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Media Connections

Connection connoisseur, James Schaffer

Fellow Sharpie employee and guest blogger, Stephanie Markadonatos, is back to chat with Sharpie artist, James Schaffer. James keeps it all connected through his art and we are excited to continue the link and share him with all of you.

As we all know, Social Media is the new driving force to keep us connected and up to date with our friends, family, and interests. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the many other social networks and blogs (even this one) floating around in cyberspace, we communicate to millions in seconds. The exposure of our thoughts, feelings, and ideas are put out there for all to see with a simple “Click”. The influence of internet media and how we connect has become a new chapter in the communication world.  What if the internet and the social media phenomenon weren’t around? Would we still be able to feel connected to people at the level we are able to now?

Today’s featured artist, James A. Schaffer, feels that we are all connected and the internet is one major media influence that can never fully be deleted. Get ready to learn how James uses both print and digital art to express our connectedness….

FEATURED SHARPIE ARTIST: JAMES A SCHAFFER

Can you give us a little background about yourself? I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where I currently reside and work. I am a recent graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, with a bachelor in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. I have been interested in art since I was around 5 years old. When I was young I often got sick, so I always had a sketchbook nearby to keep me busy. My mother always took me to art classes as I grew up which kept me interested in the Arts.

What attracts to the fine arts? Other than being exposed early in life, I suppose I like the idea of creating something, and then allowing viewers to experience that thing. Instead of expressing myself in front of a live audience, I do enjoy being “behind the scenes” in a sense.

Can you tell me your thoughts on being an Artist?
I am an artist in every aspect of my life. To me, there is no separation. Therefore, this is the life that I was determined to live. I paint in order to live. It provides a relief and gives a fulfillment that nothing else can.

Where does your inspiration to create come from? A lot of my inspiration comes from abstract expressionist artists such as: Rauschenberg, De Kooning, Kline, Pollock, Motherwell, and Basquiat. My ultimate go to are two documentaries on Jean Michel Basquiat: “The Radiant Child” and “Basquiat”. Any time I see Jeans work ethic and the way he paints, it always forces me up and creating. I also like to travel and visit art museums.

How long does it take you to create your art?           
The time it takes to create a painting varies from piece to piece. I generally work on mine for over a span of several weeks, dedicating a few hours each day until I am complete. It typically takes an average of about 25 hours to fully complete a piece of art.

Tell me about your favorite museums you visited and why they stood out from others? Two that I truly enjoy are The Warhol Museum, which is in my hometown and the Whitney Museum in New York. I always had a liking for Andy Warhol and it always has interesting contemporary artists. Whitney Museum is not overwhelming like many of the other institutions in New York. I do hope to make it back to New York soon to visit the Museum of Modern Art for the De Kooning show. 

What attracted you to use Sharpie products in your works of art? There are several reasons why Sharpie markers are a favorite tool of mine. Most importantly, I feel quite comfortable and familiar with markers. Secondly, the ink and color of the ink drew me in. The colors are so bold and vivid, making it an easy choice for me as an artist.

What is your top Sharpie product?
I would say my favorite Sharpie product is the traditional blue Sharpie.

Feels good to be number 1

Can you explain how you feel everything is connected? I feel that nowadays, people’s interests and lives are multi faceted. As well as with the mega presence of things like the internet, we are more aware of what is going on with other people’s lives and other topics which before we may have not been exposed to.

What are your thoughts on communication, Internet and art – how are they linked?
We are all culturally closer than we have ever been before. Social interactions have been expanded in a way that would be impossible without the technology that we have at our fingertips. The goal of the internet is communication just like art. The two aren’t so far apart as people might think.  Both are used as tools to communicate a message.

How do you portray the media and connectedness in your art? By creating chaotic scenes. Media and our lives are all intertwined creating chaos.  Once my art is complete, I will review and decide if any marks need to be deleted or pushed back into the background. I make these decisions based on my reaction to the visual and various aesthetic qualities. The internet comes into effect again on the idea “things are always present even if you try to cover them up”. If a person posts a message, photo, or post, there’s no telling on who will see it and where it will end up. Even if we try to delete something, search engines and other tools still can dig up old information. We are connected through the media in ways in which sometimes we are not even made aware of.

Any advice you would like to pass along? I believe as it was taught to me, that each painting (or whatever art you choose) should be better than the previous one. This supports the idea of growth as an artist.

 Thank you to James A. Schaffer. For more on James and samples of his art visit his website at http://jamesaschaffer.com/ or follow him on Twitter at: twitter.com/jschaffer

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Classic Marker; New Media

Our intern, Caitlin ( @inktern), has continued to earn her Sharpie stripes, and after doing a great job on her first interview, she is taking another crack at the blog! Read on for Caitlin’s interview with Sharpie artist Nicole Bishopp.

It used to be difficult to get your art work out for the world to see.  Art galleries, art shows or maybe the occasional print article was an artist’s best chance at gaining a following. The digital world and social media has changed all that. Today’s featured Sharpie artist shows us how.

Nicole Bishopp is a mom, an illustrator, a social media enthusiast and most importantly (at least in terms of this blog) a Sharpie Marker artist. She maintains a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog and a Tumblr all dedicated to her artwork. Nicole embraces the far reaching potential of social media outlets to showcase her art to the world. Constantly updating her Facebook page with new work for fans to comment on,  her social outlets allow Nicole the opportunity to sell her artwork and create custom pieces for those interested.

                                       

Expressing her feelings through the intricate details of her work, she never sets out to draw something specific, it is common for her work to become mesmerizing and for different creatures to appear as her drawings advance. The thick, bold, expressive lines of her art are amazingly done with simply the classic black Sharpie Marker. The Sharpie family may have dozens of colors to choose from, but Nicole makes her statement with the original black Sharpie Fine Marker. Her work helps show what you can start with even the most basic Sharpie Marker.

