Mustaches are hot. Now these are three words I never imagined myself saying, but it is no less true. If you haven't noticed the mustache trend, keep your eye out and I guarantee you will suddenly see them everywhere. Not on upper lips mind you, but rather in a quirky new design aesthetic growing in the Internet art and craft market.
Etsy alone has hundreds of mustache themed products. One local designer getting in on the mustache action is Lindsey Clark-Ryan, owner of the Etsy store Ole Rattlesnake print caught my eye, in particular, for its subtle humor that seems to lighten the spirit each time it is viewed. It feels both modern and old-fashioned at the same time. It is one-of-a-kind, just like its designer.
An MFA student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Clark-Ryan has developed a unique perspective toward printmaking. Many pieces have an old world quality that present in a contemporary way. As Clark-Ryan states on her website, "I juxtapose the dated references with contemporary objects, allusions, or ideas in order to emphasize a strange and somewhat absurd tone..."
This absurdity is what draws you in to Clark-Ryan's work. It is fascinating to peruse her online portfolio and store; you never know what you will find as it is almost certainly unique from the item you just viewed. Ole Rattlesnake will definitely be a store I frequent often to see what new ideas and creations Clark-Ryan has come up with.
Clark-Ryan answered a few questions over email about her work and art.
The Daily Page: How do you motivate your creativity? (e.g. do you listen to music while you create and if so what?)
Clark-Ryan: Since I often work in a shared studio space, we usually listen to the radio or hook up someone's iPod. Having other people in the studio to talk and work with also helps. When I work at home, I am generally working on preliminary drawings or something not too messy. If I need to do something tedious or that will take a long time, I like to put on a movie and basically listen to it while I work on the couch.
Describe your workspace. Are you at the kitchen table or in a dedicated work area?
I am a Printmaking MFA student at UW, so I usually work in the various print labs at school or in my studio on campus. I don't have a lot of work room in my little apartment, but I can get some preliminary work done there.
What is your favorite piece and why?
While I have a lot of work that is not in my Etsy store, I think my favorite piece in the store is Mustachio Nut. It was fun to come up with and I get a lot of great feedback. That and it has sold well, helping this poor grad student get some lunch.
What advice do you have for people interested in starting an online store? How do you make the separation between your store and your day job/personal life?
I haven't been selling on Etsy for that long, nor do I have a great deal of time to invest in the shop, but having good pictures and relisting alone can take you pretty far.
Since I'm in the middle of the school year, all of the inventory is already made and ready to go, and I am not currently making anything specifically for the store, so it is pretty separated from my daily life. Last summer, when I was setting it up, the shop was very much on the forefront of my mind for a while, and I think I will also dedicate a nice block of time next summer to adding new items to Ole Rattlesnake. The school year divides everything pretty easily, but who knows what will happen when I graduate?
What is your favorite local shop in Madison?
I admit I'm not really familiar with many, since I haven't lived here for very long and don't have much opportunity to check them out. But I will say I am continually tempted by the great stuff I see in the window of Paul's Books on State Street.
Etsy is an online marketplace whose mission is to "reconnect makers with buyers." These explorations will connect you with the makers in your neighborhood.