Indiana

artist, Indiana, Painter

Sabrina Zhou

You went to art school in China…

Two art schools in China and one in Canada. All different majors. The first one was Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. I was majoring in watercolor. Then I met my husband and moved to the art school that he was in. That was in Sichuan, the southwest of China. This is where pandas come from. So first I did fine arts [watercolor] and then interior design. Then went to Canada and there I did fine arts…

What made you come to America?

I knew I was going to leave Calgary, it’s just too cold there. It’s like half a year in winter. We have to walk in tunnels and all of that. I didn’t think I would come to America until I visited a friend here. [We went to school together in Canada.] He was a New York street artist [at the time.]
…He was good and he inspired me. I just followed his steps…

So you started off on the east coast in Connecticut…

For seven years. Long time.…There was an old storage place they turned into artist lofts and rented them only to artists. So the rent was much cheaper than the market. You got to live with all sorts of artists; painters, singers, poets, writers, etc.  And then parties and talks... It was fun.
…I had a booth at the mall in Connecticut for Christmas and I was doing about 10 portraits a day… I came here to Indiana and had a booth at the mall for one year, in 2013.  I was playing video games on the computer the day before Christmas. People were not interested…

I focused solely on portraits for years and eventually hated it. Mostly I worked from photographs. People had all kinds of photographs. [laughter] Some of them where really hard to work with! And they asked funny questions; you can do this? You can do that? Can you put this head on that body? All sorts of questions…

When you do still lives. Do you set them all up and draw from life?

Yes…That’s part of the fun.

Setting everything up?

Yes. I rarely did oil in college because it’s so different than watercolor. With oils, you can mix all the colors together. You can be a pastel artist and oil painter, but watercolor and oil are so different. Different procedures.

[Pastels are] a smaller medium but once you get the hang of it, it’s so much fun. I could just sit here for hours doing my little feathering. It’s very controllable and the colors are so vivid. It is the pure pigment here. Paints can change color over time, but pastels stay there. …  [Pastels do fade in the sun a little bit,] especially the cheap ones. But that’s it. It can be very expensive. This tiny little stick cost $3 and you need so many different colors. Since you are working with the straight color you can’t blend it like you do with paint to get the color you need.
At this stage I don’t blend the pastels but the first few stages I do.

How do you blend pastels?

My finger. Someone told me you can rub the oil in your hand into the painting. So far I haven’t seen any problems with that. I use paper towels for the background because it is a big area. It is very different than when you rub with your finger. You can get a much smoother result with your finger.

When I do landscapes. People keep asking me where is this…where is that? It’s here, [points to head and laughs] it’s not real.

 

This landscape is all made up from your head?

Well this one I got the inspiration from Cool Creek Park. We walk over there with our dog. There is an area of birch trees. I added this mountain behind it. For the color variation. Indianapolis is so flat! I like that deep blue-purple color in the back and the trees against it. I like the effect. I can also show a little bit of pink, reddish color here and there. To compliment the green. So that part is coming out of my mind wherever I feel it’s necessary.
...
A good thing to do when you finish a painting is to put it aside for a few months. When you come back to it you find a lot of problems you want to fix. When you are just staring at it you are like, “[groans] Okay. I think it’s done.”
...
All those things that we learned in China, I don’t know any different until after years of being here. We learned the Russian system of art, called social realism. It’s more realistic. That’s why I was going so tight. All these details! I was considered to have a bad sense of color when I was in school. And I grew with that because when you get really into details you forget the fresh thing you had when you first looked at those still lives. You get into shape and volumes more than colors. So I thought, “Ok, I can’t see colors, I am so bad.” It’s a good thing I switched to oil because I work faster with a wider brush…I want to be John Singer Sargent. And I like that style better. I start to say “Oh, now I see more colors!” You can really relax and get loose. I see more colors and I like that. So when I go back to my pastel, I feel I work the color better. Even when I am doing detailed work like this, I see more colors. I benefit from that.  

John Singer Sargent, he’s a great portrait artist. I saw a painting of his with two ladies sitting in a garden with a table. The lady’s hand was painted really thick but loose brush work.  When you get close it’s just piles of paint up there, but when you step back, it’s a perfectly done hand. He is that awesome…
If you take the time and get into details, I can make it. But he was madly good, his strokes look so impatient, [whoosh of air and wide hand gesture] but everything is already there. So good.

