Milwaukee’s Best

And the award for best printmaking duo in Milwaukee (?!) goes to The Little Friends of Printmaking.

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Join me after the jump for a STUDIO TOUR, including pictures and commentary from my recent visit with the Little Friends of Printmaking.

Long, long ago (August) in a galaxy far, far away (Milwaukee)… I visited the Little Friends of Printmaking in their studio/house. They were gracious hosts, who have many of the things you’d expect them to have, e.g. an excellent collection of books and sweet vinyl figurines:

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And check out this hardwood floor, permanently impressed with a transfer of an ancient newspaper. The landlord was embarrassed when he removed the carpet, but the Little Friends demanded that the floors be left alone (printmakers).

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Down in the basement, the Little Friends make their magic.

They began to collaborate in college, an effort that has since matured into a seemingly telepathic partnership. They showed me some early prints, and there’s a remarkable development from hesitant collaboration to near-symbiosis. There is of course some division of labor in the production of the prints, but the creative process seems completely integrated. These two truly think together, in a way that even the strongest creative teams rarely do.

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No shoes, no problem:

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They do it all right here, on one printing table. In fact, they run their entire Empire from a modest studio. So don’t say it can’t be done!

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Only a total nerd would ask to see their photopositives. So I did…

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…But I was afraid to ask about the scary robot in this picture:

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Given the amount of ink and water in a basement screenprinting studio, it’s important to swaddle one’s stuffed animals in protective plastic:

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And of course, all that ink and water needs to go somewhere:

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We discussed the resurgence of interest in making and collecting prints. When I asked, “Why do the kids today love printmaking?” they mentioned the gigposter explosion, and the general revival in all things hand-made. But they also noted the profound need to possess; they compared the gigposter-collector to the vinyl-collector. This seems about right: a poster isn’t just a memento, it’s a membership card.

It’s likely that you’ve visited the LFOP website or their Etsy site. Indeed, the Little Friends have taken the Internet by storm.  As a Printeresting reader, you know the difference between seeing an image onscreen and holding a print in your hands. But what you may not realize is just how great these prints look in person. For instance, this is a very special “flash photograph” of their famous Milton Glaser tribute print:

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That varnish-printed layer is a thing to behold! A digital image has its charms, but the fully-embodied art object is another matter entirely. The work demands your close attention, and there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t own one of these beauties.

The Little Friends of Printmaking: Truly, Milwaukee’s Best!

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Categories: Artwork, Interesting Printmaking


One Response to “Milwaukee’s Best”

  1. amze says:

    What a great post!
    I want all their prints.