Monthly Archives

August 2017

Meet Danny Wilson

By | Artist, Tweek Imaging | No Comments

It’s time we introduce you to another Tweek Artist! This month we are pleased to share a recent Q&A with Danny Wilson. Danny is a Knoxville illustrator who has worked with clients ranging from the University of Tennessee to The White House, Scripps Networks to Warner Bros, Panera to Taylor Swift…. We love printing Danny’s work and getting to see what he’s been working on. The talent of our Tweek Artists is truly unmatched. Enjoy reading/meeting Danny!

TI: So your career started with a BFA in Graphic Design/Illustration. What was your initial motivation as far as work was concerned? Did you have one goal in mind?

DW: My career actually started before I had a BFA. While a student at UT, I worked as an illustrator for The Knoxville Journal doing news and sports related illustrations and informational graphics. As my graduation approached, my goal was to move to a larger market and get hired by an illustration studio. At the time, in the mid-eighties, there were illustration studios in major cities that had several illustrators on staff and just cranked out the work. It was a great way to get trained and learn to produce professional level art. The day after graduation I went to Atlanta and on my second day got hired by an illustrator from New Zealand, Ian Greathead. Ian was a renowned airbrush illustrator who was in such demand he was turning down a lot of work. He decided to start a studio to be able to take on that extra work, and I was the first illustrator that he hired.

TI: What was the content of your final show and how did that shape what you did in the future at all?

DW: At that time at UTK we weren’t doing the “final show” concept for BFA students. However I did have a portfolio of work that showcased what I hoped to do professionally. At one point in my schooling I made a decision that I wanted to be an illustrator rather than a graphic designer. My upper level classes reflected that choice, so I had a portfolio full of illustration that had quite a bit of diversity in style and technique. Even though I was always told that I needed to develop one style to be known for, that ability to be versatile has turned out to be very important in my career.

TI: From concept renderings, cartooning, logo creations…do you have a favorite? Why?

DW: I have come to really enjoy the concept renderings that I do for Event and Experiential Marketing firms. Each project is unique. They are usually quick turnaround, but they pay well. And that niche has allowed me to do work for a lot of nationally prominent companies and people like Warner Bros, Netflix, Panera, Yahoo, Taylor Swift, The White House, Zappos, etc. etc.

TI: What is more challenging for you–bringing a creative firm’s vision to life based on their description or the physical creation of a piece?

DW: I would think the bigger challenge is the first part, making sure I understand what the client is asking for. Each client has a different way of describing what they want, but over time I have learned how to interpret their descriptions and what questions to ask. After I have an understanding of the project, the creation of the image is the part that comes more natural to me. I will usually do a sketch and send to the client for approval, to make sure I understood their requests, before starting on the final color art.

TI: Is there one thing you started doing early on in your business that set you up for success? One small daily practice that makes everything fall into place?

DW: A couple of things come to mind that I always tell students and young entrepreneurs. One is to treat being a freelancer like a job. Get up. Get dressed. Even though flexibility of your schedule is a nice perk of freelancing, try to keep somewhat regular hours when possible. The second thing is some pretty obvious financial advice to help even out the feast or famine nature of freelancing. Set up a business checking account separate from your personal account. When you receive payment, deposit it in your business account, set aside 20% for taxes and then write yourself a regular paycheck into your personal account. That way you don’t end up blowing through the money when you had a good month and then have nothing when you have a bad month. And be aware, you will have good and bad months for your entire career.

TI: Was there one project early on that shaped your business? Maybe a type of illustration you didn’t expect to do?

DW: I’m sorry to go back to the concept renderings, but that really has been the biggest surprise of my career. In the early nineties I got a call from Michael Miller at Whittle Communications. He asked if I would do a project that he had been given that he didn’t feel like he could do. It was a concept rendering for the new Whittle Events Group to be used in a presentation to Coca Cola for the Coca Cola Road Trip. Not really understanding what the Events Group did, I thought it was a one time project, but when I delivered it to him (a 24”x 36” marker rendering, mounted on foam core), a young Brad Wirz, who had just joined the sales division of the Events Group, saw it and said to me, “Hey, how much is one of those?” We talked for a few minutes and later that day he called me with another concept rendering project. And I’ve been doing them, and specializing in them, now for about 25 years. So I owe a lot to Michael and Brad for that part of my career. It’s a niche that I didn’t even know existed prior to that and one that I now get work for from all around the U.S.

