You may have spotted button-vending machines around the city filled with a themed 1 inch button series at places like Galerie F, The Empty Bottle, or Lula Cafe. You may have also wondered who comes up with the button’s theme and who are the ones designing these capsuled pin backs.
These button-vending machines, that we lovingly call our Button-O-Matic machines, are a fun and innovative way to distribute buttons. For the last seventeen years, Busy Beaver has invited a creator from the community to curate a custom button series in which we bring out into the world at our Button-O-Matic Artist Series release event. The latest collection’s theme,”Happy Hour”, was curated by Clay Hickson of Tan & Loose Press. He chose ten additional designers and artists to also contribute to this limited edition series.
There’s a lot that could inspire a Happy Hour-themed button: favorite cocktails, the people you experience it with, or just a feeling you associate with the term. Clay explained that he wanted to choose a theme that could be interpreted differently by each artist.
I wanted to choose a theme that was specific enough to tie everything together but loose enough to get a variety of results. I chose artists that I knew would give me more than just a handful of weird cocktail drawings.
And since Tan & Loose Press is a Risograph press, it was a no-brainer to marry the risograph printing and pin backs together for this series. All of the 2016 artist series pins were printed with that Risograph— a first for the Button-O-Matic series. That style of printing allowed artists to play with colors that could not be replicated on a standard 4-color process. It was exciting to see how each artist in the Button-O-Matic series used the risograph’s capabilities to enhance their design.
Some artists like Ben Marcus and Annu Kilpeläinen chose to use ink colors like fluorescent pink and neon yellow— hues that are unique to this printing process— on their button pins. Other illustrators like Liana Jegers and Pete Gamlen chose to keep their palettes to a couple of colors to show off the texture of the prints, while a couple custom made buttons exploited how some colors appear off-set due to the printing process.
Ryan Duggan (Drug Factory Press) was inspired to create a button of his favorite Happy Hour drink: cold beer.
Gabriel Alcala’s Button-O-Matic design was inspired by more than just his favorite cocktail. He explained that it was more of the happy hour experience that led him to his creation.
The illustration is about getting out of your own mind. Happy Hour could be a really great time to quiet your thoughts and just be in the moment. Letting go of all your to-do’s & just enjoy a drink, some music or a convo with a friend.
Brie Moreno is no novice to using and designing for a Risograph. Her whimsical illustrations can be found on posters, zines, comics as published at Break Down Press, and now on a custom pin button.
Rachel Howe, better known as Small Spells, operates a multi-dimensional brand that joins together healing and art. In Rachel’s button design, we can see how her inspiration from cartoons, tattoos, and handmade illustrations has been accumulated into this tiny, ying-yang eyed skull that communicates Small Spells’ intentions of raising self-awareness.
Los Angeles based Set Designer Adi Goodrich (one half of Sing-Sing) exhibits her love for interiors and pushing boundaries with her button design. On top of set designing, Adi also works as a commercial photographer, director, and a designer of homewares.
Working in a number of media from posters, record covers, and woodcuts—Nathaniel Russell can now add “button-design” to his catalog. Nathaniel Russell‘s approach to his Happy Hour button seems to be celebrating the aftermath of a successful night out while also utilizing the neon yellow ink of the Risograph machine.
Make sure to grab the entire collection online on our gift shop!