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

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Sharpie fun for kids with diabetes

I think we assume that being a kid is just fun and games 24-7 (which is exactly how it should be!) but for some kids, there’s a little more to it, like the added burden of having to take care of a disease.  Kids with diabetes (adults too, for that matter) often are required to undergo insulin therapy.  In the past, that often meant having parents or caretakers inject them daily with insulin, or even inject it themselves.  Recently, medical science has come up with insulin pumps, a HUGE advance and GIGANTIC help to the kids and their families, not to mention more effective in making sure they get what they need when they need it. 

Insulin pumps deliver rapid- or short-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a catheter placed under the skin.  Insulin pumps mean fewer needle pokes and a lot less hassle!  The only thing is what to do with the insulin pack they have to carry around.  The American Diabetes Association recommends a pump case that can be attached to a waistband, pocket, bra, garter belt, sock, or underwear.   That’s great, but here’s an idea that takes it one step further — an insulin pump case that kids can customize themselves. 

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Nicholas (left), and younger brother Nathan (right), both have Type I diabetes, and are big fans of the customizable insulin pump paks from Pump Wear, Inc.

And here’s Nikki at work on hers… 

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Smiley faces and flowers - oh my!

I think this is an awesome idea.  I know you will too after you read more about how Draw Pak came to be from Pump Wear Inc. co-founder Julie DeFruscio:

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Nathan's brother Nicholas gets in on the fun

  Tell me a little about your business.

Pump Wear Inc. was started by myself and my best friend Dawn Juneau, when my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and went on an insulin pump. Quickly realizing that products out there for holding the insulin pump were very medical looking, we started a company to fill the need for fun creative ways for my daughter to wear the insulin pump. Pump Wear Inc. is a place where kids are kids and adults just have fun!

How did you come up with the idea?

We were always looking for ways to let children have fun.  We believe in making wearing an insulin pump a positive experience. Kids and adults love to draw and color so why not let them create their very own cases! Each Draw pak is unique to the child or adult and a true original.

How are Sharpie markers incorporated?

We like Sharpie’s because once the drawing is finished the marker stays on nicely no smudging or wiping off a Sharpie! Also the ease of using the Sharpie markers makes drawing on the pak fun and creative. Plus they have lots of fun colors!

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Sharpie. Glad we could help!

The Draw Paks benefit everyone who does one, they are able to come up with their very own designs or simply say something they want to say, simply by saying it or drawing it with a Sharpie Marker! All age groups can enjoy the Draw Paks, and the thing that we truly love is that children and adults can just have fun and show their creativity.

Why are Sharpie markers a good fit for this?

Sharpie Markers are reliable, easy to use, and readily available with a large selection of colors to choose from.

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

Personally I like the pictures that the kids themselves draw, they are so cute and original!

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Nathan and Draw Pak ready for action

What is truly inspirational is that my daughter’s friends enjoy doing the pump cases and they don’t have diabetes! So how great is it for children with diabetes to have friends wanting to create cases like them! Children without diabetes loving products that children with diabetes wear to survive.

Can you tell us a little about how insulin pumps are used why your product is helpful in that process?

Insulin pumps are used to dispense insulin, they are the size of a beeper and worn as life support for children and adults that suffer from type 1 diabetes. Our line of cases are used to hold the insulin pump.

How has this product been received?

The product is new but the feed back so far has been positive. We see this as a growing concept of allowing people the ability to create items themselves.

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

Yes, we actually have a spin off company called http://girlygirlstudio.com and the Draw Paks are being incorporated into our Birthday Parties where kids can have a party and all do a Draw Pak. They get to walk away with their very own design!

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

Yes, we would just like to thank Sharpie for their continued influx of fun colors and reliable easy markers!

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Nathan with his blank canvas Draw Pak and Sharpies. Ready, set, go!

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Sharpie dress on Buddhagirl

The life of a sculptor, designer and shop owner is apparently a busy one.  See Hazel Colditz below, better known as @BuddhagirlAZ on Twitter, on her cell, taking orders, shaking up the sculpting world. One has to ask, where does she find the time to design Sharpie dresses like the one she’s wearing? No matter, it is done. And now it is mine.

Buddhagirl and I met on Twitter and became fast friends.  I admired her Sharpie dress et voila, it magically appeared in a box on my desk! It has since become a cause-celebre over here at Sharpie HQ as everyone stops by to check it out. Below is background on how it was born, followed by info on how a sculptor/designer uses Sharpie to get the job done:  

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Buddhagirl in her Sharpie dress

How and why did you come up with a Sharpie dress?

