimented in his Nickelodeon stores just down the street. Tesla, who lived only a block away. Houdini, Oscar Wilde, Lucile Ball, Bob Hope, Winsor McCay and a list of endless people who walked up and down this street  passing this building.  And here I was looking at that very same building that I decided then and there to illustrate.  It really blew me away.  I LOVE New York City and I want to convey it in my art. I felt that the day I saw that building was the beginning of my journey to achieve that goal.

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

Hmm… I love quantum mechanics…I would be have the power to explore the universe and all its mysteries.

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

Steve Jobs!  Mister Can-Do-Anything.  I love his saying “The journey is the reward”. I admire his respect of design and simple elegance, the mantra of “Great” over “Good enough”.  He is my hero. He was a glorious visionary.

YES! Movie day!! Check out Eric’s animations and short films on YouTube!

Eric’s animations

http://youtu.be/xxwm_DAnyCA

Also here are some links to some of my short films that I have animated.

http://youtu.be/yROhlgLWLME

http://youtu.be/MgEBOVnuGEw

http://youtu.be/86uM9JSgz8M

http://youtu.be/ymdfr5saN5Y

http://youtu.be/Wt7GR7cqais

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James Victore: The Simplicity of Being a Genius

Every once in a while we get a little star struck; especially when it comes with discovering a certain creative genius is a fan of us, little ole’ Sharpie! James Victore is just that creative genius. The renowned American art director, designer, and author turned us into screaming fan-girls around here when his team reached out to let us know of James’ Sharpie love. I mean the guy has published a book, held his own awe-inspiring conference, oh, and has had his work exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art. NBD.

We (and by “we,” I obviously mean “me”) stand by our fan-girl status. We also proudly own the possibly embarrassing display that occurred when he asked if he could contribute a guest blog post. I will just leave it at “excessive”. What? He’s awesome.

But enough gushing from me, let the mustached man inspire you to Start with Sharpie for himself and find out what’s next on the horizon for this celebrated genius.

The 'stache. Gets me every time.

There is power in even the simplest of tools…

Graphic Design is an intellectual field, we spread ideas, the images are just the teaspoon of sugar– or vitriol– that we use to cloak the message. I find it satisfying to illuminate ideas using simple tools. In every thing I make, I want to entertain, educate, and enlighten with the simple twist of the cliché—images that are deceptively simple.

Why Sharpie?

My weapons of choice have always been a Sharpie and a pair of scissors. There is something so honest about ink on paper. Black and white is truth. For me, there is no quicker way to get thoughts on paper—the pen is my freedom. Even today, a Sharpie and an opinion is worth more and stronger than the shrewdest marketing strategy.

I’ve used Sharpie pens in work for all my clients; Esquire Magazine, Aveda, Moet Chandon, Bobbie Brown, the City of New York, The New York Times and Time Magazine. Most of my work hanging in the MoMA was made with Sharpies. (SEE! Let’s see you try to not drop your jaw)

Moet

I begin every job by sketching. Just putting thoughts on paper– trying not to judge or evaluate too soon– just rough first drafts. Later I refine these, but too well. I rarely use the computer to clean up or alter hand-made marks. I try to leave all the fingerprints. Today’s reliance on technology makes the human mark even more impactful and memorable.

What’s Next?

“Take This Job & Love It”. Was a day-long symposium here in New York on September 29th. I spent the day discussing creativity—and how you to reclaim it in your own life. A big part of that is showing you how to lose your hang-ups, the things that stifle your creativity and to start thinking about the things you create as a “gift”. By believing your work is a “gift” it radically changes what you create. I think this is a revolutionary idea. it’s no longer about client approval or a paycheck, but aspiring to make work that has meaning and purpose in your life and for your audience.

The next big design project here in my studio is a poster series called “New York I Love You, But…” We will be designing a series of faux motivational posters to hang throughout NYC—simple reminders of core values and philosophy like personal responsibility, etiquette, and discipline—not preachy, just honest.