It's interesting that you would admire Sargent, a more impressionistic painter, because your pastel work is very tight. You can get really up close to them and really appreciate them. But, your oil paintings are looser, more impressionistic.

Right. I’m trying to hide my tiny little brushes away from myself. So I just grab the bigger ones. All the tiny ones are there where I can’t reach them. So I am trying to use this bigger brush to get into the little detail and it’s become more vivid that way. It’s not as tight. With pastels I can’t [get bigger], they are already this shape.

HD_SabrinaZhou_0102_.jpg

Last year, I was in a show in Columbus, Ohio. I sold a painting that was not done. It was still wet! I didn’t have enough paintings to fill out the booth. This guy came in and said, “I just love that.”
I said, “You can order that. Once I am done with it I can ship it to you.”
He said, “No. I want it just like that.”

That’s pretty incredible. Did you sell it to him?

Yes! He took it. It needed to be varnished, but it was still wet…  He is not interested in me finishing the painting. That’s nice sometimes, the work doesn’t have to be really completed as you want. Some of the looseness in the first few stages appeal to people.

artist, illustrator, Indiana

Penelope Dullaghan

This is Penelope Dullaghan. Penelope is an illustrator.

I read on your website you used to be an art director.

“Yes, I started off as an art director for an ad agency. I worked there for close to five years. I kept getting illustrator's promos across my desk and thought, 'Oh man, there are people actually working as illustrators! What am I doing hiring illustrators, when I could be the illustrator?'

So I started using my own illustrations for clients. [A fast food restaurant] was one of my agency clients at the time. I hired myself to do their kids' menu. That went well, and was fun, so I started moonlighting at night as an illustrator. After about a year, I felt ready to make the leap to full-time freelance, and my career as an illustrator took off from there!”

“I did an event this past winter at the Indianapolis Museum of Art benefitting their teen art program. I don’t generally do my art in front of other people. It’s intimidating. I prefer to be alone in solitude. At the museum event I was so nervous! Just walking in and seeing all those people watching the other artists [made me want to] turn right around and go home! But it ended up being really fun. I did three pieces that were auctioned off ­ and they sold right away! That was a good feeling.”

 
 

You have an agent. How did that come about?

“I’ve been with Scott Hull for over eight years. I approached him in the beginning and asked him to rep me. He said I needed to do more work. It sucked hearing that at the time, but it was the right thing to say. I appreciated the honest feedback. So I went to work. To get my portfolio up to speed and pad my portfolio, I started a website called Illustration Friday. The weekly assignments kept me accountable. From those self­-assignments and some client work here and there, [my portfolio grew.] I would keep Scott updated on what I was creating. About a year later he wrote me back and said, 'I think you’re ready!'

“I no longer run Illustration Friday, but it's still a great site to inspire personal work for newbie illustrators.”

Does he find you most of your work or do people contact him wanting you?

“I think most clients contact him directly. After you've been doing illustration for awhile, people see your stuff places and want to work with you, too. Sometimes clients contact me directly, but I send all new business through him. It’s much easier.­­ He handles all the paperwork, budgets and timelines. ­­Stuff I don't necessarily enjoy. I get to [focus on] the art.”

How did you get started in watercolor?

“Watercolor is a pretty recent medium for me. I used to do mostly acrylics and digital. Two years ago we moved to a house with a river right behind us, That inspired me to try watercolors. I walk down by the river almost every day. Then do paintings based on my observations. Watercolors are great because they're pretty immediate. I can record my thoughts and observations quickly. As soon as I return home. A lot of these paintings end up in my shop. For my illustration work with clients it’s more of a mix.­ Some watercolor, acrylic and digital too.”

I see you’ve been experimenting with Lino cuts.

“I have. I’ve been doing this pattern­-a-­day series on Instagram. It’s really fun. I do them Monday through Friday and take the weekends off. Lino cut is an easy way to do them quickly. I also work with watercolor and drawing. It’s all experimentation ­­ seeing what works and what doesn’t. I love that it’s been influencing my client work so much. I’m more playful in my illustration work because of the daily pattern making.”

Are you experimenting with any other new-for-you processes?

Yes. I’ve been playing with making stencils. I’m experimenting with different ways to make a mark, rather than just paint or pencil. It may be the beginning of something new... We’ll see. Even if it doesn't go anywhere 'productive'. I think it’s always fun to play and explore with art. It’s how I learn the best.