Here is some more of what Nicole had to say: 

How did you get started using Sharpie Markers: I have always loved drawing with Sharpie markers. I have tried every marker out there and Sharpie is the best because it has the crispest line and one marker will last me an entire drawing.

Where do your ideas for your pieces come from: Most of my ideas just happened. I draw and things appear in the drawings. I draw to express my feelings. I would have to say the tone of my work is mesmerizing, mind melting, a puzzle for the eyes, psychedelic maybe, in your face (bold), makes a statement.

How long does it take to do a piece: Surprisingly it only takes a good 4-5 hours to complete one drawing. Sometimes I will start a drawing and stop half way and then finish it the next day. I never start over I just draw over something if I don’t like the way it looks.

How the heck do you keep up with all your digital sites: Actually, I spent a lot of time learning about online marketing and it actually all links together. Plus the key is having a smart phone. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the posts and such on Facebook if I didn’t have my DRIODX.

What’s Your Motivation: I started drawing again after the birth of my son. There were many sleepless nights so drawing was my way to stay sane during that period. Then it turned into “my time” to get away from the daily routine. Now it’s just to relax and to unravel from the day’s events.

Favorite Sharpie: Hands down the Original Fine Point Black! The point on this pen can do super tiny detail to big areas all in one drawing.    

   

Your work was just featured in a few galleries. How cool was that?: I just started putting my stuff out there is March of this year and it’s amazing how quickly it was received by the Facebook art community. It was so cool to see people request my work to be featured! Every time I get a feature it just makes me want to do better and create something even more amazing.

                                              

Where is your career heading: Well currently I am working on a lot of commission requests and getting my work ready to show in Fort Collins, Colorado and Wenatchee, Wash. I am also planning on launching some new products with my designs in the fall/winter.

If there was one place your art could take you, where would it be: I think it would be really fun to own my own product line with my designs that businesses could use on their products (for example surf, skate, snow shops) as well as on like t-shirts, skateboards, shoes, really anything you could put a design on.

Want to learn more about Nicole? You can find her on Twitter and Facebook or contact her via e-mail at nicole.bishopp@gmail.com.

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Sharpie is Taking Over YouTube

Ready to show the world what you started with Sharpie and be featured on the home page of YouTube?  Well, get ready, because here’s your chance.

On Saturday, August 27th Sharpie will stage a one-day takeover of YouTube’s home page and showcase the countless unique items that fans, just like you,  have started with Sharpie. 

Just imagine- for one day only, thousands of Sharpie images will come together to create,  not only one epic, and interactive, mosaic featuring all consumer submitted work, but a statement where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  And don’t worry about being lost in the crowd– you will be able to find your individual submission through a simple search field, or scroll the full image landscape for a truly unique Sharpie experience.

Grab a Sharpie marker, pen,  liquid pencil or highlighter and be a part of the takeover, visit www.sharpie.com for more details and to submit what you started.

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Good Bot, Bad Bot

They say one day robots will take over the world… But who are they anyway? And why are they teeing up robots as bad guys? What if they were good? What if robots didn’t necessarily take over the world, but were more of our buddies? What if they brought joy, followed you around giving compliments on say, your pants or a school project? What if robots offered great advice or boosted your confidence? What if…

Thanks to today’s featured artist, that “what if” just turned into “what is.” Addicted to Sharpie Oil-Based Paint markers, Gary Hirsch has assembled an army of androids that love, caffeinate, knit, stop time, even give you permission to be a bit callous now and then.

Hirsch, creator of Joy Bots took time to answer our Sharpie Q&A. Warning, it’s a bit lengthy but a guaranteed good read!

Featured Sharpie Artist: Gary Hirsch

Tell me about yourself!  Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? My life has been made up of a series of collisions: I am an actor (improviser) and a business consultant/facilitator, and a painter, and a Dad, and a wanna-be marine biologist. I collide all of them in various ways…it’s never a dull moment. I found (really co-founded) a mini-micro-national, creative consultancy called On Your Feet. We use highly experiential methods from the world of improvisation, and elsewhere, to help organizations communicate, create and relate—all while having a ridiculously good time. Before On Your Feet I was an improv performer (still am), painter (still am), and t-shirt artist (nope gave that one up).

I am best know in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon (I am an ex- Cleveland Heights, Ohio guy) for a large public art commission that the city asked me to create in 1996; it’s called Upstream Downtown- eighteen giant aluminum fish that hang from the open spaces of one of Portland’s ugliest parking garages, hopefully the fish make it a little more beautiful.

Upstream Downtown

Likes: The Ali G Show, Peach Tazo, Baba Ganoush, Radio Lab, The Moth, A Sunday night show of AsssCat performed a The Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC or L.A., my son’s band Meet Your Monster, and I am a sucker for the video series “Where the Hell is Matt”, the guy that dances seemingly in every country on the planet (my daughter rolls her eyes whenever I watch it because I inevitably cry every time and whisper things like “ yes….this gives me hope….”). 

Peeves: Anything passive aggressive. 

How did you get started as an artist?   When I was growing up I had a lot of nightmares. You know, your basic, run of the mill nightmares- giant hands swooping down from the attic, grabbing you out of bed and swallowing you whole, where he would land in a stomach that was really a grave yard populated by zombies, yeah those kind of nightmares…On these nights when I couldn’t sleep I would sit with my father in the kitchen and draw the monsters from his nightmares. We would stay up for hours and my Dad would help me name these creatures (My parents saved all of these doodles, I still think they are some of my best work). Once during a late night doodling session my father leaned over and said, “You know, if you can create them, then you can also erase them.” So I would draw and erase and after a while the nightmares would come a bit less frequently.  I never stopped doodling since. 

