IN

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.”

 
 

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.”