The Sharpie Blog: Where we share the amazing stuff people do with Sharpie

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Cup ‘o Sharpie

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It’s Stephanie’s turn!  Stephanie Williams is a Sharpie INKtern and this is her first post on the Sharpie blog.  She just graduated from DePaul U but is heading back in the fall for her masters.  She runs track at DePaul and has set all sorts of records.   For the record, Stephanie is a rock star intern…read her rock star post… 

Meet… Cheeming Boey 

Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment.

Boey talks about his artwork in his Newport Beach apartment.

“ The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology.”

It’s a product we see every day. The styrofoam cup.  Parties, barbecues and picnics are all places we use them and then we just…throw them away. But not 31-year-old artist and animator, Cheeming Boey of Newport Beach, California; he creates art. Armed with a black Sharpie Pen, Boey draws images on cups that include intricate waves, birds and scenes of his life from Malaysia to Orange County.

Boey shows one side of a cup entitled, "Run Baby Run."

Boey shows one side of a cup entitled, "Run Baby Run."

 Q: Tell me a little about your business.

Boey: I draw on Styrofoam coffee cups. 

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

 Boey: I had no paper while I was craving to sketch one day outside a coffee shop, saw a cup on top of a trash can, took it and started drawing on the surface. I had forgotten how well ink flows on the Styrofoam surface. Its got a completely different feel from paper. Initially it was just with a ball point pen, I later moved to sharpie because I had some sharpies on my desk at work.

Equipped with his Sharpie.

Equipped with his Sharpie.

 Q: How are Sharpie markers incorporated?

 Boey: They are primarily what I use to draw on my cups now. I only use one fine point sharpie for all my line works. I know there’re several sizes, but part of the challenge I want to tackle is achieving different strokes with one pen.

 Q: What benefit do you think this offers and to who?

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of.

His "mistake" cups are the ones he drinks out of.

 Boey: People tend to think that drawings and paintings are always on canvases or paper.

I would like others to see that anything can be used as a canvas. You must have tried drawing with fries using ketchup, right? Why can’t that be serious art?

 It’s not what you draw on all the time; it’s the idea on it, or behind it. If the KFC recipe was sold on a napkin for a million bucks, I don’t think people are gonna say, “Nah, I don’t want it…it’s on a napkin.”

 The styrofoam cup itself represents the pop culture we live in, and in some ways, is the epitome of 21st century technology. Yet it is often overlooked, and when it ever brings attention, it stands for everything negative.

Showing his love for waves.

Showing his love for waves.

I believe there’s beauty in everything, including what we consider imperfect. I embrace the fact that it isn’t perfect. Sort of like the Wabi-Sabi movement in Japan.

 The fact that it is “cheap” and “disposable” makes it an unlikely subject for anything “special”. But it is that reason that I decided to draw on them. It also keeps one cup off the streets, if people are worried about Styrofoam waste.

 Q: Why are Sharpie markers a good fit for this? 

 Boey: Like how anything can be a canvas, I believe anything could be a tool as well.People are always surprised when I tell them I drew with a sharpie. A lot of them think it is liquid acrylics, or other fancy pens. “No, it’s with a sharpie.”The sharpie has a nice tip and it has a good consistent ink flow. It is also cheap. And cheap doesn’t mean bad.

 Q:  Tell us about some of your favorite designs.  Why do they resonate with you?

 Boey: I like the ones that are more personal, like a dining experience with a friend over sake and stories. I also like waves; hence a lot of my cups have a spaghetti-like, wave motif to it. One of my favorite Japanese artists who has influenced me heavily is Hokusai, and I think a lot about how he draws his waves when I draw mine.

 Q: What is the longest amount of time you have spent on one cup?

His cups sell for hundreds.

His cups sell for hundreds.

 Boey: 3 months. I don’t do initial drafts on the cups, so what you see is on the final product is the first pass. It takes forever to work on an elaborate piece because my next line could completely ruin the composition. Or I get nervous about drawing certain shapes. Or poses.

So sometimes I take hours to figure out the composition in my head, sometimes I don’t come back to it for months.

I have to also make sure the foam cups are absolutely lint/ hair free. They charge up easily and tiny hairs or lint can stick to it. And when the fine point on the sharpie catches one of these hairs, a thin line can suddenly become a broad stroke. Terrible.

More designs.

More designs.

Q:Do you think you’ll expand the idea to other items?

Boey: Sure. Anything is possible right?

Q: Anything else you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

 Boey:I could use some free sharpies. I go thru about 1 every 2 days.

 

 View more of Cheeming Boey’s art at: http://rectangletriangle.googlepages.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13895571@N04/3667583242/in/set-72157614580046629/

Contact Boey:rectangletriangle@gmail.com

 

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Designer For a Day

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Whit with Sharpies

It’s raining interns over here at Sharpie and today it’s Whitney Kelly’s turn to show off her blogging skills.   Whitney graduated from the University of Kansas and is FOR HIRE.  Here’s my “job wanted” poster for her:

Super fashiony friendly fast-working firecracker fiercely dedicated to finding whatever it is and getting it done without fanfare force of nature.