 

How would you describe your personal style? I am a doodler at heart. I must doodle to survive, period. This got me into a lot of trouble in school, because teachers always thought I wasn’t paying attention when I was scribbling in the margins of my notebook. But I was, I really was Mrs. White! Years later I saw an article that found that some people listen better when they are doodling….yes! Vindicated! 

Where do you draw inspiration from?  There is an army of artists that I am in awe of: Goya, Haring, Beckman, Dubuffet, Scharf, Baseman. Last year, I attended Tim Burton’s visual art exhibition at the MOMA and that was enough to keep my inspiration gas tank easily full these past 7 months. The thing that all of these masters of their craft have in common is that their work is all about stories. I am addicted to stories. I dive deeply into the world of story and narrative, mostly through my experiences as an improv theater performer. What keeps interesting me is the idea of incomplete story…of starting something and inviting the audience to finish it, to co-create it with me. Sure, I have something in mind when I paint…..but so do you when you look at the painting. I love that a single piece of stimulus can ignite a flood of ideas and stories. 

A-Ten-Hut!

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?  Discovering the Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker was a revelation, really (and I am not just saying that because you are Sharpie, that would very brown nosey)! It was kind of like a divine intervention from the art gods. I needed something with vivid color, fast drying that could work on a domino….viola, prayers answered! 

Favorite Sharpie. Why? I’m currently having a love affair with Sharpie Extra-Fine Oil-Based Paint Markers. Beautiful, consistent line, allows me to get small and tight with details, dries amazingly fast, and sticks to everything….cue the music I feel an endorsement coming on! 

What is it about robots that you love so much?  I had this idea about 5 years ago: Imagine that you had an imaginary robot that followed you around all day and gave you outrageous compliments. It was a fun idea to imagine, so I included it in an illustrated journal that we made for our On Your Feet clients and gave them out when we were running innovation and creativity sessions. This image of a robot that follows you around giving you compliments keep haunting me…I mean seriously, how cool would that be? It would be invisible and only you would know it was there and it would say things to you like “ Nice pants” or “That was a smart thing to do” or “You made the right choice.”  So this year, I thought, “Let’s make the robots real” and after playing with several surfaces, we stumbled on the domino. Now instead of an invisible robot you have a small pocket robot.   

Bundle of Bots

What does one do with an army of robots? What do the robots do for me? This tiny robot army is programmed to bring you joy! Each Joy Bot is hand-painted, on-of-a-kind pocket friend. 

To activate simply:

  1. Allow your robot to get to know you by placing him on your desk, kitchen counter or cubicle or wherever you spend the most amount of time.
  2. Wait until he notices something about you (it won’t take long) and then listen while he tells* you how wonderful you are, or how much he loves you, or how brave you have been, etc. (what he says depends on the type of robot you have selected). (see attached image of a sample of the operating instructions that come with every Joy Bot)
  3. Take him with you everywhere you go for the maximum domino effect.

* The robots don’t really talk (’cause they’re painted dominoes) but you can imagine that they do. 

Pop Quiz! What Bot is this?

There are 10 types of Joy Bots:

  • Love Bot: Programmed To Love You
  • Joy Bot: Programmed to Make You Feel Great
  • Brave Bot: Programed To Give Your Confidence a Jolt
  • Listening Bot: Programmed To Listen To You, Unconditionally
  • Yes Bot: Programmed To Say “Yes” To Anything You Say
  • Mean Bot: Programmed to Give You Permission To Be a little petty, mean, or whiny
  • Caffeine Bot: Programmed To Wake You Up
  • Knitting Bot: Programmed To Make You a Knitting Sensation
  • Time Bot: Programmed to Stop Time (so you can re-live great moments or erase bad moments)
  • Advice Bot: Gives you Outrageously Useful Advice

What is your favorite bot? I’m a big fan of The Time Bot. It stops time so you can go back and erase a stupid mistake or relive a wonderful moment. A very useful ability, I would say. 

Time Bots

What is the Caffeine Bot’s favorite kind of caffeine?  No surprise, it’s coffee. I made them to accompany an exhibition of paintings that I was having in my neighborhood at a local coffee shop. I imagined that having a Caffeine Bot would help me reduce my coffee consumption because they are programmed to Wake You Up. (no such luck, still pouring down the coffee.) 

Caffeine Bots

If your Joy Bots had a theme song what would it be?  No brainer….Robot Parade, by They Might Be Giants, one of my kid’s favorite songs! Also love Birdhouse In The Soul by TMBG as well, either work. 

Why is the Mean Bot so mean?! He’s there to give you permission to be a little mean, or petty, or “snivelly”…S ometimes we just have to vent…The Mean Bot  lets you express the darker side, without shame. 

Mean Bots

How do you come up with all of the robots? It’s all about the story they tell the viewer. I want to make Bots that can give you advice, tell you how wonderful you are, or stop. The idea is that they all have to help you have a conversation with yourself. Of course, the Bots don’t actually talk but still people have told me things like, “My Bot just encouraged me to take risk” or “I felt great today because my Bot told me to how nice and helpful I am to my business partner.” I had one woman contact me for a set of Brave Bots for her family to help them who with coping with the recent death of a loved one. Are these people crazy? Of course not, they are just realizing something about themselves. The Bots don’t actually talk, but something about them allows people to imagine that they do, and somehow gives voice to a few, small and hopefully wonderful tid-bits about themselves. 

What’s in the future for Joy Bots?  Not sure, they really do have a life of their own. I don’t have a ton of time to make them right now because I’m so busy with my consulting work, so any painting time is a luxury and a treat. I love making small batches of limited editions when I get spare moments. I have been approached to mass produce them for the gift market, but I can’t see doing that, it is such a joy to strap on my head phones with a podcast from Radio Lab, or The Moth, listen to a wonderful story. Let my mind wander, and slowly paint, not knowing what will emerge until the final stroke of the pen. I will just keep making them, and showing them to whoever is interested and let the rest work itself out. 