TI: Do you have a favorite project as of late? Why?

DW: I recently was asked to create the official art for The 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in Atlanta, which open the College Football season each year. I enjoy doing College Football related images and this project, which I got because of the poster I created and sold in 2016 for The Battle at Bristol football game has been a fun challenge. Its getting a lot of exposure on a national scale and it’s led to some important relationships in the college football world for me.

TI: What project brought you the most public recognition do you think?

DW: The Battle at Bristol poster last year, that I just mentioned, led to five or six TV and radio interviews, and several newspaper articles, so that might be it. In years past though I’ve had some pretty visible projects. I designed the court graphics for The Summitt, UT’s basketball court. I did the growling Smokey logo that you see on shirts and bumpers. And I did the old starburst Power T design that used to be on the back of the jumbotron at Neyland Stadium. Another highly visible project that has been around for a while is a large mural at the Hoover Dam Visitors Center. Also, the graphic on the front of the Kraken supercomputer at ORNL. Those are some of the more visible projects I have done.

TI: What project brought you the recognition in the art world do you think?

DW: I’m not really sure how to answer this. I’m not really recognized in the art world in any kind of tangible way. I don’t enter award shows or anything like that. I’m a relatively obscure illustrator that has happily been able to make a living at it for over 30 years.

TI: What brought you to Tweek?

DW: Even though I think I may have interacted with them earlier, I was really made aware of Tweek when I was working on a project with Paul Seylar, Creative Director at Scripps Networks. We teamed up to create a pretty unique infographic, that doubled as a framable piece of art. Tweek was working with Paul on the gicleé prints. Later on, when I need a source of that same kind of printing I got their contact info from Paul.

TI: How long have you worked with Tweek?

DW: That Scripps Networks project was in 2012. I think the first actual job that I sent to them personally was a print of a caricature of my friend Mike Wenger, in 2013.

TI: What keeps you coming back for each project?

DW: Quality products coupled with excellent customer service.  They really know what they are doing in both.

TI: Would you recommend Tweek to other illustrators?

DW: Absolutely! And I do!

TI: Current inspiration:

DW: Since almost all of my professional work is done on a digital tablet, I have recently began doing some actual on-site sketching when we travel. The sites I have seen, plus the experience of sketching on the spot, both are very inspirational to me.

TI: Current musical obsession:

DW: The entire career of Bob Dylan.

TI: Favorite meal of the day:

DW: Breakfast is my favorite meal, but since I work from a studio in my home, I do enjoy going out to lunch every day just to keep from going crazy.

TI: Coffee or Chocolate:

DW: Not a coffee drinker so chocolate wins by default.

Meet Emily Brewer!

By | Artist, Photographer, Tweek Imaging | No Comments

It has been a little while since we’ve introduced you fine folks to another Tweek artist. So, we’re here to quench your thirst today! You’ve seen Emily Brewer from time to time on our social media accounts but we thought it was time you learned more about what she does when she isn’t on our social media. She has a couple shows she’s a part of this summer in Knoxville so we’ve got the scoop on those as well. This gal has nothing short of an analogue film obsession and because of that she’s got some pretty fantastic work. Enjoy this little sneak peek in her world! And visit her show in Knoxville before August is over!

TI: Where do we start with you? What camera did you pick up first?

EB: Trying to think back to this first camera of many…I borrowed my Dad’s Minolta SLR back in high school for a short darkroom lesson during an art class, but my first proper camera was purchased at Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon when I lived there way back in the day. I think I bought a Canon AE1.

TI: What draws you to photography? And what keeps you coming back for more?