How can you refuse THAT@?@?@  Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Whitney…

 

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I’m sure you all have seen the commercial for TOMS Shoes, featuring an attractive young man (Blake, the Chief Shoe Giver) operating a successful business while giving back to deserving kids.  Well, ever since I saw that commercial, I wanted  to get me some TOMS!  Not only are these shoes pretty sweet, but for every pair sold, another pair is given to a child in need! Now, I don’t know about you, but with a program like that, I should just exclusively buy/wear these kicks!  OOH Wait, wait, wait..business casual is required at work…okay I’ll buy a couple other brands but outside of the office, TOMS it is!

Anyhoo, enough of me… A super cool event is coming up at the end of the month!  Zulu Creative, a Houston-based niche marketing and brand development agency, is celebrating their 3rd anniversary by teaming up with TOMS to host Style Your Sole, a TOMS shoe designing party!  The event will provide children in need with a new pair of shoes & give attendees the experience of being a shoe designer for a day!  Pretty Cool!!zulu2

twintwintiptipHow do you get an invite to this event?  WELL my Sharpie loving friends, not only do you have the option of adding “Shoe Designer” to your resume, it’s FREE, for all ages!  All you need to do is send a quick reply to RSVP@zulucreative.com. So GO!! Join the rest of the party goers at Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” design some FLY KICKS and be a part of a great cause!  The partaay will be held at Spacetaker’s Artist Resource Center (ARC) at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street in Houston, July 26, 2009, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

If that isn’t enough excitement for you, guess who else is going to be there!?!  No, not Brad & Angie, even better, SHARPIES!! TONS AND TONS OF SHARPIES! I’ve been working with Tina Zulu, founder of Zulu creative, and have placed an order for literally hundreds of Sharpies – Paint Pens, Twin-Tips, Fine Point, Medium Point… and in aalll sorts of colors!  I’m pretty psyched to see what everyone is going to design with the STELLAR assortment of Sharpies and some hot pairs of TOMS shoes!

For more info. on Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” TOMS shoes and Zulu Creative check out these sites:
 
Click here to read the full press release.  Or Check out the story in the July issue of Yellow Mag!

Get out there, Be Creative – Express your Individuality! <3

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Walldraw with Sharpie

sharpie-win-win-inkterns-026Sharpie INKtern (oh, such clever wordplay) Lauren Loro makes her debut today on the Sharpie blog with this great new way to use Sharpie markers - who needs wallpaper!?!?!?!? 

Lauren graduated from DePaul University and is ready for hire… wink wink… 

 

 Just recently I stumbled on this great idea from DIYideas.com – using Sharpie markers to create “wallpaper.”   I could not believe how awesome these drawings were!  And what a cheap way to decorate your room or even dorm room (easy enough to paint over when the school year ends).

The best part is you can customize it any way you want… ultra-modern, contemporary, art deco, or traditiomal. Heck, even if you dont want to cover the entire wall, make an accent wall with one of your creative Sharpie designs! And don’t just stick to one color Sharpie.  Be creative, spice it up with the variety of Sharpie colors and sizes.

And dont forget to send me pictures of your completed project! Or just Tweet me!

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 Tools + Materials

  • Sharpie
  • Level
  • Straightedge
  • Pencil

Here’s how, from DIY.com:

1. To create a wall motif similar to the design pictured here, start at the top of the wall. Practice your design on paper first! Draw the molding on the wall, using the level, straightedge, and pencil to lightly mark lines along the ceiling perimeter, then go over them with the marker. For a more formal look to this molding, we added what appear to be dentils (a series of small rectangular blocks), drawing only two sides instead of three and spacing them slightly apart.

2. Measure all the walls and determine a logical length for a repeat pattern, such as the swags near the ceiling. For instance, if one wall is 9 feet and another is 12 feet, they’ll both accommodate a repeat of 3 feet. Pencil lines to mark the beginning and end of each repeat or swag, then fill in with flourishes.

3. To make the “wallpaper,” create a grid using a level, straightedge, and pencil. Rather than drawing lines, mark points at equal intervals vertically and horizontally. Draw flowers at every other point in each row; stagger the designs in adjacent rows. There may be a little difference between each one, but that makes it more fun.

Be creative and UNCAP WHAT’S INSIDE!!

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Man in the Mirror

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Seems everyone has an opinion about the life and times of Michael Jackson, but there’s one thing we all seem to agree on:  his music, his dancing, his showmanship as a performer and entertainer were captivating and will long be remembered. One thing Michael didn’t lack for was fans and they turned out in droves yesterday at the Staples Center in L.A. I don’t know who was behind it but what an awesome idea to erect a giant billboard on which fans could express their condolenses and remember the King of Pop. Writing down thoughts and feelings can be an important part of grieving.  It’s also a way for fans to feel like their voices are heard and know that they do not mourn alone.

If I were the Jacksons, I would find comfort in strolling the length of the wall and reading through all the words of praise for their talented son, brother and father. Not like they don’t know, but I suspect there will never be enough words to illuminate the light that was Michael Jackson.  