It came about through my daughter, Mariko Burton, wanting to create an eco-fashion line. The Sharpie dress was something that I came up with due to the @platea (Twitter) project called Co-Modify Project II (editor’s note:  participants pick a brand to fictionally “sponsor” them).  I chose Sharpie as my sponsor…I wanted to utilize Sharpies outside of their perceived uses.  

Did you sew on all the Sharpies yourself? I noticed you matched the thread to the Sharpie. Nice detail. 

Yes, we sew ALL the Sharpies (by color with embroidery threads) on!

What is the dress made out of? Can someone buy one of these? 

The dress was made as one our “green” wears. It is made of recycled, re-use/renew drop cloth. It is lined with recycled bed linens.  Of course these dresses are for sale!!  It can be commissioned for sizing or just from our salon, Kuzu, ready made. The dress is multi-functional…one can keep the Sharpies on or remove for washing or wearing with only a few choices, none or ALL!

Which Sharpie color do you use the most?

Every moment decides which Sharpie color…depends on mood/medium!  I use black mainly but all colors have a purpose, for those rainbow moods!

The dress is now in my possession. What types of functions do you recommend I wear it to? I’m not going to Prom this year, so that’s out. But others? 

Please wear to any functions that require some funkiness, cutting-edge fashion statement for Sharpie…that would include ALL TV spots and celebrity events because you ARE a celebrity!

How did you get started as an artist?

I have been an artist/metal sculptor for over 10 years. I have always felt a passion to create and a connection to “solid” Earth-like elements, such as metal, rock, wood and even water. I am also a recycling fanatic and these media are perfect from an impact standpoint. Finally, I was a competitive swimmer for 15 years and I suspect that somewhere in the recesses of my “self” that competitive nature still lives. I met with significant resistance when I began welding, grinding, sawing and creating large sculptures. This particular artistic arena was a man’s world and that made me even more determined to succeed.

On March 23rd, 2009 I opened Kuzu Salon. Kuzu means “rubbish” in Japanese. For me and my daughters who are partners in the boutique, it would be more appropriately translated as “re-used”. One premise of the boutique is to use recycled materials whenever possible. In addition to the actual boutique, the salon space and warehouse serve as my work-space and gallery. We like to say “Kuzu….not just a galley, not just a store, but an experience!” Sharpie is a major participant at Kuzu ranging from patterns and accessorizing clothing to graffiti and drawings.

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

There are many sculptors but again, primarily men, as the size, weight and mass of the sculptures increases. My inspirations have been Isamu Noguchi (the master), Andy Goldsworthy (amazing nature installations), and Maya Lin (Viet Nam memorial) who is female. Much of my personal inspiration has evolved from my Buddhist spiritual beliefs although it is often subtlety represented in my work. I firmly believe the goal of my art is to evoke a response in the viewer. The nature of the response is different for each person and that is what I find so fascinating and compelling.

How would you describe your style?

I generally attempt to keep the sculpture visually simple in terms of the overview. On closer inspection, however, I love to put in some detail or create a symbol within for contemplation.

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

I have always used Sharpie markers in my everyday artwork. Their ability to permanently mark metal, wood and rock is essential to the construction process. The variety of colors and tip sizes are perfect given the variety of materials I work with. In reality, I use Sharpie markers throughout the entire process from design & construction to signing personal cards for each patron. 

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Buddhagirl's pretend Sharpie ad as part of Project Co-Modify II and her fictional sponsor.

My most recent “Sharpie Adventure” was the result of my participation in the Co-Modify II project by @platea. The project was designed to explore how art with web-based social networking (combined with consumer goods) influences our lives. I chose Sharpie because they are so universal in nature. Obviously Sharpie markers are an essential part of my work and life but what I find even more intriguing is Sharpie’s truly have no bounds in terms of age, social status, gender, or use. I found the creation of Sharpie ads that had a connection with my work and boutique to be very fun, creative and liberating! I have always been a Sharpie fan and my choice just seemed so natural.

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

I have always used Sharpie markers in my everyday artwork. Their ability to permanently mark metal, wood and rock is essential to the construction process. The variety of colors and tip sizes are perfect given the variety of materials I work with. In reality, I use Sharpie markers throughout the entire process from design & construction to signing personal cards for each patron.