“It’s also really fun watching my six year old daughter do art. Witnessing her progress and watching her try different things. She’s been my number one source of inspiration. She’ll say, 'Look how I drew this cat,' and it’s the most bizarre, awesome thing! She's not judging or reining herself in at all. That's so inspiring!”

 

Indiana, artist, Craft

Aaron Scamihorn : Ronlewhorn Industries

Aaron Scamihorn is an art director by day, and silk screen printer/graphic designer/illustrator by night. AJ, his wife, works along-side him and is ‘quality control manager.' Together they are RONLEWHORN INDUSTRIES.

Do you print mostly your own designs? Do you screen print others’ designs?

“Almost 100% my own stuff. I have taken on a handful of contract print jobs. People who have something fun or interesting. I’m happy to help them out. Primarily it’s my own stuff…This is my passion project. I do the corporate-y stuff by day. I want to keep myself creatively re-energized. At this point it’s 50% gig posters and 50% art prints.”

What do you do AJ?

AJ: “I am an account coordinator at a design firm. I do that by day and helping him out takes up the rest of my time. I’m learning a lot about the [screen printing and design] process. There are plans in the works to get my own table this year.”

Do you usually do pretty well at craft shows?

“We do. It takes proper strategy. We’ve learned over the years. For instance we need to have new stuff [that is different] from the previous year. Indianapolis isn’t a huge market, those kinds of [craft shows] are often a pretty similar demographic. If you’ve done a couple craft shows in town then they’ve probably seen what you have at least once.”

AJ: “You also need to have a good mix of sizes. Wall space comes at a premium for most people.”

“Some years all I’ve had are giant posters, I don’t do so well. When I have more art prints and smaller stuff [giving] people options, everything sells better. The bigger stuff sells well when they have the option of the smaller stuff. They look at the smaller stuff [but then decide to buy] the larger print!

“We’ve been prepping a lot of stuff for a show coming up. The Indieana Handicraft Exchange.”  (June 13th, 12-8pm, Indianapolis)

How did you get started screen printing?

“I grew up playing in bands. I really love music and [wanted to stay connected to] music…Growing up, my parents were potters and my dad was an art teacher. Everything we did growing up was very hands on. [I work in] a cubicle and the digital design world. The one thing that was missing from the process for me was creating something with my hands.

I started doing a lot of show flyers, and [I was] looking at a lot of gig posters. I began to have this desire to figure out [how to screen print.] With the help of YouTube and some buddies who had a t-shirt printing business…I began trying to figure it out. There was a lot of trial and error.

 

“The first band that was coming to town that [hired] me [to design and screen print their gig posters] was Mayor Hawthorne. After the show, we got to chat about it, and he said, 'I’ve had a lot of gig posters done for me man, but this, this is the shit!' That solidified it for me. I want to do this! From there I got the one for Cake. Now I’ve done seven for them. Having those in the portfolio gets a lot of other bands to work with me.”

When you are working on a new design, do you hand draw or design it on the computer?

“It depends. This design [that I’m printing now] was 100% digital. I’m working on a piece right now for Gallery 1988 out in LA. They do pop culture shows. [The show coming up] is a tribute to Tom Hanks. (June 13-20, Los Angeles) My piece is [inspired by] the film The ‘Burbs. It was all hand done. I used a light box, photo references, tracing paper… And then scan it into the computer for layout. I do a lot of my typography by hand. The DropKick Murphy’s gig poster was all digital, but I did the type by hand. 

“Early on, [an older artist] was giving me advice about the industry and whatnot, his first advice was, 'Robots and pretty girls are what sells. Do as many robots and pretty girls as you can...' He also gave me advice about type layout and, 'You can have the best illustration in the world, but with bad type it’s still a throw away. A crappy illustration with great type can be an awesome poster.' I put a lot of time and effort into making sure that [my type] is solid.”

That’s interesting how language is a larger draw than pictures.

“It’s crazy how some people do these illustrations and they’re so basic but they have these really cool types surrounding them. [It’s frustrating because] I put so much time into my illustration AND my type. You never know what people are going to be drawn to, but when it looks really bad, people can tell.”

 
 

Indiana, Richmond IN, Craft

New Boswell

This is (right)Rod Landess, owner, and (left)Shawn Davis, head brewer, of the New Boswell Brewing Company.

