20 January 2007

Friend of The Little Friends


Ms. Kansas enjoyed some fine gallery hopping indeed--all last night. Fittingly, the Little Friends of Printmaking were ensconced within DWR in the Third Ward for show of their screenprints. MK had the luck to interview the Little Friends of Printmaking--or Melissa and JW Buchanan to those not in the know--for beloved Milwaukee alternarag Undercurrents last fall. Ms. Kansas first heard of them when she was grubbing around on a committee for the Madison Zine Fest in 2005. They are quite the design hotshots, snapping up design awards like the Art Directors Club YoungGuns International Advertising & Design Award as a matter of course, though they are rather too modest to say so. Of course, not all the interesting bits could fit into the story, so Ms. Kansas is here to give you all the goss and backstory. So, it is no small matter of gloating and smugness that Ms. Kansas reports that it was her idea to ask Little Friends to design the issue of Undercurrents in which the cover story about them was published. It turned out beautifully, of course.

First of all, their house is dead stylish. Yummy little 1930s kitchen. Adorable bedroom curtains run up from material they bought at Ikea. Grayed-pastel knick-knackery. Built-ins to sigh for. Really, their place is like being in some hipster lifestyle mag. Oddly, their computer isn't a Mac!! They have two cats. Ms. Kansas remembers the name of only one--Ralph or Ralphie. Thing is, they did everything themselves. The house, which has the classic Milwaukee basement bar, was apparently very much a mess when they moved in.

They both studied print-making at University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is one of the best programs in the country (though Ms. Kansas, having lived in Iowa City for some time and befriended many print-making students there, takes exception to the idea the Madison--which has certainly produced no Lasansky, now, has it?--has been ranked in first place), and stayed on after school. Little Friends as design giant--they were actually a student group at Madison for a while--started when local promoter Jonny Hunter asked them to do a poster for a show. A job opportunity in the Printing and Publishing Lab at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin lured them here; though, Melissa is actually from Milwaukee. Aside from those responsibilities, LFP does lots of book illustrations and other work for many clients around the world. One of their clients, they confessed, is Clear Channel.

JW and Melissa are so nice that she felt guilty for leaving their house in a paroxysm of house envy.

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