Knit Bots Listening Bots

Do you have any advice for other artists? Oy, I hate questions like this because it assumes I know WTF I am doing. I guess I would say what I say to my 16 year old son who is trying to break into the music industry and that is, Make the call. If someone says “you should call me,” DO IT. If something happens don’t ponder if it is “good” or “bad,” ask yourself “What can I do with this?” This is ingrained in me from all of my improv work. Improvisers are masters at using what they have and turning nothing into something. I see opportunity in lots of things; I would encourage other artists to turn down the dial on their own self judgment, notice more around them and use it as an opportunity. 

How can I get a bot? Right now I sell at few galleries across the country and on my art site, www.doodlehouse.com. You can also go directly to my Etsy site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/GaryHirschartshop 

Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add? Sure, but this interview is way too long as it is. I’m an extravert and have to talk to think, so thanks for letting me blab!

Thanks again to Gary for the EXCELLENT interview! Be sure to check out the Joy Boy website and build your own BOT army!

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Featured Artist: Joseph Carpenter

Joseph Carpenter is a UK based Sharpie artist with a wide array of interests from extreme sports, to music, to art. It is his interest in self-expression and creativity, however that brings him to the Sharpie Blog as our featured artist of the day. Incorporating Sharpie markers allows Carpenter to capture thick lines, smooth lines and pay attention to detail. Mixing traditional with digital tools, this artist creates brilliant images for various U.K. bands, brands and agencies alike. Get to know Joseph and have a look at some of his work below.  

Tell me about yourself:  Well, my name is Joseph Carpenter and my day job is an assistant printer but I spent three years at the University of Bath studying Illustration. These days I spend most of my spare time within illustration creating new pieces or generally doodling ideas for new bits of work. I’m a massive fan of extreme sports and surround myself with people who share similar interests; this passion extends into music which is where the majority of my work has been commissioned from. I don’t really get on with over opinionated people although I’ll always make the effort – the same applies for overly aggressive people! I also dislike money because I never have enough. 

  

How would you describe your personal style?  Proper tough question…… my style is sort of all over the place, I guess its origins are in my childhood like most artists but in some respects I never really grew up, I have become more experienced in my understandings of how to use light and the difference between thicknesses in line and how much that can bring things to life. If I was going to pin point it, I suppose it’s a cross over between Graphic novel art and 80’s Cartoons. It’s never been a conscious thing just ended up that way! 

You Me At SIX

 Scrolling through your site, it seems you have an affinity for posters. Where does this interest come from? Who do you create them for? Poster art, haha… My “passion” (as its been previously described) for posters, has never been a passion as such I fell into it. While I was at University I started producing posters for the manager of my band at the time for the venue he was promoting for, it was something that me and my house mate spent a lot of time on together under the name ZEDISDEAD, Chris (Rowland) and myself had a really great start in the industry producing posters for band such as ACROSS FIVE APRILS, O.P.M and ZEBRAHEAD. After a while we started getting labels and bands personally interested in one off posters for shows. We then went our own separate ways and its really from then on I started getting more involved. I ended up doing posters for WHEATUS, BLEEDING THROUGH and doing album art work for WE ARE THE OCEAN and more recently T-shirts for YOU ME AT SIX.  

What is your creation & design process like?  This part varies from time to time. As I’ve grown up I’ve started to actually map ideas out before I ink anything and I’ll always pitch mood boards to clients, consisting of work I like and work that I hope they like! From there, the ideas go back and forth until the client is happy. I’ll ink it, do a rough colour, and then get it checked… then I go ahead and finish it off. It’s pretty basic but it works for me .  

Where do Sharpie markers come into your work?  Sharpie markers are an essential part of my inking process. I’ll use them to boarder the image using the marker as a thick edge and then I’ll use the finer point to fill in the detail. It’s the middle point of my work but without it the line work would look shabby and blotchy. I find that Sharpie markers draw a consistent line and don’t fade out as I follow my pencil line, this is essential in creating a smooth line which is a must my mind.  

  

Favorite Sharpie?  Why?  I suppose I’m a bit basic but I love the classic Fine Point just because it delivers so much from one style of nib, and I can ink most of the sections of my work with one pen instead of a selection. I also mainly use black ink as most of my work is digitally coloured.  

I also reeeaaallllyyy want a Stainless Steel Marker but I haven’t found one yet!  

What’s your favorite drawing/design that you’ve ever created?  My favorite (see below) is a personal piece of work that was sketched up in my first year of University. It was the start of me finding myself as an illustrator… No one else got it but it just combined everything I loved and I used all my favorite processes to create it. I even have it on my business card now!  

 

If you could only draw one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?  This is easy, I’d draw birds! Birds are awesome, actually awesome. They all look different, they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. You can be super intricate or really simple and they still look awesome. Always loved drawing them and they drop in and out of my work, but I literally doodle birds faces all day at work.  

Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten:  “Don’t expect to get rich.” This is a daft comment out of context but it has helped me to not be disillusioned about how the industry works. All I care about is that I can be as expressive as I like and I’m consistently creative - which if I were in an office job, I would be unhappy – on more money, but not happy.  

Motto to live by:  

    Do or do not, there is no try.

- Yoda (Star Wars movie)  

Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?  Right now, I’m working on a set of animal drawings for the summer. I asked a bunch of friends to help me out with ideas and I’m putting together a set that will be gifts for everyone but also a personal project that I’ve tried to but together for ages.  

Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?Big shout out to my friends Iain Macarthur and Chris Rowland, with out them I wouldn’t be where I am now. Please check their work out too:  

Cheeeeeerrss!!!  

Big thanks to the Carpenter for taking time to Uncap What’s Inside on the Sharpie Blog! You can find more on Joe at Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!

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Tote Self-Expression to School

Handing over the mic this morning to Sharpie Intern, Jacque Smith.  A ’09 grad, Jacque majored in PR at Illinois State University with minors in French and International Studies (pretty impressive, eh!?). With a love for new technology and all things social, “Jack-attack” has been helping the team stay on top of new trends and hot topics in the ever-changing social space.

Recently, Jacque had the chance to lead a Q&A with potentially one of our youngest and ever-so talented Sharpie Artists, Miriah Garnett…

 

Sharpie fanatics would agree: give someone a Sharpie and expect  INKspiration! Read how Miriah Garnett created a stylish design on her sister’s book bag (that got the sister seal of approval), her other Sharpie uses, and Miarah’s advice to other young artists:

Tell me about yourself:

I’m Miriah Garnett, an International Baccalaureate student at North Hagerstown High School. I love to listen to music. It’s a big part of my life. Along with music, I enjoy painting, decorating, doing my nails, scrap booking, reading, texting, and of course shopping.  I am a big fan of R&B, hip-hop, pop, and old school music. I’m a fan of M&Ms, especially the new pretzel kind. I’m a huge Twilight fan. I have read all the books and I am anxiously awaiting the premier of the 4th movie, Breaking Dawn. Some things I don’t like are: stinkbugs (they’re really gross), country music and gory horror movies.

What year in school are you?  Any favorite classes?  Extra-curriculars?

I am in the Eleventh grade. My favorite class is Biology, because I really enjoy sciences and plan to go into the medical field when I’m older. I am involved in the art and scrap-booking clubs at my school.

What inspired you to design a book bag for your sister?

In Kindergarten, it has been a sort of tradition to decorate your tote bag for school, which is something I even did as a kid. So, my little sister Armani (being the girlie girl that she is) wanted a cute design for her book bag. To get some ideas, we went to our local fabric store to look for some pretty prints or designs for some inspiration. We found one that was pink with doodles. Using this design, I incorporated my own twist to it and went all out decorating the whole book bag in this manner.

Of all art supplies, why Sharpie?  What made you choose to customize the backpack with Sharpie markers?

I chose Sharpie because, since my mom is an art teacher, we have always trusted Sharpies to have precise lines and long lasting effects. Sharpies have also always had bright and vibrant colors that I love.

Have you customized any other school supplies or accessories?

I use Sharpie markers to label school supplies and clothes, make card designs, when organizing, to color Shrinky Dinks, to sign t-shirts, and to draw temporary tattoos.

What goes into designing a backpack? How long does it take?

Designing a book bag is actually a very simple, easy, and creative way to design something by adding your own unique touch. In order to design one all you need to know is what you want to create on your book bag and what Sharpie colors you would like to use. Depending on how intricate the design is will determine how long it will take to finish the book bag. The designs could range from flower patterns, to a drawing of your favorite sports team’s logo. The possibilities are limitless.

Dad, Mom, and Armani show off her new, stylish bookbag

How did your sister react to your Sharpie masterpiece?My sister absolutely ♥loved the book bag. It was cute and girlie and was everything she was hoping for. It was definitely something we would not have found in the store.

Top 5 essential items that are always in your book bag:

  1. Books (I’ve never gone home from school without books—ever!)
  2. My huge, graphing display calculator
  3. Different colored pens and pencils, including my Sharpie markers
  4. Portable hole punch
  5. USB flash drive

Aside from customizing some really cool backpacks, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time?

As I said before , I love listening to music. I am also a big fan of shopping for shoes. Even just shopping in general “floats my boat.” I also love to design and paint my own nails. It’s something I have started doing for a year or two and really enjoy. It’s a different way of expressing yourself.

One last question… are you a fan of Glee or High School Musical? What character do you relate to the most & of all the cast members, who would you most want to design a backpack for?!

I’m a fan of High School Musical! My obsession phase is very much over, but I can still sing any song by heart . I would have to say that of all the characters, I relate to Gabriella Montez the most because of having to transfer to a new school and meet different people. I can also relate to her “nerdy” side because of being part of the IB program. If I could design a backpack for someone, it would have to Sharpay Evans because of her bold and unique style—it is a style within itself.

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Sharpie Edition Ducati

    What do a duck, nuclear power plant safety inspector and a walking-talking robot have in common? Other than being famous icons in pop culture, each of these figures hold a prominent place in a very unique design. 
    Jody Whitsell not only rides motorcycles, she customizes them, creating unique works of art – and with Sharpie markers no less! Incorporating various shapes and patterns into her designs, Whitsell cleverly integrates iconic characters including Daffy Duck, Homer Simpson & C-3PO into her designs.  Well known for her colorful dog portraits, Jody went for a classic black and white theme when customizing her bike and motorcycle helmets.
    Whitsell has always felt an incredible passion to create and it doesn’t look like she’s slowing down anytime soon.  Take a seat Sharpie fans, you’re in for a wild ride with today’s featured Sharpie artist!
 

Sharpie Edition Ducati

  

Tell me about yourself:  

My name is Jody Whitsell and I live in Warwick, N.Y.  I’ve never been called “average” or “normal” and I like it that way!! 

How did you get started as an artist?  What kind of experience do you have? 