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Some of Hazel's big, beautiful work

My current hallmark piece is “The Four Noble Truths”. It is a stainless steel and bronze piece (24″x 50″x 144″). Other than the visual and emotional impressions that my works evoke, I think people are drawn to the size, symmetry and creative nature of my work.

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

In simple terms, the process is straightforward:

Idea/concept
Design
Mechanical/structural considerations
Material selection
Fabrication
Finish

In terms of hours & labor, the process is incredibly long (months) and difficult which is also why the finished piece is so satisfying. All pieces are created from a “Sharpie sketch” by free-hand! I then create a maquet which is a small version of the piece to make sure the structure and proportions are appropriate. I often make templates for the various components of each piece.

What are your inspirations?

I mentioned my personal inspirations in Isamu Noguchi, Andy Goldsworthy and Maya Lin but clearly my most powerful inspiration is “Nature”. Nature truly creates the most perfect works of art with unsurpassed power, beauty and detail.  More than make a statement, I hope my art will capture the viewer’s imagination and generate a personal emotional response. I am a small artist (in stature) creating large, powerful & provocative pieces without limits. When I think about it, I am like a human Sharpie!

Favorite Sharpies?

Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker (My fav, I love stainless steel!) – Black; Sharpie Permanent Markers – Super, Fine & Ultra Fine, all colors.

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Buddhagirl likes to make her mark wherever she goes

www.joseishe.com
www.theasianwelder.com
www.kuzusalon.com

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No more unsightly bags

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Fish sandwich anyone?

Looks like lunch is getting a facelift.  No more unsightly bags.  I bet even a meatloaf and pickle sandwich looks good wrapped in one of these little gems. 

I’m talking about sandwich bags. Sandwich bags like you’ve never seen them before. Sandwich bags covered with turtles and cats and lightswitch1footprints and sharks.  Sandwich bags adorned with neckties and computers and fish bowls and  large ants and socks.  And all done with Sharpies by this super-creative guy named David Laferriere.  Imagine one of these cuties staring up from the bottom of your lunch box, begging to put a smile on your face. No doubt that carton of luke-warm milk from the school cafeteria will go down a lot easier with one of these fun treats in your hungry little hands.

david-laferriereDavid is a a graphic designer and illustrator who does what he does professionally for newspapers (that’s a picture of David from his Linked In profile). David is also the father of two boys ages 10 and 12.  Here’s the scoop straight from the sandwich bag artist’s mouth: 

 

What are the boys’ reactions to your bag art? How about their friends? Are you their sandwich bag art hero?

Their friends often ask to see what’s on the bag. (Editor’s note:  no comment from David on the hero worship)

crazy-eyes-bagDo they always have one of your sandwich bags in their lunches?

Yes. I didn’t do it once and heard about it first thing when he got home.

Are they budding sandwich bag artists themselves?

Sometimes when I am making a sandwich for myself and they are around I ask one of them to draw on the bag. Like them I can’t see what they did until I open my lunch.

Do you think sandwich bag art will ever have a gallery showing? The Louvre, perhaps?

Not the Louvre, at least not until after my death. I can see these hanging in a theme gallery show about sandwiches or lunch.

Do you think Dali would approve of your sandwich bag art? Rockwell? Christie Brinkley (designed Billy Joel’s River of Dreams album cover)?

I just hope they react the same way others have when seeing them. That’s all I ask.

What’s your favorite sandwich?socks

Not so much a favorite but sandwiches made often: Ham, cheese and lettuce, and peanut butter and jelly.

And now, on a more serious note…How did you get started as a graphic designer/illustrator?

I’ve always like to draw. When I was 9, a teacher noticed that I could draw and suggested to my parents that I should take some art lessons. In high school I took Commercial Design and went on to Rhode Island School of Design where I got a BFA in Illustration. Up until this year I had been working in the newspaper business as a designer/illustrator.

Tell us a little about this new sandwich bag art genre?

I draw cartoon-like images directy onto plastic sandwich bags.   

happy-birthdayAre there lots of people who do what you do?

The Wired blog GeekDad had a piece called ‘Cool Little Parenting Rituals – Lunchbag Edition’ that featured a few parents that draw on the outside of the lunch bag. Other than those mentioned in GeekDad I don’t know of any who draw directly on the plastic sandwich bag.