One of these posters uses the 1960′s classic icon “Hang In There Kitty” as a starting point. Our poster will say “Let Go Kitty” meaning let go of fixed thinking, of the status quo forget all the preconceived notions of what life is supposed to be like. Look for it on Kickstarter this fall.

James Victore…

in the MoMA

http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=35811

Website

http://www.jamesvictore.com/

Take This Job & Love It

http://www.jamesvictore.com/takethisjob

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Brittany Lane is Leaving Her Mark

Brittany Lane

Brittany Lane is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who calls Nashville home and is a self-proclaimed Sharpie fanatic! This 22-year-old blonde bombshell has been working on leaving her mark on the country music capital and uses Sharpie to help her do just that, including writing a song inspired by her favorite marker!

Get to know Brittany Lane and be sure to check out the song that started it all!

Tell me about yourself!

Fun Facts:

  • I was born in a small town in upstate NY, but spent most of my life in Canada.
  • ‘Lane’ is my middle name.
  • Oreo cookies are my weakness.
  • I’m addicted to Starbucks.
  • Rain and I don’t get along.
  • Fall is my favorite season.
  • I love to laugh.
  • I love to travel.
  • I thought as a kid that if music didn’t work out I would become a spy.
  • 111 is my lucky number.
  • I wish I could dance.
  • My biggest fear is of the smallest things: SPIDERS and anything creepy-crawly.
  • Biggest pet peeve: When you are in the middle of a conversation with someone and they have there phone out texting!
  • I learned to play guitar from a $6 Wal-Mart poster.

Want to know more… 

Brittany Lane is the name, and music is not just what I do, it’s who I am. I’m 22 years old and currently chasing the dream in Nashville, TN. I’ve been singing and writing music since I could talk. I remember always being so sure that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I don’t know if anyone ever thought it would stick, but here we are.

Never thought in a million years I would end up in Nashville, the Country music capital, while I was chasing a career in pop music. There was something about it that just felt like home. Now, here we are two years later; I’m still here and loving every minute.

I moved here not really sure what to expect, but the more I wrote, the more shows I played, and the more people I met, things started to move. In fall 2010, two people close to me decided to back my vision and invested in the recording of my first EP ever to be released. The project was titled “Leave Your Mark” after a Sharpie inspired song I co-wrote with my producers Nathan Walter and Blake Easter.

For the first time I found MY sound in music. Everything about that record screams Brittany Lane. It’s fun, energetic, honest and relatable.

What inspires you to uncap what’s inside?

People. People are what it’s all about! The thought that I can use my biggest passion in life to “leave my mark” on someone’s life is what inspires me to uncap what’s inside. I want to impact people and music has been a great outlet for that. When I write a song, it’s taken straight out of my life – it’s my way of getting vulnerable and letting people in to my experiences.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

Where don’t I?!

I would be so lost with out my Sharpie, haha.

I use Sharpie markers for everything! Whether it’s color-coding my dayplanner, writing my lyrics and set lists out for shows, signing autographs, doodling during a writer’s session etc. I never leave home without at least one!

How did Sharpie inspire your song “Leave Your Mark”?

Sharpie is known world-wide not only for their product, but for the practical ways they serve people and what they can inspire people to start. One of the things that stood out to me most was how they impact people’s lives tangibly. I think Sharpie understands that it’s in the simplest ways that you leave the biggest mark. I want my life to be like that.

Favorite Sharpie? Why?

I would have to say the retractable fine point Sharpie because it’s the one I use to do my most favorite thing: sign autographs for my fans. It not only writes the best on CD’s and posters, it doesn’t smudge, and because it’s a push pen, it allows me to focus on my time with them instead of trying to keep track of the lid!

How would you describe your style?

Fun, energetic, positive, relatable! I always describe it as “road trip music,” the kind of music that you put in at the start of a roadtrip, windows down, singing at the top of your lungs. I love writing anything that will put a smile on your face.

How did you get started?