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The words will come

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Sign of the wine

Steve and Kelley Styring and a barrel of their best wine
Steve and Kelley Styring and a barrel of their best

We met at a conference.  You know, one of those blah-blah-blah-here’s-my-business-card-let’s-connect-and-all-that-conferences. Kelley was presenting the results of a research project she had undertaken through her company Insight Farm to find out what Americans are hauling around in their cars (disclosure:  my car currently houses several bags for Goodwill that have been hogging up precious grocery space for over a month). I was part of a panel discussion on social media. Her presentation kicked butt. But here’s the best part (at least for someone who writes a blog about all things Sharpie):  Turns out car-cavorter Kelley Styring and her husband own a vineyard in Oregon where they make a special ”Signature” Pinot Noir, all bottles autographed by the winemaker himself with Sharpie. 

Several years ago Kelley and husband Steve along with their two kids ditched out and headed West to start their winery.  Sharpie came into play when Steve devised his “Signature” wine and added his one-of-a-kind trademark – an original autograph with every bottle.  Kelley put together this video – an ode to Sharpie - to show how they’ve automated the autograph process so Steve can get back to the important stuff, like grape stomping and spending time with the kids (not necessarily in that order): 

  

Here’s some insight on how Kelley and Steve made the leap to wine-making, along with a closer look at Kelley’s Sharpie doodle habits:

How did you and I meet?  It was something about dirty cars.
 
You and I met at Marketing 2 Women in Chicago when you presented.  I also presented In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile.  It’s my market research study on what we carry around in our cars, why we do that, and how innovators can help make driving easier, more pleasant and maybe even safer by designing products specifically for this mobile habitat.  (editor’s note:  see the USA Today coverage of Kelley’s cross-country car odyssey).  
 
Tell me about your husband’s wine business?  How did he get started?   What’s the story behind his passion for wine?

In 2002, we sold everything we own, quit our corporate jobs and moved our family to Oregon to start a family vineyard and winery. Our kids were 3 and 7.  We apprenticed for two years and opened the doors of our winery in 2005.  We live on the 40 acre farm where we have 10 acres of pinot noir and Riesling planted.  Steve makes award-winning wines and most of our wine is sold through our website and winery visitors.  We have always enjoyed wine and it has been an important part of our daily life, enjoying it each night with dinner.  We decided that it was time in our life to do something we loved to do every day and do it at home so that we didn’t have to choose between work and family life to be ‘balanced.”  We’ve integrated work and family so we never have to choose.  The wine business is perfect for us and we just love what we do.
 
styring-signature-label3How did he come up with the “Signature” label?

We noticed in restaurants that the big names in boutique wine were signing bottles that were displayed. Some customers started asking for Steve’s signature on the bottles. This inspired us to make a wine called Signature that we hand sign each label before it’s applied. For us, that’s about 1500 labels each year signed at the kitchen table. My dad built the jig you see in the video so that Steve could sort of automate the process just a little.

Are there any other wine manufacturers that actually autograph their bottles?

Winemakers will sign bottles when asked. They tend to be the smaller, boutique operations. At the larger wineries, you won’t meet the winemaker and the winemaker isn’t the owner, he’s a hired gun. Steve and I are 100% of the full time staff at Styring. We are it – we make the wine, we sell the wine, when you visit us, we pour for you.

Why Sharpie? Anything to do with the fact that it is the preferred marker of celebrities, athletes, public figures…and now, it appears, wine enthusiasts???

Sharpie really is the best product for the job. First, we use the silver Sharpie to sign bottles. There are specialized pens made for signing bottles, but they don’t work as well. They glop and they are slow to dry. We need something permanent, stylish, and quick drying. Sharpie does all of these things. For the labels, we also like Sharpie because it’s bold, dark, with crisp edges, so it looks professional and it also dries super fast so no smudges. That’s important because we can’t afford mistakes in the roll. There are 1000 labels on the roll and it goes through the labeling machine very quickly. If a label is wrong, it’s still going to be placed on a bottle and we have to hunt it down to find the defect. With Sharpie, this rarely happens. Unless Steve gets a hand cramp!

What kinds of wine does he make? What kinds of grapes does he grow and is it a vineyard like in that movie Sideways (or does he pick them up at the train station, pre-grown)? Do you participate in the stomping?

fermentationWe specialize in fine Pinot Noir, flavorful Rieslings, and dessert wines. We are launching our first Cabernet Savignon this year and a Syrah port next year. But Pinot Noir and Riesling are our wheelhouse. We do everything – grow, harvest, ferment, bottle and sell. We are fully vertically integrated. We do buy grapes but only from our neighbors where we know the farming practices. We are a sustainable, poison-free, dry farm. We think this is part of what makes our wines special – they reflect the region because there is limited human intervention. We harvest beautiful grapes and use natural processes as has been done in France for 1000 years. It sounds simple, but in this day and age of complex food science, it’s rare that a product is made in this way. We barrel for up to 18 months, then bottle and let the wine rest for up to a year before we sell it to you. It’s what we do to be proud enough to put our name on the brand and signature on the label.

Are you the official taster? What’s your role in this?