Where can we find your sandwich bag masterpieces?

On my flickr site.

What makes your work stand out?

Each drawing is unique and my sometimes warped imagination shows in the drawings.

How would you describe your style?

My illustrations are an editorial/cartoon style.

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

I used to draw directly on a slice of bread with food coloring. They were simple drawings but it was a time consuming process so I only did it on special occasions.  On Cinco de Mayo, 2008 I figured I could try to draw directly on the plastic sandwich bag. I had a few Sharpies around and knew they would work on the plastic. At the time all I had in the house were a few black Sharpies along with a red and a purple.

What about Sharpies  make them good for creating amazing sandwich bag art?

The colors are stable and rich. They adhere nicely to the plastic sandwich bag. I also use Sharpies and colored pencils for drawings on paper that I do for my other son who has a sandwich container that fits in his lunch bag, and for doing some rough drafts for clients.

Is it the variety of tip sizes, colors, other?   We like when sandwich bag artists go on and on about our product.

They are perfect for drawing on plastic bags. They dry quick but not too quick so I can smudge the ink with a napkin to create shading. I prefer the fine point markers in a variety of colors. If I need to color a large area I use the side of the fine point.

robotTell us about some of your own favorite work. What seems to get the most attention?

I like when I am working on a multiple-day theme. One week I did superhero snowmen, around Halloween I did a pumpkin being carved.

Can you describe how a piece of sandwich bag art comes to be?

I would make a sandwich and put it in a sandwich bag. Then I would try to think of something to draw on the bag.  My inspiration would have to strike quickly for I would only give myself no more than five minutes to come up with the idea and do the drawing. After I did the drawing I would take a picture with my camera phone and send it to my Flickr account.  My kids had no idea what I would draw for them. They would find out when they sat down to eat thier lunch with their friends.  The most difficult part is that there is very little margin for mistakes. I usually just go with a mistake, make it look like I meant to do it. There have been a handful of times that I did not like what was happening and began again on a fresh sandwich bag.  (Editor’s note:  The whole sordid story is right here).

What are your inspirations?

My family and what is happening around us. Sometimes it’s the weather or a video game or animals. In the course of a conversation I may pick up on something said that sparks an idea.

 

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Sharpie signing off...It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

 

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Meet the 2009 Sharpie Squad

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When it comes to people passionate about Sharpie, we didn’t have to look far. They’re everywhere, just Google! What was hard was deciding who to invite to “represent” and become members of our first-ever fan club, of sorts. The Sharpie Squad is made up of people who talk and teach and tantalize us with their amazing Sharpie ideas and creations. From thrifty Sharpie decorating tips to Sharpie-designed skateboards, art, illustrations and more, these are the people who breathe life into our product and make it shine.  

And for their efforts, we want to show them some Sharpie love. As inaugural members, they’ll be among the first to see and try our new products. We’re also going to showcase their Sharpie ideas and creations on our new community site, sharpieuncapped.com.  And it wouldn’t be official without a personalized Sharpie Squad marker, arriving to members soon! Visit mysharpie.com and you can get one too, personalized your way.

Please be sure to visit their sites as they continue to show us what’s possible with Sharpie. 

THE SHARPIE SQUAD LINEUP

laura rowleyLaura Rowley understands just how far a Sharpie marker (or two!) can go to help families save.  With a little help from Sharpie, it’s easy to create “designer” versions of favorites like backpacks, folders, sneakers, jeans, t-shirts and more  — so you spend less on the pricier versions and end with a one-of-a-kind little something you’ve personalized yourself.  It’s a win-win with Sharpie!  Laura is a journalist specializing in personal finance and values, and author of Money & Happiness: A Guide to Living the Good Life. Along with her Yahoo! Finance column, she blogs at www.moneyandhappiness.com/blog.  Rowley is an ardent consumer advocate who is passionate about helping people identify their deepest values, set goals and manage the complex decisions and risks involved in achieving them. Married with three daughters, she lives what she preaches, showing readers how to get the best deals, avoid debt, invest wisely and strive for work-life balance. Rowley has been tapped as a value expert on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, the Fox Network, NPR and dozens of other broadcast programs and print and online media. She is a former reporter and producer for CNN in New York, reporting on-air for “Your Money” and “Business Unusual,” and the former money columnist for Self magazine. Her freelance writing has appeared in The New York Times, Parents and other publications.