My mom says I was singing before I could talk and made up songs all the time. I do remember that we had this blue rocking chair I used to sit in all the time with my Sharpie and a sheet of blank paper and write out songs about anything and everything.

You have recently moved from Canada to Nashville, has the change in scenery (or all that southern charm) affected your music or writing?

I think the move made me realize how lucky I am that I get to live my dream out. I would say it hasn’t affected my music or writing as much as the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built here have. Nashville helped me find who I wanted to be as an artist and living in a city full of incredible talent constantly inspires me to be the best I can be.

How do you decide what to tackle next/what are you working on?

Currently I am co-writing with other artists to sharpen my writing skills, performing three or four times a week, working on connecting and building relationships with my fans, and utilizing all of my social media to give easy access to my music for my fans.

Music is something that is always changing and evolving so I try and pay attention to what my fans want. They kind of dictate what I’m going to tackle next.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your songs?

All my songs are taken directly from my life and the people closest to me, but I would have to say “Kiss You in the Rain (Kyle’s Song)” off the “Leave Your Mark” record is the one I have a soft spot for. It’s super personal and tells the story exactly how it happened.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

To fly, hands down. I couldn’t tell you why other than it would just be awesome! I think it’s because I grew up watching Superman and SO badly wanted to be Lois Lane. I think the fairytale side of me hoped that her love for Superman would give her the superpower to fly someday.

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

If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, I would say my biological father. I think every girl grows up with a desire deep down to be the apple of her daddy’s eye, his little princess. Although I was so blessed with a loving mom and step dad, there has always been that question deep down, why did he leave? More than that though I think what I really want is the chance to tell him: I forgive you.

Check out more of Brittany’s songs and catch up with her on her social sites!

Website: www.brittanylanemusic.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/brittlanemusic
Facebook: www.facebook.com/brittanylanemusic
Reverbnation:www.reverbnation.com/brittanylane
YouTube: www.youtube.com/brittanylanemusic
Sound Cloud: www.soundcloud.com/brittanylane

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California Wives Start With Sharpie

You’ve seen the music video, made the Mashup and crooned along with the music, NOW its time to spend a little QT with the four gents behind the Sharpie Music Video!

Introducing Joe, Jayson, Dan and Graham, also known as California Wives, the men behind the music!

From left to right- Graham, Joe, Jayson and Dan

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

Three of us grew up in the suburbs around Chicago. Dan and I actually went to rival high schools, but we got over it. Graham moved to Chicago a few years ago, but he grew up in Florida.   We all like Science Fiction and are proud fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Judge us if you must, but Captain Picard is one our heroes. Not too many pet peeves, but Graham cannot stand ketchup, or catsup for that matter.

Being Chicago natives, where did the name California Wives come from? ( Feel free to start with … “It came to me in a dream after a Real Housewives marathon”—we’d get it. We’ve had the same dream…)

California Wives as actually just something one of us said once. It was winter and it was super cold in Chicago and we happened to start making music that sounded sunnier. When we realized it, we all thought, “didn’t somebody say something about ‘California wives’ the other day?

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?

That moment when you start bobbing your head while playing a song, or beat, or melody. That inspires us to keep going. Once you’ve got a song that you really like to play, you want to write more.

Tell us how you got started with Sharpie! 

We used to burn a lot of CDs of demos that we made. We’d mark each one a Sharpie marker so we could tell them apart. There are piles of CD-Rs with odd song names on them hanging around someplace. If you run across some, let us know, they might be ours.

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

The 80′s Glam kind, for obvious reasons.

How would you describe your style? 

My mom describes us all as, “in need of a haircut.” I respectfully disagree.

Color really seemed to impact your upcoming album, Art History, what is about color that influences your writing?

Colors are something that are easy to associate with moods. You can use them to allude to a feeling without necessarily having to name it. I think that’s why they appear in so many of our songs.

(HEY Sharpie fans- don’t forget to download this AWESOME album on iTunes!) 

You crazy kids are about to head out on tour (with a full supply of Sharpie markers on hand!) What or where are you most pumped for?