Wine making is a family affair for the Styrings

Wine making is a family affair for the Styrings

I have three roles in the winery: 1) shameless marketer for the man that I love; 2) assistant winemaker, which means I do a lot of dirty jobs; and 3) taster. We do everything by taste and make sure we agree before making decisions. This means varieties we grown, when to harvest, how long to barrel, when to bottle and when to release. We taste constantly – which is a truly terrible job! Hahaha! But seriously, we know every harvest, every barrel and each lot as it’s bottled. We live it – so when we sell it, we stand behind our work as a craftsman of something intimate to us.

Have you ever doodled using a Sharpie while sampling a glass of wine? The outcome?

Gosh, I doodle constantly, typically while on the phone. And, I often do have a glass of wine on my desk. I find myself tracing the outline of the base of the glass and moving it, so there is a series of circles. I frequently have to hunt down Sharpies because I like the multi colors and they steal them from my office! Funny. Because I first became a fan of Sharpie when I had my kids. Everything needs to be marked when they’re young: clothes, bottles, bottle bags, toys, and everything really. So, Sharpie is perfect. And, I really do hate to look for things, so I bought about a dozen Sharpies and just put them everywhere in the house, the cars, my purse, etc. When I needed to mark something, there was the Sharpie. So, when it came time to sign bottles, Sharpie was the obvious choice. I’ve had other winemakers try to talk me into the fancy pens that are supposed to sign glass, but I always go back to Sharpie for the reasons mentioned above.

Where can you buy his wine?

Our winery and http://www.styringvineyards.com/ 

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There's no whining in wine country, only long walks down serene country roads

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Let's get personal

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This might come as a surprise but making something uniquely yours is actually hard to come by these days. Even in this age of personalization and customization (see NIKEM&Ms – even ketchup labels), it’s not really about creating something personal but buying something personalized. Anybody can get something personalized, but for it to be truly personal, it has to come from you.  And for that you have to use your head. And your hands. And your heart. Clicking a button to select font styles or background colors or clip art just isn’t the same as the creative process of doing it from “scratch” – and by scratch I mean the idea, the design, the color selections, etc. are all yours.   

So let’s get personal. 

When it comes to school supplies, students seems to have a natural proclivity for the personal but I have a couple of theories on that:

Students are often on tight budgets, so they are forced to get inventive with boring school supplies.  And not all parents are inclined to buy “designer” stuff, like backpacks and jeans and sneakers, especially not in these tough economic times.

School is often a sterile environment, with long rows of lookalike lockers, industrial size gyms and uninspiring cafeterias. School is a canvas begging for a splash of color, a brush of ingenuity.

And finally, sometimes there’s a break in the action in class and it’s just fun to doodle and express yourself on stuff!    

I guess this is the long way home to telling you that Office Depot has just launched a contest where you can design your own backpack, enter it in their “Project Backpack” contest and win a chance to have your backpack actually reproduced and sold in their stores (that, and $5,000!).  Go to www.myprojectbackpack.com and enter your design.  

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Here’s info but be sure to visit www.myprojectbackpack.com for complete details: 

  • Go to your nearest Office Depot store to pick out the qualifying backpack and select 2 FREE Sharpies to decorate it.
  • Decorate your backpack and take a picture of it. Need inspiration? Visit www.sharpieuncapped.com 
    Fill out the online entry form and upload the image of your decorated backpack.
  • If you do not have a qualifying backpack, there is an alternative way to enter the contest. Simply download the Sharpie Backpack template, decorate it and upload your design.

One of Sharpie’s favorite artists and a member of the Sharpie Squad, Jon E. Nimetz  got busy with his design. Mind you this guy is an AR-TEEST, so his is pretty fancy. You don’t have to be good, just good enough. I like his Peace dove. It has heart, just like anything that is truly your own personal expression…

 

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Meet the INKterns

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Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to internships, a summer spent learning the ropes at Sharpie sounds prettysweet. Even better, how about a Sharpie social media internship?  Now that’s phat!  (See what happens when you hang out with college students? You start talking like a middle-schooler : ) ; )  JK!  LOL.  IDKYUTALKLIKEDAT.  Anyway, enough of the hyroglyphics.  Meet Sharpie’s new interns — or INKterns as one of my Twitter followers named them.  That’s Lauren on the left holding some of the new Caribbean colors not even on store shelves yet (check for them around Spring Break time next year).  In the middle is Stephanie who has set all sorts of track records at school and is already off and running on the social media front  And that’s Whitney on the right, clearly a Sharpie pack rat holding an as yet unreleased version of the Sharpie Pen (little secret, Whitney’s dad Terry works for Sharpie – she’s got the connects!) 

So now I’ll shut up and you can find out what Sharpie’s amazing INKterns are up to over here at Sharpie HQ:  

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Sharpie INKtern Stephanie Williams with shiny new stainless steel Sharpies

Twitter Handle: @SharpieSteph

School: DePaul University, Chicago

Graduation Date: June 09

Major: Communications; Minor: Marketing (Sales & Leadership)

Hometown: Chi-Town!, IL

Activities/Interests: Sports! (Track and Field, Football, basketball in that order)

Favorite TV Show:  I love America’s Next Top Model and CSI: Miami

Favortie Movie:  My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz AND the best video game is Super Mario Bros. No questions asked…

Favorite Sports Team: Surprisingly, none. I like specific players from a variety of sports

Favorite band: SWV (they’re not really a “band” they’re an old R&B 90′s all girl group). My favorite song is “Rain” by them

Favorite Sharpie: All of the Highlighters!

