You can easily spot The Little Friends of Printmaking in a crowd—their inky hands and clothes are a dead giveaway. Their work is just as distinctive. Husband-and-wife team JW and Melissa Buchanan first made a name for themselves by designing and printing silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into further fields, designing fancy junk for whoever would pay them money.
For The Little Friends of Printmaking, the definitions of Art and Design have become interchangeable. While they work primarily as printmakers, they also take on design projects from outside collaborators. The Little Friends of Printmaking have charted an alternate course somewhere between Art and Design, without drawing a bright line of distinction between them.
I’ve seen you both at various local events and conventions. Do you have a favorite?
DesignerCon is our hometown fair and the crowd there is just so smart. They know what they like and they’re so excited to see new stuff. CatCon, on the other hand, has cats. Advantage: CatCon.
I loved your ‘California Forests’ piece for our California Love show. What is the best thing about California?
I like that there’s so much to see in California that you don’t have to travel too far from home to see something amazing and beautiful.
How do you manage work/life balance?
We don’t! We live in a live/work space and our life and our work are as mixed and muddled up as you could get. Thankfully we love what we do so it doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem for us.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The piece of advice that we’re always trying to live up to is “Learn to Say No.” As illustrators, our default setting is to say yes to everything regardless of whether it makes sense for us. You have to learn to treat your time as valuable or no one else will.
What upcoming project are you most excited about right now?
We’re getting ready for a pop-up event in Tokyo this February! We’ve never been and we’re so excited.
In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, they continue their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies worldwide, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen. The Little Friends currently live in Los Angeles with two very round cats. For more, visit their website and their online shop.