Getting to see Stars and Diamond Rings live every night is pretty exciting. Besides that, it will pretty cool to drive through the Southwestern United States. Speaking of colors…

Do you have a soft spot for one of your songs in particular? (I know we do! Hint hint, Sharpie fans, check out “Purple,” which debuted in our first ever music video!)

Light Year. It was the last to come together, so it’s the newest to us. It’s like the band puppy.

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

I [Joe] would never get tired or have to sleep so that the band would not have to deal with my snoring. It would also be nice to not have objects thrown at me if I pass out in the back of the van. Seriously, though, if I didn’t have to sleep, I would have an extra third of my life to do stuff.

Jay would have an infinity stomach. He’s a pretty skinny guy so it would be funny to see him wipe the floor with some competitive eaters. They’d just stare at him and think, “where does it all go?”

Dan would be able to read 7 books at the same time. That way he might have time for a few other hobbies. Really, it only seems like’s he’s always reading because we spend so much time in the van.

Graham would be able to talk with dogs. He does all the time, anyways. It’s just usually a very one-sided conversation. I’m sure he’d like to know what the dogs think of what he’s saying.

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

Ray Kurzweil seems to know a lot about what’s going to happen in the future. I wouldn’t mind having him drop some knowledge on me.

Dont you just feel closer to the coast already? Wanna check these guys out live?! Well you’re in luck they are heading out on tour with Stars and Diamond Rings

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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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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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Gettin’ to the Good Stuff with Timothy Goodman

We love making friends, and friends of friends are our favorite… and that’s exactly how we came to chat with Timothy Goodman, New York City heart breaker and graphic designer. After interviewing his friend and fellow designer, Dan Cassaro, we got a little love letter, or rather a love marathon, from Mr. Goodman and decided that anyone with this much Sharpie love deserved to be more than just our valentine.

The heart breaker, in the flesh... or at least in black and white.

Lock up your hearts ladies, he already stole ours and we cant be held responsible for your newest raging crush.  

Let’s get to the good stuff… 

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?

I jokingly like to call myself the “Kid from Cleveland.” In the 1930s, there was a group of teenage actors who were called the “Dead End Kids.” They were wisearse street kids who always wore newsboy hats, and usually had some dirt on their face. I was sort of a 1980s version of that. Growing up in Cleveland from a family a modest means, I learned how to be scrappy as a youngster. My friends and I were always up to no good: smoking cigs, playing street ball, stealing baseball cards, running from dogs, jumping neighbor’s fences, throwing eggs at cars. My sweet mother had her hands full! When I was a kid, I was proud to have bruises and scars on my body after playing outside. Having bruises and scars meant I was having fun.

What inspires you and your work?

I’ve watched Winnie-the-Pooh about 10 times in the last year. Christopher Robin says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” What an idea! I’m currently trying to be more naive with my work. Graphic design books and blogs will only get me so far. We should be inspired by other mediums, but more importantly, we should be in touch with an openness in life that has nothing to do with information, language, “success,” or dollars.

How would you describe your style? 


I work hard to get my voice and my humor in my work. As my old boss Brian Collins says, we’re not in the ‘kind of nice business.’ Meaning, we’re here to be provocative, to be memorable, and to tell great stories. Even though I’ve adopted a drawing style, if you look at my body of work you’ll see that I generally work in many mediums across branding, identity, and editorial. I have no interest in making work for solely aesthetic reasons. If we ask questions, and think like storytellers, then we can have a larger dialogue with our clients and ourselves.

You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, art director, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?

I used to paint homes, hang wallpaper and drywall for 4 1/2 years before going to design school in NYC. I was a horrible high school student and I needed time to figure out what I wanted. In the beginning, I was a laborer, hauling buckets of wallpaper glue up ladders for 12-15 hours a day. That taught me an unruly work ethic. Later, it showed me how fortunate I am to be doing what I love, and how lucky I am to do it in New York. I try not to take any of it for granted. The way I see it right now, being a designer is a duty, not a career choice.