Sharpie Story/Incident: I told some of my track teammates at DePaul that I will be working for Sharpie for the summer and I have constantly received requests for Sharpie through text messages and my Facebook.

Stephanie Uncapped? If I were uncapped, you would find a bunch of donuts (powdered please!), track spikes, more food, my DePaul track meet footage throughout the years and family photos because family is first in my book!

What I hope to gain? Three things: The ability to put into practice what the books have taught me, being able to love my job and not feeling like its “work”, and finally, having the coolest Sharpies.

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Sharpie INKterns Lauren Loro with the first Sharpie Pen on top and an as yet unreleased version.

 Twitter Handle: @SharpieInktern

School: DePaul University

Graduation date: June 2009

Major: Marketing Honors, Management Minor

Hometown: River Forest, IL

Activities/Interests: Working at Sharpie J Traveling, Volleyball, Reading, North Ave. Beach, Muscle Cars, University of Michigan (go Big Blue!), and Jet Skiing

Favorite sports team and why: Wow close call between Da Bears and the White Sox. I think Da Bears win this one. I love the Bears because of the action. My father played football through college so it was always something I have watched. It will be interesting to see how they will do this year with our boy Cutler.

Favorite band and why: Ah such a hard question! I am super eclectic when it comes to music, but if I had to narrow it down I guess I would choose No Doubt or Jack Johnson.

Favorite Sharpie? The Sharpie Pen… it’s just writes so well!

Personal Sharpie incident/sighting/story: My fiancé and I just bought a condo down in Lincoln Park and we just started moving everything so I have great usage for the Sharpie Magnum I just got today!

Lauren Uncapped? Hmm…deep question. Basically, I am a simple girl who loves the little things in life. But if you had to delve deeper you would find I am a very driven person who puts everything into her work.

Besides free Sharpies, what do you hope to get out of this internship? Well, free Sharpies are the main reason I’m here. Well not really, but I hope to gain knowledge of the implementation of social media. I have researched and read about social media, but I have never seen a company first hand employ these innovative marketing tools.

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Sharpie INKtern Whitney Kelly with her favorite Sharpie Magnum

Twitter Handle: @SharpieWhit

School: University of Kansas (RockChalk!)

Graduation date: December 2008

Major: History & Communication Studies

Hometown: Darien, IL

Activities/Interests: Family, friends, music, art and working for Susan Wassel.

Favorite sports team and why: KU Basketball. Why? I wouldn’t be a true Jayhawk if I didn’t say KU Basketball. We invented the sport and nothing compares to a Rock Chalk chant in Allen Fieldhouse.

Favorite band and why: The Rolling Stones – The Stones have influenced so many genres of music, especially rock! Who doesn’t love a little Jumpin’ Jack Flash?

Favorite Sharpie? Narrowing it down to one is difficult, how about top 5:

Sharpie Magnum
Sharpie Pen RT
Sharpie Twin Tip (best of both worlds!)
Sharpie Mini
Sharpie Poster Paint

Personal Sharpie incident/sighting/story: Growing up with mounds of Sharpies surrounding me at all times, I feel like Sharpies follow me wherever I go. Recently, at a restaurant in St. Louis, a frustrated looking girl walks out of the bathroom, black Sharpie in tow. I walk in and see (in huge black letters) written on a bathroom stall: “CHILL OUT & carry a Sharpie …SERIOUSLY!” What I’d like to know is, who are these people taking the time to write things on bathroom stalls?! Well, it’s not me, but if you are, I suggest using a Sharpie — pencils and pens (obviously Bic) simply will not get you any attention. (I took a picture from my phone. If you want to check it out, my cube is 2158 Parker Place.)

Whitney Uncapped? You would definitely need a directory that leads you to where you want to go. Music, Art, Sports, Fashion, Politics, OFFICE PRODUCTS, Books, TV…you name it, I’m interested in it! Everyday these interests grow and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon.

Besides free Sharpies, what do you hope to get out of this internship?  I hope to learn as much as possible about Social Media and the impact it actually has on sales. The world of social media still has several avenues that are yet to be discovered and it will be interesting to see how far it goes. Sharpie is a leader in this market. I’m excited to be a part of this team. Networking is always a plus too! Hopefully by the end of the internship I will have built some credibility and made enough of an impact that companies will be lining up and begging me to work for them!!

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Walk this way

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I just customize things…I believe in recycling and giving use to things that normally you would throw to waste …

That’s how Reavel describes her work, which includes breathing new life into everyday objects like clipboards and sneakers.   She has a special gift for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.  Reavel lives in Puerto Rico and says many of  her country’s vibrant colors inspire her work. On her website, she free associates the following words with her thoughts and ideas about art:

Feeling creative, Sharpies, acryllic paint, graffiti, aerosol, wood, music, documentals, art books,movies, photography, history channel, moleskine notebooks, colors: blue, red, black, white.

Reavel is her stand-alone name.  You can find her work for sale on Etsy.com  or you can read more about her on her blog.  For now, here’s a sneak peak into the creative mind of a “makeover” artist: 

artist-2How did you get started as an artist?