I use to always color and draw as a kid – especially animals.  Here’s a quick story.  In third grade I had an assignment to write a report on an animal of my choice and draw the animal on the cover of the report.  I had so much fun doing the report that I did 7 animal reports!  Fast forward to Ramsey High School (N.J.) where I get the Senior Art Award and then go to William Paterson College (N.J.) where I majored in you guessed it. Art!  Getting a job at a picture framing shop introduced me to lots of artwork, but I wasn’t ready to do anything but my framing job, as I had 2 sons to raise. Once they got out of high school, I got the itch to get out the paints. I guess being an artist or a creative person, you can’t stop yourself from doing creative things.  Sometimes I feel it’s a CURSE as I am always looking for “projects” especially around the house to appease these creative impulses. I have large murals and faux finishes in EVERY room of my house. “PUT DOWN THE PAINT BRUSH!” I sometimes have to say to myself! 

Describe your personal style: 

I’d have to say it’s a really fun style, and I like to make myself and others SMILE!  They say that artists paint what they know, and I know animals and especially love dogs, so I decided to paint my dog in crazy colors, and everyone just loved it because it was so different.  That’s how I got my start in the “paying” art world. 

But I do have a very realistic, tight style of painting too, which I like to do between the doing the dog portraits. Like I said… I am COMPELLED to paint or create! 

 
 
 

  

 

What does black & white achieve that a broader array of color would not on these particular canvases? 

With the black and white, it’s more graphic and I really loved taking my graphic design courses in college, but that was a LONG time ago!  I like the crispness of the design, and using only the black and white, I had to really look at the balance of dark and light, patterns, text, and drawings and how they related to each other, which was challenging.  My husband laughed at me and said “you spend more time LOOKING at the helmet than you spend DRAWING on it!” and that’s because I was always analyzing the design! 

What is your process like?  How long did it take you to customize the Ducati? Helmets? 

Well, I start with a list of things I want to put on the helmet/bike.  I then choose the best place on the helmet for the most important item that’s going on. I then work around that item to fill in the space as aesthetically balanced as I can, with the design items that I choose.  I like to use dots, arrows, stripes, and stars, in my “patterns” that I repeat as “fill in” between the text and images that me or my client wants. 

My helmet took me 20 hours, and my bike took me 75 hours (because I got better and faster at it!!) 

 

  

 You sell custom Sharpie helmets on  www.bigdawgzsquared.com.  What’s the strangest/funniest request you’ve had from a customer? 

It’s interesting for me to see the things that mean a lot to my clients and hear their story.  You never know what’s behind someone’s smile – both good and heartbreaking.  I think the “Iron Butt Association” logo was something funny someone wanted on their helmet! 

Your typical Chicken vs. the Egg question: Which came first the bike or the helmet? 

The helmet.  I got such a great price on my white Arai helmet that I couldn’t NOT buy it, but once I put it on, I felt like a Star Wars “Storm Trooper”!! I knew I had to do something about THAT, so my son suggested I “Sharpie it”.  Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about what I wanted to put on my helmet. In my mind, it was like a white canvas just crying out to become something interesting and different!! 

 

  

How do you use Sharpie markers in your art?   

I first have to scuff the surface of the helmet to more readily accept the marker, and make it easier for me to pre-sketch the important and complex images (the pencil shows up well).  I love the feel of the marker sliding across the surface and how nice and black, and crisp it is against the white of the helmet, so I guess it’s kinda tactile too for me as well as visual! 

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

Fine Point – definitely!! I love the pointy-ness (is that a word?!) of it. It kinda looks like it might make a thicker line than it actually does.  It gives me great control both drawing, and filling in.  When the point got a little “mashed down” to where it wasn’t pointy enough, I would take a blue sharpie and mark THAT marker with a blue dot so I knew that I was only to use that marker as “fill in”. When that marker got even more flattened, I would mark it with a pink marker, and use it as a larger area “fill in”, so I had quite the “marker system” going on!  So even though I was working in black and white, it was also blue and pink I was looking for! 

  

You incorporate some very famous characters, Daffy Duck & Homer Simpson, Stewie from Family Guy, C3PO… Is there a specific reason for these characters? 

 

Their “smile” factor!!!  For me… I AM Daffy Duck, and I put Daffy on ALL my stuff – he’s completely out of his mind! 

The rest of them just make me smile and laugh, and what’s better than THAT?  With all that’s going on to look at and read on my Ducati,  I got really playful and thought it would be fun for people to look for a specific character, and who better to hide amongst all the madness, but Waldo?  People get a kick out of trying to find him!  

What are some of your favorite drawings or written sayings on the Ducati?   

Stewie from Family Guy holding Sharpies in each hand saying… “Do you realize what the deuce you’re looking at? A MARKER I tell you!” has got to be my favorite drawing with text.  So many are my favorites as they were chosen by me very carefully!  They are personal, and tell the story of who I am.  On the back of my front fender it says… “Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube” and I agree totally! 

Proudest accomplishment to date: 

I could say having my bike shown in Cycle World magazine, or being published with my paintings, but I really am proud and thankful of my gift of making people happy (while having fun myself ) doing what I truly love to do. 

Motto to live by: 

WHATEVER  you do… make YOUR mark.

Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?!  

I have orders for helmets and paintings, but I have a few ideas rolling around my head as how to out-do my bike,  but it AIN’T GONNA BE EASY!  (and YES, it DOES include just a few Sharpie markers!!) 

 

 

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One Pearl Button Inks it Pink

Sharpie Squad member, Alli Whitmore aka One Pearl Button wrote a wonderful PINK post on her blog today.

Not only does Alli show off her pretty pink signature for Sharpie’s INK IT PINK program, she also includes some of her favorite pink moments for inspiration:

Join Alli, the rest of theSharpie Squad and so many others and submit your Pink autograph to SharpieUncapped.com!  For every pink autograph submitted, Sharpie will donate $1 to City of Hope, breast cancer, research and education center.

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Who Is The Bald Guy?

Sharpie Artist. Designer. Master of the Tweet. Media Enthusiast. Bald Brilliance.  

