Thursday, September 28, 2017

Featured Exhibitor: Midnight Oil Studio & Workshop


Allison and Jonathan Metzger combined their love of printmaking and textiles to create Midnight Oil Studio & Workshop, a business where they can collaborate via silkscreen printing. Each print is made by hand, from the designing to the printing process. Although the silkscreen process for printing is often used on fabrics in only a few colors, Allison and Jonathan use the technique on paper with multiple layers of color. Stop by their booth or the demo area to view a demonstration of their process. We can't wait to get our hands on one of their limited edition prints!
Who are you and what do you do?

Midnight Oil Studio & Workshop is the artistic brainchild of Allison and Jonathan Metzger, collaborative couple. We met while we were in the fine art graduate program at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. We both received our Masters Degrees of Fine Art in 2013, and we have been collaborating ever since. Midnight Oil Studio & Workshop creates limited edition fine art silkscreen prints with imagery of American landscapes and natural phenomena, contemporary pop culture and unique objects.

Have you always been passionate about art?

YES! We have both always been creators and dreamers; Jonathan loved comic strips as a kid, and recalls perfecting his own renditions of various Peanuts and Garfield characters throughout his childhood; Allison has always been drawn to textures and textiles and, as a kid, she loved creating crazy-quilt style collages and monoprints using various found and crafted objects. This desire to create beauty and share it with others is what drives us everyday to learn and improve our craft.

What do you love most about show vending?

The people! At every single show we have ever done, we have met the loveliest people. Vendors are always willing to lend each other a hand; we share extra blankets, umbrellas, and duct tape, and love to trade stories and tips. The customers are fun and wonderful to interact with, and we have often received some excellent advice on a direction to take a work in process, or a person to connect with to further our business. The shows are basically big parties, and everyone is having fun!

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

Jonathan received his MFA* in Printmaking and Allison received her MFA* in Textiles; silkscreen printing is a technique that overlaps the two disciplines. We both love the modern, clean, and graphic look of silkscreen on paper, and we enjoy pushing the expectations and understanding of what is possible with the technique. Silkscreen printing is also one of the few printmaking techniques that doesn’t require large, heavy, and super expensive equipment; we actually built all of our studio equipment ourselves, and we work out of a spare bedroom in our home!
*Master of Fine Arts is the terminal degree in this country for fine art.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

We love exploring and pushing the expectations of what is possible with silkscreen prints; most people are familiar with silkscreen as something that is used on tee-shirts or flat 2-3 color gig posters; we create complex imagery with up to 17 layers of multi-color rolls, textural details, and unique compositions. People who are familiar with the silkscreen process are often astounded when they realize that our work is all hand-drawn and hand-printed. We don’t use computers at all, and don’t have any digital copies - everything is hand done.

Where does your business name come from?

The term “midnight oil” was first coined by an English author Francis Quarles, in 1635, but the phrase “burning the midnight oil” became popularized by Dolly Parton in 1972, in a song by that name. We love the fascinating enigma that is Dolly, and we strive to run our business so that we, like she, will simultaneously do well AND good. We believe art is for everyone, and we work hard-sometimes all night long- to make it accessible, beautiful, and fun; just like Dolly.
Check out more of Allison and Jonathan's work online, and be sure to stop by their booth and demonstration at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 3-5, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors
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