Art has always been a huge part of my life. When I was younger I discovered that my dad used to draw and loved art. I think that was the biggest motivation to keep drawing, to become good. I later on found his sketching book and I was amazed of what he could do. He always helped me out to do my school works related to drawing things. Even when I never took an actual drawing class I always loved to draw things on my notebooks and do things for school, family special events. I normally carry a notebook/sketchbook with my beloved markers.

Tell us a little about your genre.

I honestly don’t know if there is certain or specific genre of art. I just do what I feel at the moment with what I have at the moment. I would say clipboardthat I just customize things. There are many people that do what I do. Many great works done by many artists but every one has their story to share. I believe in recycling and giving use to things that normally you would throw to waste or just use it the way it was meant not as a piece to display your art or your feelings. I think that is what makes my work stand out.

Some could see a simple clipboard but once you drop some ink on it, it becomes a piece of art. It is funny because sometimes I draw abstract things and people try to like guess what I felt when I did that. Sometimes they get it sometimes they don’t. Some other times they are just reflecting their state of mind on the what they see. Also I get a lot of notes or attention because of the colors I use. Seems that people forget or dont know that markers come in lots of colors too.

 How would you describe your style?

I wouldn’t say that I have a style. I know it is edgy, colorful, messy, bright, simple yet complicated at the same time.  People comment that some of my works look like stained glass because of the fat lines [outlines] that I always do on my art no matter what I am drawing you will notice the fat lines on the works. I remember that someone even believed it was etching and when I told them that it was just a black Sharpie marker over a canvas they were amazed. Others even request or ask if I did stained glass. It was kind of funny but good. That is what makes this a great experience; the things you can do with a simple marker and a simple color. The only thing I know for sure is that once you get used to watching it you can say: “Hey that looks just like this person art/style” but in the end it still doesn’t have a name.

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

I think that we all have a Sharpie in our house.  It has become like a household item. I always had Sharpies around so it was kind of meant to be. It is a simple instrument that you can apply to almost all surfaces. It doesn’t fade and dries quick. They are not expensive and you can get them even at the pharmacy on the corner. The ink last like forever.  Later on I saw the variety of amazing colors that they had and went crazy. Since then I have been using Sharpie color markers along with my glorious black Sharpie. People hardly believe that you can get amazing colors and effects with them but if you know how to deal with colors you can do wonders. I learned how to blend them with practice. It is not rocket science I say. I don’t go around wondering if this or that marker will work with this or that project because I know that Sharpie does the job.

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.

The ink is great.  Like I mentioned, it dries fast and you won’t have a mess on your work area. Since I like to do many details and experiment with objects [plastic, textile, canvas acrylic paper, etc.] I have to use different types of points or tips for every detail/effect I want to get. The ink is water resistant which is a great plus when you work with so many different type of objects. It is good to know that you can paint some made of plastic, wood, paper and that it won’t run if it gets wet. When creating you will also need something that doesn’t mess up the surface or change its color, when you use Sharpie you know that won’t happen.  For example the King Size and the Fine point are great for the finishing touches of the outlines. The Extra fine point marker great for shading and defining dimensions on a drawing. When I paint on a canvas with acrylic the only thing that worked for me to paint over it was Sharpie. I also use them with the watercolors for shading too.

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

What I love to do the most is draw random or abstract things. Lately I have made myself draw more conceptual/concrete things or objects. I’ve been practicing a lot to learn to what point I can get and where I have to stop -  making strange color combinations in the shapes then accentuating them with the darker tones. People always pay attention to the colors. It is all about the colors and the irregular forms. People sometimes stare at them like trying to see things on my works because of the shapes I give to the drawings.

Customizing things caught the attention of some people. I am a big fan of DIY [do it yourself] projects, I like to invent and make things up. So why not make everyday things different when you can. A pair of white shoes doesn’t have to be always white. Give a little of life to them. Re-Invent them, make them look more like you. A normal clipboard has no use unless you work in an office that really uses it. Then you see a clipboard like the ones I have customized and you are proud of your clipboard. I ended up opening a shop on Etsy.com because people asked if they can have some of the drawings, work on canvas and watercolors.

black-and-red-boardCan 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?

Most of the time I start free-hand and it just happens, a simple line or an idea of what I am going to do. I always strart with the Fine Point black marker. That is my favorite weapon of choice, as I call it. Then I get carried away and end up making complex things full of textures and details, even when I tell myself that I won’t do it I just can’t stop drawing lines until I feel there is no space left. There are some times that if I start to do a template and try to make everything look almost perfect. I always say to myself I have to do a template. I start throwing lines and shapes and then when I remember the template issue, I am almost half way to what I think is a great piece.

Now that people share with me their ideas or tell me what they would like to have, I try to do a template of that and work around it. It is good because people get carried away with you and that feels great when you see that they want to be part of the final work. I like to finish things the same day I start them. The less hours I spend the best I think they get done. If I think way too much, I will end up putting it apart and then it doesn’t feel inspired, it feels like I have to do this now and this exact way like in a mold. No muse involved. If this are certain objects, animal or a specific thing, I then do a template or use an example to guide my free-hand drawing.