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Laura Kelly is an official Sharpie Guru and proud member of the Sharpie Squad.  Her art is created with Sharpie markers to create bright, bold and simple designs that uplift the human spirit.  Laura says she lives in a world as whimsical as her art. Surrounded by people who share her aspirations to generate joy, happiness and empowerment in a vibrant, organized environment, she fills notebook after notebook with playful Sharpie drawings inspired by everyday images: a child chasing a butterfly, a bouquet of flowers, a pair of cowboy boots, a swirl here and a curl there. Suddenly, a new collection is born.   Laura currently licenses her work to companies in a variety of industries including gift, stationery, gourmet food and home décor as well as bank products.  She also owns her wholesale company, Laura Kelly Designs, which manufactures stationery products for stores around the country. When she isn’t working on her licensable portfolio, you will find her painting, baking, gardening, playing with clay or making stuff out of recycled stuff.  She is also a active member of the Greeting Card Association, Craft and Hobby Association where she serves of the Trend Team and a delegate to the National Stationery Show.

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Erin of Things Moms Like, a popular review and giveaway blog, is the mother of two (6 and 13).  She has worked as an event planner and promoter.  She is frequently speaks at parenting conferences all over the country and enjoys traveling.  Erin enjoys offering fabulous contests and honest reviews to parents all over the world with her blog.  She uses Sharpies daily!

 

 

Kristin Lesney_head shotKristin is the mother to Kai and Brooklin, a newborn and four year old spunky girl. She’s a busy full time college student living in Oregon.  She chronicles the daily life of just another Ordinary Mom. Kristin and Del love to share their journey as a family. Together they spend time learning and growing as a family. Kristin is the owner of Our Ordinary Life; a blog in which she talks about her journey through life as a Mom, and college student. She enjoys keeping it real and always has an opinion about something. Since her second daughter was just born Kristin has been busy with her ever changing family.   Kristin has been featured and works along side many wonderful companies. She’s always sharing what her family finds useful and is involved in many projects around the blogpshere. She is one of Frito Lay’s Fab 15 moms and is also one of the lucky Frigidare Test Drive Moms. You can also find her tweeting away on Twitter with her fellow moms who blog.

 

linsey-knerl-profile-jan-black-and-whiteLinsey Knerl is the mom behind Lille’ Punkin Reviews and is always on the lookout for the next best thing when it comes to making her life easier. As a free resource for parents and friends of parents, Knerl offers regular, unbiased opinions of a variety of family-friendly items.

 

 

lauri-harrisonLauri Harrison is founder of MomToBeDepot.com and is a blogger for several media sites including Working Mother magazine and Examiner.com. She’s the mom of a tot and a teenager and informs parents about great new products. 

 

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Travis ToddTravis Todd creates sharpie art on everyday objects from lunch boxes to automobiles.  He even carries a sharpie on his key chain where ever he goes in case he wants to create “instant art”.  He has become renowned on the online automotive forum community for his creations on the hood of his “Sharpie Artcar”.  He has developed his own style that is a blend of elegant scroll work and graffiti style art.  He says that people tend to see what they want to see in his artwork.  You can find some of his works on his Flickr page @ www.flickr.com/spdu4ia.

 

derek-bensonLunchbagart.com is where Derek Benson shares the designs he creates on his kids’ lunch bags every day with intricate drawings of cartoons, super heroes and a variety of other artwork. During his own lunch breaks in San Diego, California, where he creates art for video games, Benson uses Sharpies to create his unique designs. His drawings have been featured in Parents magazine and can be seen on his blog or via his twitter account.

 

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Mark Rivard is known for his skateboard art covering a wide variety of genres and designs. Based out of Breckenridge, Colorado, Rivard’s work has been seen in exhibitions around the world, including shows in Belgium, Denver, Detroit, Seattle and New York City. Rivard takes his Sharpies with him while traveling to teach and inspire with art.  

 

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Jon E. Nimetz and his website, superfineart.com, are both based out of Venice, California, where Jon is a producer, marketer and advertising producer. He is known for his loud personality and passionate style that he emphasizes in his art. He uses a combination of acrylic paint and Sharpie paint markers to create nature-inspired paintings that are both unique and self-expressive.

