2016's Button-O-Matic Artist Custom Button Series
It’s Happy Hour Time!

Happy Hour, simply put, is a scheduled time of celebration. You could be burning off steam about surviving this election cycle, nailing that job interview, or finding $20 in your coat pocket! Or in our case, we’re taking this time to celebrate our new Button-O-Matic series (aptly themed Happy Hour) and moving into our new building! After months of inspections and paperwork, we’re happy to invite our friends, community, and loyal Busy Beaver lovers to see our exciting new space and check out the new artist series.


This year’s curator, Clay Hickson of Tan & Loose Press, has gathered ten artists to design innovative, custom made buttons in line with the Happy Hour theme. Clay selected some of the most top-notch illustrators, print makers, and designers not only from our backyard of Chicago, but across the nation to contribute to this special series.

Another first of this series is the use of a special printing process. All of the 2016 artist series custom buttons have been printed with a Risograph. For those of you unfamiliar, the Risograph was invented in Japan in the late 80’s as a high-volume photocopying machine. It works by using a stencil which is wrapped around a drum coated in ink. An impression of the image is created when the drum rolls over the paper that is fed into the machine. The rise of the Risograph is hard to pin down, but since its creation it has nestled its way into design, illustration, comic, and art communities across the world being a unique alternative to screen printing.


Risograph prints courtesy of tan-n-loose.com

Since Tan & Loose Press is a Risograph press, it was a no-brainer to marry the idea of riso pin backs together for this series. Artists were able to play with colors that could not be replicated on a standard 4-color process. As you can see below, the risograph was manipulated in different ways from artist to artist. Some designs show off the capability of printing in ink colors like fluorescent pink and neon yellow that are unique to this printing process. Other illustrators chose to keep their palettes to one or two colors to show off the texture of the prints, while a couple buttons exploited how some colors appear off-set due to the printing process. This is the first time Busy Beaver’s Button-O-Matic series has used a special printing technique to produce the buttons that will be dispensed to all the button vending machines across the city.

See how each artist designed with the Risograph in mind. Here is the complete list of the 2016 Button-O-Matic artists:

Annu Kilpelainen


Liana Jegers


Nathaniel Russell


Adi Goodrich


Pete Gamlen


Rachel Howe


Brie Moreno


Ryan Duggan


Gabriel Alcala


Ben Marcus


Clay Hickson


While feasting your eyes on the colorful risograph buttons, our cocktail bar will feature our good friends at Parce Rum. Delicious brews will be brought to us courtesy of Off Color Brewing to really add that Happy Hour-feel to your night.

Mark your calendars for buttons, booze, and brews for November 11th, 5pm-8pm at our BRAND NEW location at 3407 W. Armitage! It’ll be the first ‘open house’ for you all to check out the new digs. RSVP today, and bring something to celebrate!

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    Custom Button by 2016 Button-O-Matic artist Pete Gamlen | Busy Beaver Blog
    March 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    […] on a Risograph machine. A first for the Button-O-Matic Series, this unique printing method rendered a beautiful collection of buttons including this martini wearing black cat design by Pete […]

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