What are your inspirations?

blueishbigI am from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean where we love and live by colors. So it has to show up at some point in what I do. The people in the street, music, friends, daily news, good times, bad times, everything inspires me to create. I am a very moody/emotional person. I would like to say that I wait for the muses to stop by my house and move me. I have to feel the need to make something. When they strike, I better be prepared because I don’t really know what I am about to do. It just flows and ends up on paper.

Vincent Van Gogh colors are the most amazing thing a human will ever get to see. His works explode with all this brilliant and vibrant color. That is one of my biggest influences. You can see the “deformed lines of his shapes,” the textures he made with colors. Romero Britto when you see his paintings you will know why, just Google him you will see why I like his works.

Graffiti and Urban Art have become great teachers too and opened my eyes to all these new things, types of “techniques” and mediums like stickers. Stickers are like the new run around the city gallery for me.

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

It is great to have an art education but I think that real art comes from the heart. Like many other things, artists are born artists they are not made into artists. Artist go to school or get a degree to shape or define their styles and learn more so in the end they have plenty of ways to express their needs and leave a mark on the face of the earth.

starryI hope that people get the sense that art can be messy it doesn’t have to be picture perfect or just plain boring. Art is fun to do and not just a bunch of methods or techniques told to you by a teacher, professor or trend.

Dare to express yourself, be loud. Don’t fear what you can do with a marker. Enjoy what you are doing. I know people told us when we were kids that it was wrong to write on things that were not paper but hey, if you don’t like the way something looks, grab a marker. Experiment. Change the way it looks. You might end up making it look even new and feeling way better.

 

 Please list the types of Sharpie markers do you use to create your work:

King Size, Fine Point, Sharpie Paint Extra Fine Point, Sharpie Bold Point, Retractable Fine Point, Chisel Tip, Ultra Fine Point Store Tip Down and Rub a Dub Laundry Marker.

 
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Hang out your Sharpie shingle

We had some fun this week over here at Sharpie HQ (not like we don’t have fun every week but this was even funner). To help launch Sharpie’s new “Uncap What’s Inside” campaign (visit sharpieuncapped.com and show us your Sharpie stuff), we challenged employees to create new nameplates for their offices using Sharpies.

I seriously had no idea we had so many creative people in our midst. Below are some of the entries. We picked two first place winners – can you guess which ones won? Also among them is one designed by our president. Can you guess which is his? Be sure to post a comment so I know whether you’re a good guesser or not. After is the big reveal – the two winning entries and their creators, along with some insight on how they did what they did with Sharpies.

I’ll never walk by their offices the same way again. Enjoy!

zinka-honorable

arenas-honorable

cromley-honorable

conti-honorable

brust-honorable

banjerbee-honorable

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gadbois-honorable

dudzicka-winner

dierks-honorable

hageman-honorable

godbey-second

niglaccio-honorable

lamb-honorable

kendrick-second

kalasmiki-honorable

rivera-honorable

pitts-honorable

nuri-honorable

rodgers-honorable

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serrata-honorable

smith-honorable

 

BIG REVEAL

 AND THE WINNERS ARE… 

Ron Rivoli and his winning Wrigley Field nameplate

Ron Ruvoli and his winning Wrigley Field nameplate

Ron Ruvoli on his Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs) nameplate (Ron is in our business insights group):

I love the Cubs so I just thought it would be great to do my name in lights on the Wrigley Field marquis. It’s the only chance it will ever be there.

I found some pictures on the internet.   I also had some books at home.  I kinda got the details there. I tried to add as much detail as possible. It’s not a lot. A lot of red and white. I tried to get it as close to the original sign as possible.

I used the Sharpie red ultra-fine to outline all the letters. I used a Sharpie Pen in black. And I used one of the new Cafe Coleurs for the brick – the Pomegranate one.   I used Sharpie fine points for coloring.

I did it at home on a Sunday, after my kids were in bed.  I have two girls, 6 and 4.  My wife was in bed too. It was pretty pathetic.

I wanted bold colors and I really like red, I figured why not open up the cardstock.  I figured most people probably did there’s in half. I opened it so I could get more color. I wanted to color the whole entire piece of paper.

It took me about 3 hours. All the outlining really took awhile.

Growing up as a kid, all that was on in the house was the Cubs. I grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago so I’m supposed to be a Sox fan. We Cubs fans kind of band together -  there’s actually a lot of us on the South Side.  Cubs are a real passion of mine. I follow them everyday. My friends and family, it’s all we talk about.

I havent’ taken an art class since 6th grade, but I doodle a lot in meetings. I like to goof around. I get a lot of inspiration form my kids because we do a lot of art projects. I got back into drawing and coloring beause of them. I’m not really an artist, I wouldn’t say. My brothers and sisters and dad are all very artistically inclined.

I’ve always been a fan of Sharpie. I worked retail in high school and college and we would always go to the stationery section and take out markers and use them for work purposes. You always looked for a Sharpie laying around and not being used and swipe it.  I love the markers. Absolutely love them. I don’t know what it is I love – the colors, the design, the way it looks and feels in your hand. The retractable version. Office supplies and pens, pencils and markers in general, I don’t know what it is, I just love them.