 

jeffrey-fulvimariJeffrey Fulvimari began his illustration career in 1993 with commissions for Barney’s New York and Interview magazine. He went on to work in all aspect of printed media, and his illustrations have been animated on Nickelodeon, MTV and VH-1, The Food Network, and in numerous television commercials in Japan. He has also produced a broad range of licensed goods in Japan, with popular product lines launched in the United States, the UK, France, Italy, Mexico, and other territories.

 

 

Sharpie Squad HanaIn 2009, Hanna Agar graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and a minor in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  For the past few years, she has been creating a lot of artwork involving the use of recycled paper to create sets, costumes, and props that then get photographed.  Often, Hanna writes all over the paper and has the camera on an interval timer so she can photograph the whole process.  She considers her work “documented performance art.”  In addition to her love of Sharpie markers, Hanna currently works as a photographer doing studio work assignments for Volume One Magazine (an arts and culture magazine in Eau Claire, Wis.) and also freelances. In the spring of 2010, she will be returning to southern India to work as a product designer for a women’s organization called “Blue Mango.”

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Sharpie Books It To “Miami Graffiti” Launch Party

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James and Karla Murray and friend Mike at the launch party of “Miami Graffiti”

James and Karla Murray are professional photographers who began documenting the world of graffiti artists in the mid 1990s. They started first with New York City (and two books about the scene there), and eventually traveled south to Miami where their interest resulted in Miami Graffiti, a new book just out showcasing some of Miami’s most vibrant work.

This is where I have to point out that graffiti has its critics and Sharpie wants to be sure you understand that we don’t condone its use to deface or damage property or hurt or harm people. That’s not the intention of most graffiti artists anyway. The artists featured in the book are clearly people driven by a passion to create. In fact, the majority of the works are located in places that are invisible to the public eye, painted inside abandoned factories and along trackside buildings.  And the graffiti artists seem to like it that way. 

Sharpie was part of the book’s release party in Miami Beach, serving as the official marker of Graffiti Miami. Sharpie markers have been used for years by many graffiti artists to create the works they draw on paper and in their “blackbooks’ (sketchbooks).  Check out the action below:    (For info on where to buy the book, contact Ali Gitlow at Prestel Publishing, agitlow@prestel-usa.com). 

 

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The Crew

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Whole Lotta Sharpie Spinnin’ Going On

Check. It. Out. These kids are kool!  They are The Chi-Town Finest Breakers.  According to their dad, Henry Borjas (a popular DJ on Chicago’s westside), they are the world’s youngest professional breakdancers.

The group is a brother-sister act made up of B-boy Lil Ozone, age 12; B-girl Spinderella, 9; B-boy Lil Turbo, 8; and Boy Crazzy Legz, 7.

Now here’s what makes them super cool in my book.  When DJ Dad Henry contacted me, they had already perfected their Sharpie Spin. This is where B-girl Spinderella performs an amazing feat – she head spins while writing completely legible words with a Sharpie at the same time. It takes a while to get to the big payout on the video, but so worth the wait.  

It also just so happens they are famous!  The group was recently selected for second round auditions for America’s Got Talent.  You’ve got my vote, CTFB!

The group is based in Chicago (Sharpie’s hometown!) and has opened for several famous rap artists, including Common, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and more.  They’ve been getting lots of local media attention, too. DJ Dad Henry says he hopes his kids are sending a positive message about staying off the streets and staying motivated in a positive way through dancing and performing arts. 

I want a cool name like Spinderella. 

For more information on the group or to book a gig, email chi_townfinestbreakers@yahoo.com.

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It’s Never Too Early to Sign with Sharpie: Tori Spelling’s Stella Points To A Winner

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Okay, first things first.  I LOVE how Tori (or her stylist) coordinated her Sharpies – and Stella’s little dress ribbon – to the cover art on her new book, Mommywood. These are the kinds of things that MATTER to moms like me with all the time in the world on their hands (ok, I’m a mom and I have absolutely no time on my hands – or anywhere else for that matter – and still this little color coordination effort just  makes me all happy, so DO NOT dis the perported mom with too much time on her hands – there’s no such thing!).

Anywho, my two teenage daughters watch the Tori & Dean show on Oxygen, and I confess I’ve tuned in myself on occasion.  The show…well…it’s, well, sort of entertaining!  Tori for all her fame and fortune seems kinda real.

Her new book plays up that realness, showing Tori as just another suburban working mom — except that her toddler, Liam, sees her in the pages of Us Weekly.   In the book, Tori talks about how she wants her children to have the one thing she didn’t have as a kid — a normal family.  Tori knows she’s no June Cleaver, but she certainly gives it the ol’ college try, throwing birthday parties and dieting to lose the baby fat before the media catch her in the act of being…normal!

