I recently created a 6-color screen printed poster with artist/ friend Simone Thornton. The print is depicting a fantastical pool party made up of weird characters from our awesome brains! Simone was visiting from San Francisco and during her time in Milwaukee we collaborated not only on this poster but on the newest Beast USA shirt, Batch 13 (The Fish). You can find the poster here on Kickstarter for the next 39 days!
Simone and I went to art school together in Baltimore at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). We also studied abroad together in Wroclaw, Poland where we did some printmaking, fumbled the Polish language on a daily basis and tried some tasty Polish intoxicants.
In our final year at MICA we put together a student run organization called the Mustache Awareness Club (MAC). Our basic idea was: 1. to get money from the school for our club 2. to make hand-printed posters with that money 3. to staple those posters up around campus 4. to sell the extra posters to raise extra money for our group and 5. with that extra money throw a free blow out party for everyone at the school that came to the party with a mustache.
Every week we made a different poster propagating our club with ridiculous imagery and in most cases our weekly offerings didn't have a clear message (but that didn't matter because the posters were awesome). The uniqueness of the posters, the playful spirit they embodied, the care in which they were made and probably the fact they were free may have been some of the reasons why people quickly started collecting them. A few months after we started, we were finding that our posters wouldn't make it more than 24 hours before they disappeared from campus. So we started peppering the posters to the bulletin boards with as many as 30 staples. The heavy duty kind too!
Besides making posters, we set up events where we gave away packets of drawings, helium filled balloons and candy to people that signed up for our club. The more people that signed up, the more money we would receive from the school. We ended up getting about 500 members to our club which was over 1/3 of the school making the MAC the biggest club in the school's history (the previous biggest club was the MICA gun club).
We ended up raising enough money through our poster sales to rent a massive warehouse space off campus to throw that free blow out party we dreamt of in the beginning. We rented a killer PA system, hired some of Bmore's best DJs, got four half barrels of.. cough.. soda.. wink :). The party was shut down early but ended up being legendary. More than 400 guests came brandishing 400 cleverly displayed upper lip fashions. We probably will never know how close we were to getting expelled for our direct disobedience and misconduct as a school sanctioned club. The truth is, we were able to connect the student community together in a positive way with art and friendship.
We graduated 7 years ago and it's been that long since Simone and I made a print together. The "Pool Party" poster is one of the best things we've ever made together and I believe best is yet to come. Hopefully with this kickstarter we'll be able to fund future collaborations so we can continue to share our unique sensibilities and strange imaginations with people that also dig it.