How did you start New Boswell’s?

Rod: "Basically I wanted to start a business. My senior year in college I had to do a project for a business class I was taking. I did a business plan for a brewery. [At the time] I was home brewing with my friends…up at Ball State. That’s where this idea for a brewery [came from.]"

Where did the name New Boswell come from?

Rod: "Ezra Boswell started a brewery here [in Richmond, Indiana] in 1816… We were reading about the history of beer in eastern Indiana. It turns out the first brewery here [in Richmond] was started by a Quaker, Ezra Boswell. He was the first town clerk, he was a school teacher, and he was a brewer…

"There was one physical description we found of him. He had one eye. So everyone in our pictures has an eye-patch. [Points to posters and t-shirts hanging on the wall. The drawn characters all sport an eye-patch.]" 

Shawn, how did you get started brewing beer?

Shawn: “I got started brewing as a hobby. My friend and I started making home brew beer in his garage. [Starting out] it was all extract brewing. Which is basically a bunch of sugars. We just kept advancing our equipment and moving up. We moved [up from extracts] to what’s called a partial mash. It still uses some extracts, but going towards more grain… As we put more money into it, we went to all grain brewing. Which is what all the brewing is here [at New Boswell]. 

“From there, we joined a home brew group that meets here [at New Boswell] every month. Started talking to other people that are home brewing. It’s such a wonderful pish-posh of people. We’ve got people who are chemists, professors, and the laymen, like me. Everyone has their own style and [different ways] of breaking down brewing. Some people break down the whole thing in a scientific way. For them it’s really neat, the chemistry and the biology of it. 

“For me, I was a cook for 20 years… [Then] this became more and more of a passion. Every night I was brewing beers. I was giving them out to everyone I could. Just to have people taste them…I still home brew… It gives me a chance to experiment on a smaller scale...

“Cooking is a wonderful passion. You get to take a whole bunch of things from everywhere in the world, and you get to make this delicious melting pot… When I make beer, I incorporate everything I know from cooking into it… I sit and eat the grains, tasting the different maltinesses to them. I just start throwing things together as if I was making a gazpacho. That’s how I make beer.”

  "We are a small brewery. I’m sure you’ve seen the larger breweries where they’ve got the huge brewing tanks. Those are seven to 15 barrel tanks. We’re only two and half barrel tanks.   I like that about us. We’re sticking with the concept of being ‘craft’. Small batch. We’re not mass-producing these beers. " --Shawn

"We are a small brewery. I’m sure you’ve seen the larger breweries where they’ve got the huge brewing tanks. Those are seven to 15 barrel tanks. We’re only two and half barrel tanks. I like that about us. We’re sticking with the concept of being ‘craft’. Small batch. We’re not mass-producing these beers. " --Shawn

What’s the best non-traditional or craziest beer you’ve come up with?

Shawn: “I took a recipe that Rod had. We were trying to make a Christmastime beer. He was focusing more on a gingersnap cookie taste. For me that wasn’t really a traditional wintertime/Christmas taste. In the wintertime our bodies know that we’re supposed to bulk up and [we seek out heavier foods and beverages.] Things that make us feel warm and comfortable. With this [Christmas] beer, all I kept thinking about was my late grandmother’s gingerbread. The nice dark, thick, and gingery bread, but also the nutmeg, mace, and bit of clove. I ended up re-doing his recipe. So many people said to me, “Man, that tastes just like cake.” It was boozy, malty, and a lot of flavor in it. 

“My other crazy one is my bergamot beer. Rod pretty much threw a challenge at me. He ordered a bunch of bergamot fruit. He said, “I want you to make a beer out of these.” For three weeks I was taking little pieces of the peel and going over the flavor in my head. What flavors go together with it? Bergamot has a really peppery, basil-y flavor to it. I kept thinking it was like a bruschetta flavor. But what do I want to put that bruschetta on? I’m not going to incorporate the balsamic sauce that most people would associate with a bruschetta, especially in a beer. But I do want something that will highlight the peppery, the citrusy, and the little basil-y of it. So I started thinking of those little rye toasts. I can put the bruschetta on that and contrast the flavors with the rye. I ended up making a bergamot and light malted rye beer. It sold out so fast. The thing about bergamot is it’s so seasonal. It’s going to be next winter before we can get more.” 

above: "Grains. Different styles of grains from different regions… You get different maltiness-es, sweetnesses and flavors when you use different types of grain."

right: "We’ll throw together our grain blend, then mill them in our homemade hopper... We’re milling that down to a consistency like chicken feed."
You can see part of the homemade hopper behind Shawn.