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Mariola Dudzicka and her winning monogram nameplate

Mariola Dudzicka on her monogram nameplate (Mariola is in our consumer affairs department):

I used the Sharpie Pen to create my nameplate. I chose it because of the nature of the drawing and I needed something very fine.  It’s a miniature, a very small picture, so the details are very small and tiny so I needed something I could finish. Sharpie actually gave a very fine line.  I’m not an artist but I think I have the gift. I like to draw. I like to play with the pens and markers. In my spare time, I draw.

I learned to draw in high school.  I had an art class.   I’ve always had an interst in art. I am very touched by the arts. I like to collect things, drawings, pictures. I’m in a museum on a regular basis.

I really like to be around the arts and I admire impressionism.  I like Monet, Van Gogh, Rembrandt.

Sometime ago I collected monograms for embroidery to make with a needle and I had a small collection. I had the embroidery monogram pictures in front of me but made the nameplate drawing freehand.

I’m was born in Poland.  I’ve lived here for 16 years and worked at Sharpie for 4 years.

I do laces. I learned all kinds of styles but my favorite is bobbin lace. It’s a little tool that you tie the threads and wave them in your hands. I learned in Poland from my mother and from a friend, and at a culture center where I took classes.

I made the nametag at home, gradually over the weekend.   It wasn’t that much time.  I made the composition in pencil first.  It took total about 5-6 hours.

I was stunned when I won. I didn’t expect that I would win.  It was a really nice surprise. I had a lot of fun doing it and that is the real reward.

Ben Gadbois’ nameplate (Ben is president of Sharpie):

I know when it comes to presidents and fun, that Zappos guy gets all the glory. But I think Sharpie’s president Ben Gadbois deserves some snaps.  Look at his entry! 

gadbois-honorable

This took some time and effort, people!  I haven’t had a chance to talk to Ben but my take is it’s an ant farm.  See those little black stick figures in there?  Those are ants.  And all the swirly trails and the green grass?  That’s a farm.  Of course art is a matter of interpretation (is that yellow for the sun and blue for the sky?  And whose reflection is that in the the gold nameplate???)  Art can be so mysterious.  And personal. Speaking of, get personal with Sharpie and send us your Sharpie creations.  Visit sharpieuncapped.com and hang out your own Sharpie shingle.

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Sharpie Gets Benched

bench

Sharpie Bench by Alysa

This is one of my very favorite things ever created with a Sharpie. It’s a music bench delicately decorated with henna-inspired art. The woman behind this beautiful bench is artist (and cellist) Alysa Sallade (you can see her work on Flickr).  I found Alysa and her bench on Cafe Mom.  

Alysa is also a member of a group called Henna Tribe where she is known as Satharielle. Henna Tribe is an online community and professional network for anyone interested in the ancient art of applying henna to skin.  I don’t know why I should be surprised to find such a group – henna art has a huge following! Henna is actually a plant that is made into a powder and then a paste to create Henna body art. It has a long history and is often associated with marriage and fertility. It has a distinct look that can be easily replicated with a Sharpie (fine and ultra fine tips are ideal) when more permanence is needed (note: Sharpie is not recommended for use on skin).  Here’s a link to some templates on Henna Tribe if you want to give a henna design a try yourself.

Now, a little background on how Alysa created her Sharpie bench, and some insight into what inspires her art:

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Alysa, Artist

How did you get started as an artist?

I started with pencil drawing and then pen and ink. I currently love body art via henna, watercolor painting, sumi-e, acrylic painting, and digital art using Adobe Paint and Photoshop.

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

I’m not much for self promotion. There are so many wonderful artists out there with so many styles. There are ways to say we’re all similar and then if you really look, see that even if the medium is the same and the style is similar, the art is actually totally different. All true art is an expression of some aspect of the artist’s vision and ultimately their soul, be it their light-hearted stream of consciousness on a sunny spring day or their dark subtle nightmares from a memory best forgotten, or anything in between or beyond.

How would you describe your style?

In this piece, more flowery mehndi mandalla style. Styles are so hard to catagorize.

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

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Henna Hand

I wanted to do my henna body art on my bench and other non body objects but wanted something that would mark treated fabrics. So I picked up a Sharpie from my desk and started drawing.

What about Sharpie markers makes them your medium of choice?

I like the variety of tips and the strength and flexibility of tips. I like how they tend to be a bit more permanent than some other inks (though could be more permanent imo)

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?

People really like my bench, I think mostly because it’s a custom job and to non henna/mehndi artists, it looks complicated and hard to do while being delicate and flowery.

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?

I’m totally free hand, each piece is different though. Some pieces take only a couple minutes, others hours. The bench took a couple hours as I was waiting to make sure the Sharpie was dry before changing spots as I had to hold the bench top where I’d just Sharpied and didn’t want it to smudge.

What are your inspirations?

Life has all sorts of inspirations. From the vines and flowers in the garden, to something someone says.  I just want people to feel something. Don’t just pass by so busy with your mind on work and stresses, stop, look, feel. Emotion heals even if it hurts at first. 

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Alysa's fishnet henna hand

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