Today’s featured artist is Michael Krivicka and I think you will come to find these adjectives suit him rather well.  Krivicka, aka Who is the Bald Guy, is not limited to creating only with his Sharpie though… This artist takes on all sorts of artistic endeavors - From animation to PSAs, smart phone apps to Twitter campaigns, he even proposed to his now fiancée on WEtv! Read on to find out exactly who this bald guy really is…

Michael Krivicka

Tell me about yourself!  My name is Michael Krivicka and I am a video producer living & working in New York City. I was born in Slovakia in 1976 and went to high school in Germany from 1986. I moved to the US in 1996 for college and graduated summa cum laude from NJCU with a BA in Media Arts in 2000. While working in NYC as a video editor I started creating short films and submitting them to festivals. I am constantly working on something. Even when I can’t sleep at night I start creating things – drawings, writings, scripting out video projects. I can not “not do” anything. I have to create. All the time.  

How would you describe your personal style?  My personal style is raw and gritty. A bit dark sometimes. I never create something just because it looks cool. There is always a message or expression. It has to have a certain feel of realism. Like New York City – it feels real. Every building is real – has a history, has a life. If you compare it with LA for example, then LA seems fake – it seems made up and made pretty and comfortable for other people’s happiness. I recently made this anti-smoking PSA which is targeted at urban teens: Smoking Skills It’s raw and gritty.  

What is your creation & design process like?  I create on impulse. I get an idea and want to drop everything I’m doing at that moment and jump right into creating that idea. Some things, like my Sharpie animations for example, take a while to create. Days or even weeks. While other people would shoot themselves in the head, I find a certain peace in the very long and detailed oriented creation process. I always have a very clear end result in mind, but I find myself altering things as I create them.

Where do Sharpie markers come into your work?  They are an essential part of my every day life. It can be anything from taking a simple note on a piece of paper to creating an elaborate animation project. (BTW I used hundreds of Sharpie markers for the two animations I created for Sharpie. Yes – hundreds.) 

When did you come up with the idea for this Sharpie commercial?  What is the concept behind it?  Not too long ago I had a blog. On that blog I started writing about ideas for ads and entire ad campaigns. One of the brands I blogged about was Sharpie. Instead of writing about the ad campaign idea I decided to create two of the ads that I pictured being part of the campaign concept, which was a series of art works created with Sharpies (drawings, animations, sculptures, etc…) The tagline was “Create Life”. So I created these two very different animation pieces. That was that. The broad idea was to create user generated content and turn it into ads. That would give artists and every day Joes like me a chance to submit Sharpie creations, have them be voted on, and get a chance to be selected as part of a series (which was the ad campaign). So the commercials would be actual art works by real people. It would add the “real human touch” to things. I thought it was a pretty good idea. Here are both clips:

 

  

The second one is rotoscope animation. I recorded myself on video first and then animated the individual frame.  Here are some pics:

Michael, bringing his vision to life

Michael, Uncapping What's Inside

I first saw your video a while back, just stumbled upon it and thought it was cool.  Then one day, I find you striking up a convo on Twitter about your “Sharpie Commercial: Butterfly at Night”.  (Cool, I’ve connected with the artist!)  That’s not it though, after digging around I find that you’ve got a little something going on in the Twitter-verse…  Tell me about what you are trying to achieve on Twitter.

Glad you took notice :) I was hoping someone from Sharpie would. I do various things –mainly viral & social media stuff. I like to create “what if” scenarios, like I did with one of my virals called “Nude It”.  “Nude It” is a revolutionary iPhone app that lets the user see others naked. The video now has over 1.8 million views on YouTube alone (more on other video hosting sites) and is still sparking conversations.  I basically like creating “what if” scenarios and give people stuff to talk about.

I use Twitter for various social media experiments. My latest was to reach Jimmy Fallon (and other celebrities). The concept was to use social media and news media to reach a celebrity and have that celebrity view a website & video I created

  http://www.jimmyfallonthanksforfollowingmeontwitter.com   

 http://www.jimmyfallonpleasefollowmeontwitter.com  

The video was a creative and elaborate plea to get that celebrity to follow me. The experiment worked, and I now have Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Wendy Williams, and David Pogue following me. I basically wanted to prove that it is possible to reach ANYONE on Twitter with just a simple but creative idea. And I did. All it takes is an idea. That’s all. It’s that simple.

If you could get one person to follow you on Twitter who would it be?  A celebrity who is alive and who is actively using twitter? That would be Ashton Kutcher. I got some ideas he would want to hear. 

You’re really good at animation, yet I don’t see a lot of your work out there.  Why is that?  I simply can’t stick to just one thing. I have to do a wide spectrum of things. I like the moving image a lot. So it’s either my HD cam or my 16mm Bolex sometimes. I absolutely love animating, but sometimes the time is just not there. I am now planning my wedding. 

 I proposed to my fiancée on my own web show, which I have pitched to Wetv. It’s called Put A Ring On It. I’ll bet you five bucks you’ll cry at the end. So, basically, that is another reason why there is so little of my animation work out there: I do a ton of other stuff. And somewhere in between I try to get some sleep :)

If you grew your hair back, would that completely destroy the direction of “Who is the Bald Guy”?  Would you change it to “Who is the Hairy Dude”?  That’s actually really funny. Yes, it would affect the “bald guy” image quite a bit. Not sure if “hairy dude” would be the right term for it then. Seriously: that was funny. Made me laugh.

Out of complete random curiosity… Would you ever consider wearing a bald cap and customizing it with Sharpie markers?  I’ve done some crazy things in my life, but I’ve never worn a bald cap that was customized with Sharpie markers. I’d be open to a crazy bet that would involve that :)

Favorite Sharpie? Hmm, I don’t think I have one. Sorry. Just being honest. It all depends on the need. If I need a thick Sharpie, then that’s what I’ll use. If I need a fine Sharpie, then I’ll go with that.

