Last month we opened the doors to our new building by inviting our friends, family, and neighbors in to preview our 2016 Button-O-Matic Series Release. For seventeen years Busy Beaver has asked artists to be a part of a special series of 1 inch round buttons that are then distributed into our Button-O-Matic machines for the entire city to enjoy. Each year’s theme directly impacts the artwork of the custom buttons. The past few series have been accompanied with themes ranging from Superhero to Bestiary.
This year’s release, unlike any before it, has all the artist series custom made buttons 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 now into our 2016 Button-O-Matic Series.
As curator this year, 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 from across the nation to contribute to this special series.
Artist and Designer Liana Jegers was kind enough to talk about her printmaking experience and how you can celebrate with a Happy Hour. Liana is a Chicago based artist originally hailing from the Minneapolis. Liana’s love for books and reading was the start of her creative journey. Equipped with colored pencils, wax crayon, and a fountain pen, Liana records the world around her.
Can you talk about how you began illustrating and printing? How you were you initially attracted to risograph printing?
I went to art school and studied printmaking, which I suppose is how I really started, but I feel like I didn’t begin until after I had graduated. It was the first time I felt confident with a pencil and felt like I actually had a vision in my head of how I wanted something to look. The Risograph came around a few years ago when Clay purchased it…I messed around with it for a little while and then for three years printed a monthly zine called The Pendulum on it, which is where I feel like I really learned to use the machine.
How does your button pin design relate to the party’s theme, “Happy Hour?”
I started thinking about the components of a cocktail and made a goofy little drawing of two happy cherries stuck on one of those cocktail swords (which is cut in the final pin back, but the drawing is floating around on my instagram/tumblr now). I feel like cocktail cherries are such a classic part of cocktails and happy hour, so I figured I would make up my own brand of them. It is a little darker than I intended it to be, but hey, it’s funny, right?
What time of day do you notice you get your best work done?
I usually get my best work done when I have a deadline for it. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy having the freedom to do whatever I want, but it’s always nice to have a little push.
What is your favorite Happy-Hour beverage?
Usually I’d go with a gin and tonic, but recently I’ve been ordering an Aviation when I go out, or making a Casino even if I’m at home.
How do you usually celebrate completed projects?
With a drink *winky face emoji*