EB: I think I’ve always been drawn to things that feel magical. Obviously, I realize everything has a scientific explanation and a few genius brains behind it, but think about it – we are using tiny little (and sometimes not so tiny) boxes of wood and metal and plastic with a roll or piece of film in it that captures life as we see it, and sometimes life as we don’t see it. Then we swish it around for a while in some chemicals and there’s an image that we can put in another box and shine light through it onto a chemical-coated paper that makes a photograph right before our eyes as we agitate a tray. It’s fascinating and magical and it feels great. That feeling is what keeps me coming back.

TI: We ask you that because we know you have a camera obsession. What is your current obsession?

EB: Oh man, the camera obsession. Current and long standing obsession is anything Leica. Tiny rangefinders, point & shoots, and half frames really have my heart right now. As well as anything 4×5. So one extreme or the other, basically.

TI: Explain your obsession. Why do you love trying new camera bodies or love acquiring them?

EB: Well, they all have their own nuances. It’s fun getting to know a camera. Each camera I use gives me a different feeling while I’m using it. I’m also an overly technical person (NERD!) so I kinda geek out on stupid tech specs and spend a lot of time researching, just because.

TI: Film or Digital?

EB: FIlm, hands down!

TI: If you could have an unlimited supply of any film what would it be?

EB: Why do you ask these hard questions?! How can I pick just one? If I am forced, I suppose Fuji Neopan. But HP5 & Tri-X are staples too, for affordability.

TI: Describe your favorite shooting environment.

EB: Old, dirty places or cities. Nighttime. Panama City Beach. Anywhere I haven’t been before.

TI: You’ve gotten into tintype photography. What do you love about it?

Remember that thing I said about the magic? Yeah. Plus, it’s pretty interesting that the photograph comes out essentially grain free. And there’s a risk of blowing things up with chemicals, so that’s always fun too.

TI: Your body of work has a good amount of environmental and portrait photography. Do you have a favorite?

EB: No favorites really. I enjoy both equally.

TI: Did you print these yourself in your darkroom?

EB: Yes, I do print them myself in my basement darkroom. I have also used the Knoxville Community Darkroom while mine was still under construction. My platinum prints were made in Portland, Oregon but I am set up to continue making these at home as well. The color prints are professionally printed (the old fashioned way) at my only and favorite camera store and lab – Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon.

TI: Have you displayed your work enough to have a favorite way of hanging/displaying?

EB: I like tacking them up on my wall at home and staring at them until I hate them. Or until I’m bored with them. It motivates me to make more and better.

TI: What would be the content of your dream show?

EB: Interesting question. I don’t really “create” or plan my content, the content, in a way, finds me. I’d be happy to show anything and everything.

Current & Upcoming Shows featuring Emily Brewer:

Striped Light, 8/4-5: Introducing Emily’s new project TnTypes! Visit her site to schedule an appointment to get your very own tintype portrait made this weekend! How cool is that?!

White Oak Gallery, running thru August: Show will consist of silver gelatin prints, platinum prints, polaroid emulsion lifts, and optical color prints. It is in White Oak Gallery.

Current inspiration: All of my creative friends across the world – I’m constantly inspired by any and all other artists.

Current musical obsession: Andy Shauf / True Widow / After Care / Pinback / Title Fight

Favorite meal of the day: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack – all day food

Coffee or chocolate: Chocolate, and it better be small batch, fancy, expensive, dark, and have superfoods in it.

TI: How do you typically get your film images converted into digital format? Tweek maybe? 🙂 Why Tweek?

EB: Definitely Tweek. I can use quality scanners that have been around and appreciated for years. And I know my obsession for quality is matched by Tony and the rest of the Tweek team.

TI: Do you have a favorite scanner at Tweek? Why?

EB: I prefer using the Scitex Eversmart Pro because the scans have a special quality to them that I don’t see when using other scanners. It’s kind of one of those magical things that’s hard to explain.

TI: What makes you choose Tweek for printing larger format or multiple prints of images? What keeps you coming back for more?

EB: The paper options are enough reason alone. But I also know that Tweek’s attention to detail and quality can’t be found many other places.