Here’s what Amazon has to say about the book: “With the same down-to-earth wit that made her entertaining memoir sTORI telling a #1 New York Times bestseller, Tori tells the hilarious and humbling stories of life as a mom in the limelight. From learning to be the kind of parent her own mother never was to revealing what it’s like to raise a family while everyone is watching, Mommywood is an irresistible snapshot of celebrity parenthood that you won’t get from the paparazzi.”

Looks like we’ll have to add Mommywood to our collection. Maybe she’ll send me an autographed copy.  I can definitely provide the Sharpie.

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Swedish Singer Signs with Sharpie

dsc_2570I’m all about supporting new talent, so thought I’d introduce you to Beatrice, a well-known artist on the Scandinavian music scene who is starting to make her way on the American music front.   And like every major music artist on the planet, Beatrice uses Sharpie markers to sign autographs for her growing legions of fans.

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Beatrice’s music offers a unique blend of folk, rock, country, and Scandinavian influence. She has studied at the Stockholm Music Conservatory and for many years worked as a demo and back-up singer with some of Sweden’s top-ranking artists, including Carola, Tommy Nilsson, Bosson and Olsen Brothers. Since then Beatrice has expanded her career across the Atlantic.

Check out her sound here.  And when she hits the charts, remember you saw her here first!

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A Beautiful Combination – Sharpie and Book Artist John Clark

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You can read John like a book

I am absolutely enamored with the work of John Clark (see and buy John’s work on Etsy). I’m way oversimpliying when I call what John creates “book art,” but what he does is take vintage books and overlays portraits on the text. The result is a one-of-a-kind “story” – a portrait with a literary history, a story within a story. His work feels Old World and modern at the same time. I am completely in love (with his work, duh).

The nice thing is you can also read John like a book in the interview below…

How did you get started as a portrait artist?

I’ve drawn pretty obsessively since I can remember. I enjoy drawing faces more than anything, and people like seeing themselves. It’s a good fit.

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

I draw film noir inspired Sharpie portraits on vintage book pages. I leave a bit of text floating in the background to add the hint of a story to the piece. I haven’t seen anyone else do what I do, and I’m very happy about that.

How would you describe your style?

Simple, bold, clean and dramatic. As I’ve gotten better with the Sharpies, I’ve been able to keep the lines progressively more crisp, and sometimes people mistake my work for altered photographs or photoshop trickery, which is awesome. It’s all hand drawn though, just me and my markers.

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

It started as a shortcut. I was planning on doing these pieces in just pen and ink and simply planned on getting the style down with Sharpie before I moved to the India Ink. I tried the ink and it just didn’t sit well on the old book page, it looked glossy and didn’t soak in evenly. The pieces I had completed in practice with Sharpie looked great though. The ink soaked in to the page and didn’t bleed as much as I thought it would. I started using a drafting pen around the edges to contain the bleed and get sharp angles and lines. Now that the Sharpie pens are available, I’m proud to say the pieces are now completely drawn with Sharpies.

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

I like the way the ink soaks into the page and the variety of tip sizes. I actually start with the big black areas of the page filling in with the Chisel Tips. As I get to the edges I fill in as much as I can with the classic Fine Point sharpies and finish it off sometimes with the ultra fine point, but usually straight to the Sharpie Pen.

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?

Folks usually want custom pieces done of themselves more than anything. I have a ton of fun with it and always consider it quite flattering. I think people like the mystery of the bits of text and the overall class of the work. Above all I’m striving to make something that would look pretty hanging on your wall and I think people appreciate that.

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

It’s pretty simple. I just draw the portrait out with Sharpies after a quick, very light, pencil sketch. It varies wildly in the time it takes. Sometimes start to finish I’m done in an hour, sometimes it takes me four or five hours to get a piece looking like I saw it in my head.

What are your inspirations?

The imagery of film noir, the language of old mystery novels, the work of many, many comic book and graffiti artists and the artists of classic pulp novel covers.

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

I don’t have a particular statement. I’m just trying to make aesthetically pleasing work with a bit of a story and a lot of mystery. I want people to look at my pieces and decide what must have just happened or what the subject is going to do next.

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

My work is simple and bold, and does have writing in it, so sure.

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