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 footprints 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 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)
Do 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?
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.
Are 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?
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.
Tell 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.