How did you get started? 


Having mentors and constantly making things. My old creative director, John Fulbrook, hired me right out of school as a book jacket designer for Simon & Schuster. Soon after that, he left the publishing world to become a creative director in branding, and he took me with him. I will forever be indebted to him for helping my career blossom. I think it’s paramount to find someone that will help guide you, beyond design, in a way that teaches you more about life. I remind my students about this often. As for the illustration stuff, it came as a result of wanting to explore different things, and to get my name in the Times so I could impress girls. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?

Worked for us...


How did you come up with your Valentine’s Tweet-a-thon?


After leaving Apple (yes, THAT Apple) in October, I promised myself that I would make more time for personal projects. I started thinking about how much time I spend on Twitter, and how I don’t know most of the people I chat with. So I wondered how I could honor these virtual relationships? However, as many of us do, I beat myself up with doubt and fear: How could I possibly draw a valentine for every single one of my Twitter followers? Why would it matter? Who would care? Einstein famously said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” I tried convincing myself NOT to do it. Luckily, my good buddy Erik Marinovich encouraged me to follow through with it. In the end, it was extremely rewarding on many levels, and I was very touched to see how much it resonated with people.

One look, a flutter, and some eyelash batting/tweeting and we knew...

...this was a Sharpie match made in heaven.

You have been a part of some pretty incredible stuff; your work at Apple, the Ace Hotel, features in the New York Times, Wired and Time magazine, JUST to name a few, what accomplishment do you wish you could have unlimited bragging rights on about?


I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, and I feel fortunate to have so many inspiring and encouraging friends, mentors, and colleagues around me. Nothing is done without them. While I leave the bragging on the resume, I do pull out the Apple card a lot. They’re the most successful and innovative company in the world, everything they touch is a smash, the whole world watches them, and every client wants to be them. And besides the fact that my mother questions me at least once a week with that Are you sure you didn’t make the biggest mistake of your life by quitting? tone in her voice, I’m happy with my decision to quit and move back to NYC.

How did you come to contribute to the Art Director’s Club (ADC) bathroom ?


The wonderful people at the ADC asked four of us (Mikey Burton, Chris Rubino, Rich Tu, and myself) to create a mural in their ladies room. With only one Saturday to do it, we had to think fast and act quick—and luckily we came to an easy agreement on concept and execution. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like four dudes sweating in a bathroom all day! After some initial emails during the weeks before, we decided to shower the walls with compliments and an array of ‘lady etiquette.’ After all, shouldn’t all respectable ladies know that a beautiful dress can be ruined by wearing lumpy, baggy underwear?


(Funny story.. this is the same place that hosted the TED award ceremony for the Ads Worth Spreading, so  you may have seen a tweet or two from @Sharpie about this beauty–and that was BEFORE we knew Tim was the man behind the mirror err… bathroom! Some things are just meant to be)

 Any cool new projects you can tell us about?

I have a weird superstition when it comes to talking publicly about work that hasn’t happened yet. I will say that I have a great new rep/studio manager, and I’m very excited about the future.

Your designs have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?


Ideas are totally disposable and constantly in flux for me. I learned that while being in branding. Anything can spark an idea, and you better have at least 100 of them. However, some of my favorite ideas have come while I’m flying. Which is ironic, because I used to be horribly afraid to fly and I couldn’t step foot on an airplane for 3 years during college. I learned to overcome that fear, and I have flown over 25 times in the last year and a half. Now I absolutely love flying! I can’t wait to get in the air, put my headphones on, and get my sketchbook out.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?
My friend William Morrisey always says, “If you want to change your look, change your tool.” About 2 years ago I made a conscience effort to get my hand involved in my work more. I had the perfect opportunity to make that effort sing when I was asked to do a mural for the Ace Hotel. That project opened up an entirely different creative avenue for myself. A healthy amount of work I’m currently doing is hand-drawn, and it all stems from that project.

Where the magic happened... The ACE is what brought us all together!