Motto to live by:

Create. Leave your mark. You can sleep when you’re dead.

When I get old, I want to be able to look back at my life and see the things I have done. I don’t want to look back and see myself watching Jersey Shore.

Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?  Exactly a week ago I launched a new viral called “3D Hologram app for Iphone 5”.  It just got its first 100,000 views on YouTube. I am now creating a video invite for my groomsmen. It involves a lot of stop-motion animation. Will post soon :)

 

Follow Michael on Twitter @whoisthebaldguy.

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Sharpie Squad Guest Blogger: Laura Kelly

One of our fav Sharpie Squad members is our latest guest blogger!  Laura Kelly is a second year Squad member and using Sharpie markers, she creates bright, bold and simple designs that uplift the human spirit.  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 own wholesale company, Laura Kelly Designs, which manufactures stationery products for stores around the country!  Get to know Laura Kelly a bit closer & get a peak of her in action…

Greetings Sharpie Fans! 

 I am Laura Kelly and I love SHARPIE and love being a leader in the Sharpie community!   I am a licensing artist which means that I create designs for companies to use on their super fun products.  I currently license with 14 companies and enjoy being a part of each and every one of those teams.  My life is pretty crazy!  I travel a lot between my two homes in Apex, NC and Cedar Rapids, IA.  The great thing about being a Sharpie artist is that I can take my “studio” with me wherever I go.  Sometimes I find myself designing more at home, at the soccer fields, in the coffee shops and on airplanes than I do I do in my real studio.

True happiness is hands full of Sharpie markers!”

I am one of those “accidental” artists.  I drew ALL OF THE TIME as a child.  I used to trace quarters and turn them into heads on people (little did I know that was the beginning of the Paper People collection).  I stopped drawing in sixth grade after being teased on the bus by a boy who will remain nameless.  He said that my drawings looked like they were done by a kindergartner.  That is all it took to shut me down entirely. 

I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a burning passion to teach elementary school and change the world.  After teaching until I was pregnant with Dylan, my big kid, I found myself at home…bored and playing with my Sharpie markers.  I began to unleash 20 years of bottled-up creativity beginning by designing his birth announcement and…..wah lah….I was an artist!

Seriously now, my friends and family went wild and empowered me to design stationery for them at a rate I couldn’t balance with a full time job.  So, I decided to put my teaching career on “hold” and become a real artist.  Almost 15 years later, I am having more than a complete blast.  While I love to design, I more so love to empower others to access their hidden creativity.  Being on the Sharpie Squad has allowed me the amazing opportunity to get out into my communities and encourage others to uncap all that they have inside.  Through Doodle Contests and visits to classrooms and schools, I have witnessed mature grown ups as they find that inner peace that comes when one expresses themselves through doodling.  The smiles, the laughter and the joy I get to be a part of creating is AWESOME!   Whether through my direct involvement in my community or through the circulation of products with my designs; I feel honored and privileged to have this opportunity to make a difference in my world.  (And to think that I thought teaching in a classroom was the only way….)

This Doodle Contest in Apex, NC rocked the Common Grounds house with help from my two sons, Dylan and Dawson!

Meet Kylie, our “Little Kid” winner of the coffee cup doodle contest in Cedar Rapids at Coffeesmiths.

Meet the Paper People!  I designed this collection for www.expressionery.com to use in creating personalized stationery and checks.  Expressionery customers have created tens of thousands of families and created connection through the written word from coast to coast.  With a demand for the people to jump off of the paper and to other products, Me and My Peeps was created as a collection.  The “Peeps” can be found on auto decals and iron transfers from Plaid Enterprises, coasters and carsters from Thirstystone, magnets from Leanin’ Tree and will soon be available on great products from Ganz.  I have 18 licensable collection being used today and thousands of Sharpie created images in my portfolio.  At the Craft & Hobby Shows in the winter I get to guest appear for Plaid Enterprises and draw the attendees as their very own “Peeps” which is quite a treat.

Meet the Paper People!

At CHA in January I got to work in Plaid’s booth at the same time as my friend, Donna Dewberry…the famous One Stroke artist!

My favorite licensing collection that I have completed is “Happy Haunting"!

I recently traveled on a Delta flight and brought the di-cut part of my logo that represents me.  She got LOTS of attention on the plane from those around me.  I posted a picture on my facebook page and my fans asked if she could come visit them.  Who knew???  Little Laura, the flat 17’ tall me, is on her way via FedEx to Atlanta to begin her travels with Vee, one of my enthusiastic fans.  Feel free to read about Little Laura’s travels on my blog.  After Atlanta, her next stop will be West Palm where she plans to walk in the GCDSO Buddy Walk with the amazing Jackson, my beautiful little friend and inspiration.

This is Little Laura on her first flight with Delta.

One of the things that I love to do is to reuse old stuff and make it into something new.  Here are a few pictures of how using Sharpie markers can recycle common items and recreate them into fabulous treasures.  I recently was filmed demonstrating some Sharpie doodling crafts like these so check back soon for some fun!

ReUSED coffee cups and carrier make a great surprise for coworkers!

ReCYCLED note cards and clipboards come together quite nicely with the help of some Mod Podge!

ReUSE a frosting container and make an extraordinary treasure holder!

Look at me through the camera having a blast in the filming studio!

If I could send a message to my fans it would be this.   Do what you love and believe in it with all of your soul.  I know from experience that when I am creating, drawing and doodling while at the same time empowering, loving and teaching…I am filled with happiness, peace and joy!  I feel lucky that I get to share that with you!

It’s a monster doodleabration! Check back soon for some great doodling techniques and projects!