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Back Talk With the Little Friends of Printmaking

Juxtapoz // Sunday, 09 Aug 2009


They illustrate in cartoons that often have a retro, 70s feel, using bold colors that command attention. Engross yourself in the world of The Little Friends of Printmaking by checking their Back Talk here…


How do you feel right now?


JW: Hot. It’s hot.


Melissa: Pissed off. I had to chew out our dipshit neighbors today, and I hate yelling at people. I’ve officially become The Mean Old Lady Next Door, at the tender age of thirty.

If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?


Melissa: We’re seriously considering a move to the west coast and it would be so rad if we could bypass the whole planning and packing and moving stages and just wake up on the floor of a new place out west. It would be like our life in Wisconsin was just a horrible dream.


If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?


Melissa: I would make a really good mid-level bureaucrat in the state government. I love stamps and stamping things VOID, I look decent in business casual, I don’t mind fluorescent lighting, and state capitals are usually okay places to live.


JW: We have creative skills – SAY WHAAAAT?! Even though I am a college graduate and supposedly skilled, I can’t imagine what else I would do. Suicide comes to mind immediately. Also, dancing for nickels by the train tracks, which is a good skill to have because I feel as though we’re rapidly heading towards a dancing-for-nickels-by-the-train-tracks-based economy.


If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?


Melissa: I think I could sneak up on Dale Chihuly pretty good, since he’s only got the one eye. I could probably take him. Then I’d give him a piledriver right into a huge glass sculpture. BOOM! How do you like that, renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly?


JW: I would punch all living contemporary artists. Line’em up! They seem like a pretty soft bunch that could use a punch. Or at least a slap. On the bottom.

Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?


Melissa: My first kiss was in elementary school, so maybe if there was a song it would be a very short song played on a tin pennywhistle.


JW: That song has already been written – it’s called “Is That All There Is?” by Miss Peggy Lee. High five!


At what point were you particularly happy?


Melissa: When we were having an art show in Mexico City, I got to pet a baby lion on the street. Some people got out of a BMW and pulled the sleepiest lion cub ever out of a cat carrier. They indulged me for about a minute; I got to pet his head and rub his paws.


JW: Just because that lion is probably a drug kingpin’s pet doesn’t make him any less fuzzy or sleepy.

No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


Melissa: My body is primarily composed of regrets and water.


JW: I always regret, when a friend moves away, all of the times I stayed in and worked instead of hanging out. I suck.


What trait do your friends have in common?


JW: They usually have their own shit going on and they should expect to see us infrequently at best and be okay with that. They have to at least kind of like the stuff we make (which makes me shallow, I know. I KNOW THIS ALREADY). Our friends by and large have awesome musical tastes. They have to be okay with how slopper we look sometimes. We tend to attract homebodies, record collectors, and dope hermits who just want a chill hang.


Melissa: We attract a lot of guy friends. It’s a shame because it reinforces people’s opinion of us, which is that we’re dude-ish.


JW: It’s your loss, ladies!

If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?


Melissa: I think I could only manage my cat Ralph. He’s heavy and floppy, like a fluffy water balloon.


JW: I would grab my cat George under one arm and our external hard drive under the other. The rest can burn.


Greatest love of your life?


JW: Melissa, doy.


Melissa: …

What is your favorite vice?


Melissa: I have so many. I think my favorite is late-night google stalk and self-stalk. JW calls it “wallowing.”


JW: Doing it, of course. What else is there? I’m sorry, people, if you didn’t want to think of me in THAT WAY, but there it is and now it’s yours to deal with. Blame Juxtapoz, not me. I keep my filth inside my house, thank you very much.


When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?


JW: I just want to live some place where we can have both a donkey and a goat. I’m not kidding. I want to live on Moo-Moo Farm.


Melissa: We don’t use candles. I don’t get it. I can’t answer this question. It is impossible for me to visualize.

If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?


Melissa: I would be Mary Poppins. She can fly. That would kill about 12 hours right there. I think I’d spend the next three hours going up banisters and making toys dance around the room. Then I’d have a power nap, and I’d spend the last few hours dancing with some penguins.


JW: I think I’d be Snoopy. He seems like he’s got it pretty figured out. And I think a Snoopy-Mary Poppins team-up would be pretty much the dopest shit ever.


Do you ever lie?


JW: Mostly to ourselves. “I’m gonna get up and start working right now.” “I am only allowing myself to have one more of these delicious bars.”  “I’m getting out of bed in ten seconds. Ten, nine, eight…zzzzzzzzzzz.” I could go on.

Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


JW: I don’t think everybody gets the intent of our work, but we definitely have “our people.” Sometimes they come up to us in public, a little impaired, and they say, “I get you, man. I totally get it.” And then they point at their head and squint and nod conspiratorially. And I have no reason to disbelieve them.


Melissa: I don’t worry too much about whether people understand our work, as long as they like the way it looks. It doesn’t do me any good if someone loves the way our stuff looks but they don’t like the message. What am I supposed to do with that?


What virtue can you do without?


JW: Temperance can eat shit and die. Fuck you, temperance!


Melissa: I am not a patient lady. I am already doing without it just fine.

Do you even notice when you're swearing?


JW: Is it really that bad?


Melissa: No, I don’t. It can be a issue when we have to speak in public. People are frequently shocked by my filthy, filthy mouth but they mostly find it entertaining.


JW: It’s alright if there’s a delete button around. I feel like we’ve really cut down on our swearing in our monthly newsletter, although there’s still quite a bit. I think it’s only shocking because it isn’t what people expect when they see our work.


Melissa: Little Friends is for the children.


What has been your proudest moment?


JW: I was so proud when I taught my cat to shake hands.


Melissa: Your cat can’t shake hands. I was proud when I taught my cat to ride a full-sized bicycle.


JW: In reality, the life of a designer is filled with teeny-tiny victories that just sort of wash together.


Melissa: I was really proud when a toy of ours came out through Jamungo. Our one toy, ever.

What would you like to be remembered for?


JW: I’m just assuming we won’t be remembered. I’m not pinning my hopes to that. Like, someone will take a bunch of our prints to the Antiques Roadshow on PBS and there will only be super-sketchy information about who we were, and then the graphic will come up with the tinkling sound and it’ll just be all question marks and frowny faces.


How would you prefer to die? 


JW: If I have to die, then I want to be lowered into a giant ice cream sundae six feet wide by seven feet tall, and then try to eat my way out. I have a feeling if I ate my way out of something that big, I would just want someone to shoot me, so it works either way.


Melissa: I just want to die in a way that I can be sure that my cats won’t eat my corpse, because I know they love me but I don’t trust them.


If you missed our exclusive interview with the duo, you can check it out here…



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