 

left: "A brewer never makes beer. He just makes really good wort. Wort is what beer is called before it’s been brewed. Yeast makes beer...This is where all the chemistry plays into it."

Shawn: “When I joined up with Rod a year ago…I started volunteering with him. He’s always liked the beers that I’ve made as a home brewer. I would bring them in [to the home brew meet-up group] and everybody would like them. Part of what we do in this beer club is bring in our beers and everybody tries them. [We] critique one another’s beers. I was volunteering for him and he asked me if I would mind working three days out of the week. Eventually, he asked me if I would like to come on full time. I get paid to do a hobby, I don’t work. I haven’t worked for over a year. It’s great! 

 

Find New Boswell online:
newboswell.com
facebook.com/newboswell
instagram.com/newboswell

Find New Boswell in person:
410 N. 10th St.
Richmond, IN 47374

 

Special thanks to Scott Alexander for all your help!

Richmond IN, Indiana, Service, Craft

George Marinakes Shoe Repair: Shoes Expertly Rebuilt

George Marinakes is a second generation shoe repair man. His son, Ted, works part-time in the busy shop. Ted has a full-time job but helps his dad out in the evenings and on Saturdays. Both father and son are quick to laughter and very helpful. During my two hours in the shop, every customer left with a smile on their face.

George-
“I’ve had the shop since … 1952. My dad started it in 1928, September the 1st…
When I started working here 70 years ago, there were 20 shoe repair shops in Richmond. Now we’re the only one. We’re ‘the last of the Mohicans’. We’ve always had a good business here.”

Ted-
“I think Dad’s had me down here [since] I was about 6 or 7 years old. Shining shoes, starting out.”

  In the 1930’s and 40’s, the shop was open on Sundays. People would stop in before church to get their shoes shined. This bench used to be twice the size and seat 6. The shop used to employ two shoe shine boys. Now, customers drop off their shoes to be shined.

In the 1930’s and 40’s, the shop was open on Sundays. People would stop in before church to get their shoes shined. This bench used to be twice the size and seat 6. The shop used to employ two shoe shine boys. Now, customers drop off their shoes to be shined.

Has business been affected by mass produced and cheaper shoes?
Ted-
“Things are getting harder to fix because there’s a lot of plastics. Glues don’t stick to the plastics. A lot of stuff is molded instead of built.”

 

George later introduces me to the only glue that works on molded soles. He was re-glueing the sole of a sneaker. The glue is from Germany and very expensive. He kept asking me if I could smell it. It is very strong. His doctor has told him to stop using it: George has asthma. George’s doctor has also told him to retire.

 

George-
“The old saying is:

‘If you’re happy with your work, then the customer is happy with your work, also.’  

So if you’re not satisfied with your work, if your work didn’t come out like you wanted, the customer will know it and will not be satisfied with your work, either. So as long as you’re pleased with it and your work looks good … then you know you’ve accomplished something and that works out to please both parties. That’s the main thing. Anything that you do. Your work or anybody else’s. If you look at it and say ‘Well I’ve accomplished something here, it’s amazing and something I appreciate,’ [then] the customer will appreciate it also. That’s what brings them back.

It’s not how much advertising you do. It’s satisfaction between the two parties that brings a better result.”

So you’ve never advertised?

“No, I’ve never advertised. It’s been mouth to ear and that’s about it. It’s been good.”

You seem to have plenty of work!

“Always. Too much work. I want to retire! I’m 85 years old and I don’t have a chance to retire yet because I gotta wait for Ted to retire [from his day job]… I’ll be 93 years old, I’ll be an old man then! [laughter] I know I’ll want to retire then. Oh well, that’s the way life goes.”

George’s parting advice:
“[Another] old saying is:

‘There’s no easy sailing when the sky is clear and blue,
There’s no merit in doing things that anyone can do,
Satisfaction which is mighty sweet to take,
When you reach something you never thought you’d make.’

There’s a lot of truth in that. That’s what I’ve always looked at and thought about. That’s what keeps you going. An old watchmaker told me that about 60 some years ago.”