The common thread between Tim, Dan and all this Sharpie love

 How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?
With immediacy and with mistakes! I’m a big NBA basketball fan. I love the New York Knicks, and I hate to miss a game. I like to drink a beer soda.. (right, Tim?) (note: mistakes), watch the Knicks, and draw draw draw.

 Favorite Sharpie?  Why?
The Sharpie paint markers! I love the way they spread, the way they adhere, the way they smell, the way you have to shake them to get the ink flowing. It’s a very sensual process, which is probably why I dig it so much.

 Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
It’s been six months since I left Apple, and I’m very excited about my newfound self-employment. My favorite part is the flexibility. I can take a 3 hour lunch; I can skip town whenever I want; I can choose my clients, or work on personal stuff anytime. Right now I’m on the path of the unknown, doing everything I should be doing.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I hate poverty, and I hate that so many kids have to grow up in poverty. There are over 16 million children living in poverty in the United States alone. I wish I could make poor kids live like rich kids and rich kids live like poor kids for one week.

 What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?
One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Mission Chinese, is coming to NYC!

Want to pick up some Chinese with Tim? Well, we can’t promise that (heck, we are still working on our own date), BUT you can follow him on Twitter- you may even get your own Valentine out of the deal!  Check out more of his amazing accomplishments by visiting his website, and trust us, there is A LOT more where this came from. 

And as always, share the love and leave a comment– we want to know what you think! 

 

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YoungJerks’ Dan Cassaro Shows Off His Sharpie Stuff

New Yorkers are just cool; especially when they can list designer, animator and illustrator on their resume, work from a camper while travelling across the country with their main squeeze and oh yeah, paint a mural in a New York hotel using none other than Sharpie Paint Markers. Oh, so maybe it’s not ALL New Yorkers (althoughhhhhh it is one sweet city) but Dan Cassaro is definitely one of the coolest guys I have had the chance to interview for this humble blog.

Keep on scrollin’ to see what Dan has to say about his life in the design world and his AWESOME Sharpie chart…( it may have been the best thing to happen to my week)

ENJOY!

Sharpie Artist Interview– Dan Cassaro

WHAT. A. STUD. Dan Cassaro, Sharpie world.

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?

I’m a designer, animator and illustrator living and working in Brooklyn. I live in the adorable Italian section of Williamsburg and I love it. The area seems to have acclimated to the gentrification more organically than other parts of Williamsburg. There are tons of great old butcher shops and old neighborhood mainstays that seem to exist pretty harmoniously with the new restaurants and bad art school haircuts. I grew up in Long Island and still have complicated feelings about the mall because of that. 

Instead of typing out a list of my likes/dislikes I decided to make a little chart for you (using a Sharpie, natch). 

 

 What inspires you and your work?

 Powerful rock and roll music, old train cars, Dads, the bric-a-brac section at the thrift store and various other ephemera. I think it’s important to try and pull from things that go deeper than a aesthetic level. Bruce Springsteen’s music is good because it sounds great and is fun to sing along to but there is something happening on a much more visceral level. I think it’s good to try to create work from that angle instead of just trying to make visually pleasing images. You don’t want to be making graphic design elevator music you know? 

How would you describe your style?

I don’t know, this is hard. As a designer I’d like to think that style is adapted and applied depending on the project. The illustrator part of me definitely has a common thread that runs through all my work though. I’ve been thinking that “clumsy modernism” is a pretty good way of explaining what I’d like to achieve with my work. I like the economy and boldness of modernism but all the pretentiousness surrounding it makes me want to barf a little. I want my work to be succinct but just “off” enough to give it charm and approachability. I spent a lot of time in college learning how to kern a headline and now I feel like maybe I’ll earned the right to intentionally UN-kern it. A little wonk goes a long way. 

 You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, animator, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?

 It’s a gift to be able to do this for a living. To be able to explore a bunch of different things and put them all under one roof. I’m kind of a poster child of a very non-committal ADD generation and it’s a real stroke of luck that I found a career that allows and often rewards that sort of eclecticism. Honestly, I am equal parts overachiever and lazy teenager. Doing something that I love for a living helps me bridge that gap I think and find a middle ground between the two. 

