New Relief Prints: Memento Mori series

Posted on May 31, 2017 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Here are a few relief prints--made via linocut--that I want to share. This is based on the "Memento Mori" concept that dates to the Roman Empire. Memento Mori means "Remember death," or "Remember that you will die" and is supposed to encourage one to be humble in life and appreciate life. It was a saying that in particular was directed at the victors and leaders in Roman, the conquering heroes. It was supposed to be an antidote to hubris. 

The theme was woven through medieval and Renaissance art, as well, through the work in particular of northern European woodcutters and painters like Hans Holbein and Heironymous Bosch.

I wanted to take the theme to a few modern settings, and this is the result.



Closeup: The Subway Ride.


Closeup: The Selfie.

Tribute to Shel Silverstein

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

I've always loved Shel Silverstein's work. When I learned he grew up and lived in Chicago, I started reading more about him and thought it would be fun to put together a brief illustrated tour of his life and make a nod to his poetic and artistic style. An attempt, anyway.

What I realize, trying to imitate his work, is that his drawings look simple but there is a lot going on. There is power and looseness in the line work, there's very deliberate choices about white space--i.e., what NOT to draw. His illustration complements his poetry, which is also, on the surface, simple and to the point. Usually there is some twist or turn at the end that makes you think. Just like his famous song "A Boy Named Sue." 

His work is a great lesson in minimalism. Shel can make simple black and white text and pen strokes turn into some of the most beloved, thought-provoking, and colorful pieces of work for all ages. 

Going to Printer's Row this year? It's on June 10-11 by Printer's Row Park in the South Loop. Come find me and say hello.

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Homes of Famous Chicagoans

Posted on May 08, 2017 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

A Year of Homes: 2016

Posted on January 01, 2017 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Here's a look back at a selection of the homes and buildings I drew this past year. It was a great year. Wishing you all the success and happiness you wish for in 2017. 

Here's the link to a vertical scrolling page of home portraits

Locking in: The Creation of the 7 Locks Brewing logo

Posted on January 01, 2017 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Some friends of ours, Keith and Laura, opened a brewery in Rockville, Maryland, called 7 Locks Brewing. It's a great spot, great beers, highly recommended--check it out if and when you're in the area. 

Last year, the 7 Locks crew decided to give their original logo (below) a re-design ahead of some new beer releases. 

Keith approached me to take on the task, which I gladly accepted. I shipped them the final logo just before this past Thanksgiving. 

I was happy with the outcome and the development process. In this post I wanted to share that process, showing the stages from concept to finished logo, with the sketches along the way and my thoughts and reflections on each.

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The Night City Sky maps.

Posted on November 28, 2016 by Bench Bookkeeping | 0 comments

One of the disadvantages to living in Chicago (and most big cities, for that matter) is missing out on a clear view of the night sky. What's worse is forgetting it's up there.

Whenever we head back to Katie's hometown in more pristine northwestern PA, I'm always blown away by the epic night scene that reveals itself nearly every night. These days, the closest I'll get to the night sky from within the Chicago city limits is a visit to the planetarium and packet of astronaut ice cream.

This past summer, Katie challenged me to come up with a way to combine the fascinating patterns of city streets with the immense depth and unique patterns of the night sky. Many iterations and false starts and trashed drafts later, we finally came to a design that we liked a lot. The series includes Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston, New York, and San Francisco.

We're happy to introduce this as out latest print release, and it's available exclusively through Uncommon Goods. Right here. Image below for your consideration.

In other news: If you're interested in anything from my storefront, use the offer code THETURKEY15 for 15% off all purchases until December 4.

Thanks for reading. There's some work that I'm chipping away at that I can't wait to share with you. In the meantime, I wish you a great and comfortable holiday season for you and yours. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any ideas for projects, prints, or world peace.
All the Best,
Phil

The Origins, the Minimal City, the Press, the Venues

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Maps & The City

Anyone who knows me might say, among other things, "This guy loves maps." That is true. The other day I got to thinking about why I started making maps at all.

Katie and I used to live in Bucktown right on Armitage and Western. There were two places nearby that we loved: Margie's Candies, a 100-year old sundae shop offering up huge servings smothered in homemade chocolate; and the Map Room, one of the great pioneering beer bars of this city.

Around 2009 or so I was in the Map Room drinking with my longtime friend Matt. Looking at the maps plastered all over the walls, I was struck with an idea to make a map of the city's best beer bars. I went on to research and ink that map, Katie colored it, we released it to the public, and it got some nice traction. It was a lot of fun and it took us to some new corners of the city.

As the years passed, other beer bars popped up everywhere, ordinary bars started calling themselves beer bars, and worst of all, some of the bars that were on my map closed. So, like many maps, it faded and became a snapshot in time. Nonetheless, I love the fact that this map is one point in time that I remember well.

there are some Easter eggs in the map that are fun to revisit. For example, I drew two of my friends who first introduced me to beer better than Yeungling. Here's Tom and Jim (below), talking and walking outside The Map Room.

The Minimal City

Earlier this summer, I decided to make a departure from my typical style. I wondered how I could reduce the city of Chicago to a very minimal presentation while preserving some soul of the city. That led me through many, many drafts, some using criss-crossing lines, following its grid-like pattern of roads. I finally settled on a design that showed some continuity from the horizontal streets through to the waves of Lake Michigan, and was happy with the outcome.

I thought the lines needed to really pop out, and so I settled on a screen printing the design in gold ink on a Midnight Blue stock. This was created at Hoofprint in Pilsen, under their expert advice. (I highly recommend checking them out, by the way. They provide a range of printing services all from a converted Funeral Home.)

Here's the print in final form. 18" x 18" on heavy French Paper. Available on my site here.

    

Cape Horn Illustration in the Press 

It was a great honor to have Runner's World feature the Cape Horn marathon maps. If you or your friends and family are running a race this Fall, let me just say Good Luck. My hat's off to you. I haven't run a marathon since the Chicago Marathon in 2013 and every time I think about doing another one I pass out in fear of mile 18. If you're running this year, get in touch and I'll get you a good deal on a framed marathon map print. Runner's World article is here

It was also a huge honor to have the Chicago Alphabet featured in an article by Patty Wetli of DNAInfo! She does great reporting on news in the neighborhood and in the greater Ravenswood area. Read about the origins of the print and some of the early scratch-work and sketches. 

As always, I'm offering the ABC's to Chicago-area teachers for free--right now I estimate the print is in 30+ classrooms! Get in touch if you're a teacher or know one. Click the image below for more product details:

New Places & New Work

If you're local, find my work at the great shop, Neighborly, on Montrose and Damen. I've always loved their selection of well-designed, locally sourced products, and I'm proud now that my work is part of their lineup. That includes recent releases like the Minimal City print and the Chicago Alphabet.

Also exciting news: I've worked with the Brooklyn-based retailer Uncommon Goods for some time now--they sell three of my marathon maps and the home portraiture through their site. I'm proud to say that we've deepened the partnership to include a set of prints that will be released very shortly. It will be sold exclusively through Uncommon Goods and be featured prominently in their marketing. Stay tuned for a newsletter all about that print. Hint: It's a map. (Shocked?)

Two upcoming Chicago fairs where Katie and I will be showing our work. Stop by and say hello: Thanks for making it all the way to the bottom, dearest reader. You can get to my site this way.
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