Hi, I’m Marc. I’ve been putting my drawings on the interweb since around October 2006, but I’ve been drawing since I was tiny. I’m not tiny anymore, but I’m not very big either.
I first came upon Mike O’Brien’s work at the Fenton Street Market, where a poster of his caught my eye. It was all black and white and a bold sunset orange. As is typical for me, I was drawn to the colors long before I even noticed what the images were or what the text said.
Turns out it was a poster for a concert, and although I was unfamiliar with the band, the first thought that popped into my head (after “wow, what a gorgeous orange”) was: I haven’t been to the Black Cat in a really long time.
Not only was it obvious that Mike had a great eye for color, it was also clear he’s really into music. A lot of Mike’s artwork is for concerts, bands, and musicians, and his love for music is evident in the energy of his illustrations. He loves the DC music scene and is inspired by punk rock and its DIY mentality, and it really shows, to spectacular effect.
Mike is a graphic designer with a passion for screen printing. Although he studied journalism in college, he was secretly much more interested in drawing comics for the school paper than writing articles.
After figuring out his true calling was in illustration rather than in writing, Mike found himself intrigued by the process of screen printing. His natural DIY spirit led him to experiment on his own, with zero background knowledge on screen printing, which (as anyone with a DIY spirit is familiar with) led to mixed results.
Mike eventually began collaborating with a friend Kevin Gomes, a much more experienced screen printer, who was happy to show Mike the ropes and the finer points of the process. Mike fell completely in love with screen printing, so much so that he built his own equipment! And the rest, as they say, is history.
Technically, screen printing is still Mike’s hobby and graphic design his job, but the two are so closely related for him that the lines blur quite a bit. “Graphic design is the organizational aspect of illustration – ie figuring out where to put what,” he explains. “Illustration is the raw creative aspect of graphic design – developing the imagery that then gets organized.”
Whenever he is able, Mike is creating images and using his home screen printing studio to replicate them by hand, in what he calls “an exercise in patience and tactile precision.” Although both his illustrations and his graphic design work start out as sketches in a notepad, his illustration work keeps him “grounded in the analog world.”
Visit Mike’s website to purchase his artwork, and to find out where to find him at DC area art events.
Gina Germ bio: Gina is entirely fascinated by animals –biology, behavior, ecology and history– and they provide the primary inspiration for her work, which includes observational sketches, commentary and portraiture. A self-taught artist, she has been painting for almost ten years, and drawing since she can remember. She works in acrylic, ink and spray paint.
Gina lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three year old son, and two kitties. She spends her days doing design and production on 4-color books, calendars, and marketing materials, and her evenings (after her son goes to bed) working in her coveted basement studio.
Jim Bradshaw: Jim loves everything art and creative and puts that passion into all assignments. Humorous illustration and cartoon surrealism is what he is drawn to. Some topics you’ll find showing up in his recent work are dreams, the tyranny of time, life & death, childhood versus the tainted adult world we all exist in, good and evil and just plain fun whacked out made up worlds that swirl around in Jim’s brain.
Rania Hassan is a well known Washington DC artist who has mastered three art forms at once. She is a graphic designer and illustrator, a painter, and a knitter, and she has found a way to integrate all three of her skills into her artwork, under the label goshdarnknit.
Her whimsical illustrations of big-eyed, somber girls and tangled, beautiful botanicals are individually hand printed on Moleskin notebooks in various sizes. She also prints her images on neoprene lunch bags, also individually and by hand.
Her other skills come into play with what she calls her “knit paintings.” Unique collaborations between flat and three-dimensional mediums, her paintings depict two pairs of hands in the act of knitting. The two sets of hands share the knitted fabric, working on the same piece from both ends.
Like many new knitters, when Rania first learned to knit she became obsessed. Obsessed with yarn, with the process, with the seemingly endless patterns and designs to be made from just one stitch and just one length of yarn.
Unlike most new knitters, she translated that obsession into artwork that transcends the fiber and the process. She was intrigued by the community of knitters, and how the act of knitting connected individuals across physical and generational boundaries. Her knit paintings evoke those connections in a pretty, visual, and tactile way.
Originally from New York City, Rania has studied and traveled all over the world, and is now settled in Washington, DC. She has served as an art director for extremely esteemed institutions, including the Shakespeare Theatre, the United Nations, and the White House.
She’s also been awarded the prestigious Craft Award of Distinction for Fiber from the James Renwick Alliance, and an Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Not only has she mastered her mediums, people have noticed!
You can find Rania’s illustrated Moleskine notebooks and her paintings in her online shop, and at many DC-area fine art and craft shows. Visit her web site for news regarding exhibitions and installations of her paintings.