 How did you get started?

 I went to School of Visual Arts when I was a bit older (23) because as I mentioned before, I am a really non-committal person. I fell in love with design because it was so open ended. After school I started freelancing right away. I didn’t make a ton of “connections” at school (read: smooching your famous design teacher’s butt) but the Internet is the most democratic tool we have and I just tried to get a lot of my personal work out there. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of that personal work eventually turn into a paycheck. That sounds too romantic though. I have also taken tons of s****ty ( gotta keep it PG, here folks) soul-sucking jobs and made tons of things I am not proud of just to pay the bills. A little bit of both.

How did you come to contribute to the ACE Hotel’s (NYC) décor?

That place is so cool. I had worked on a project called 50 and 50 and had been talking to some people there about having an opening to showcase all the pieces. They invited me to work on a piece for one of the rooms because of that. It was a really fun project for me. I got to stay at the hotel for a couple of nights and draw all over their walls with Sharpie Oil based paint markers. They last time I got to draw on someones wall was at my friend Dan Volpe’s house when I was 16. That was mostly inappropriate reference drawings though. (sorry for the edits… This is a family establishment!)

 

 Any cool new projects you can tell us about?

This is a dream project but I really want to do it. I want to put on a classic rock laser light show. Like rent out the planetarium and serve beer and blast some Zeppelin while watching some amazing animated horses or something. Wouldn’t that be great? I think that there are a lot of outdated but brilliant art forms out their that are just waiting to be brought into a more modern context. These are the kind of projects that I dream about. 

 Your designs are have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?

 I try to stay open to things just happening. Too many people treat design like an assembly line and it makes for a lot of visually acceptable, but flaccid design. I’d like to treat it more like an adventure, more like fine art. I don’t stay too married to the sketches that I do (if I sketch at all) and that lets me discover new ways of working. I like having that moment when you discover that you can create something that you didn’t know you were capable of before and have it happen almost by accident. My end results often looks very different from my original intentions. That system isn’t really conducive to the standard system of client approvals but it’s a very exciting way to work. Adventure! 

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work? Favorite Sharpie? Why?

I do a lot of my pen work and doodling with Sharpe Fine Point. I usually like using cheap paper and letting the ink pool up in the edges and bleed a bit. It’s nice to take those drawings that show a human hand and bring them into the computer and add that dimension. Using pen on paper helps keep me tied to the physical which is something I never want to lose touch with. I used Sharpie paint markers for the mural at the Ace Hotel. It was all kind of fancy type work so I wanted to keep the line work loose and fun. I made sure to only use really wide tip pens for this to keep myself from getting too fussy. 

Mural for the Ace Hotel... I know where I WILL be staying...

 Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

The best part of my day job is that I don’t have one. It’s more of this amorphous work blob that floats around and gloms onto other parts of my life infiltrating weekends and late nights. I mean that in a really good way. I’m sure I end up working a lot more than 40 hours a week but there is nothing better than fitting your work life into your regular life and not the other way around. This summer I spent three months driving around the country in an old camper with my girlfriend and a laptop, seeing America and doing design work. It really got me excited about work in a totally new way; driving across the country is like being in the most amazing graphic design inspiration blog. I feel like I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to do my job in my basement or on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. 

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

To have a magic playlist that plays the right song all the time, even when you don’t know what the right song is. I am willing to accept that 90% of that playlist would be Heart’s “Crazy on You.”

 What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?

More pizza parties, true love triumphing over evil, and a renewed interest in Brenden Fraiser’s “earlier, funny films.” 

 Umm who doesnt love a solid pizza party!?! Aka count me in for Dan’s 2012 plans, FO SHO! And that, ladies and gentleman, concludes one of my favorite interviews to date; to check out more on Dan, his work and his sparkly personality- pop on over and check out his website and follow him on Twitter and tumblr!