By Jason Foumberg
“Why do all the work?” asks Nadine Nakanishi of traditional printmaking techniques. The rhetorical question is often posed to her and Nick Butcher, who together run Sonnenzimmer, a silk-screening poster-design studio in Roscoe Village. A shopper at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco stopped at their booth to ask why he shouldn’t simply get posters made at Kinko’s where 11×17 full-color sheets are available for about one dollar each. The question doesn’t frustrate Nadine but emboldens her to promote print culture, and she’s clearly spent a lot of energy doing so. Nadine is thoughtful, articulate and passionate about the continuing need for local, hand-crafted prints—not fine-art prints but posters, announcements, catalogues, books, flyers—and Sonnenzimmer’s output is testament to this ethic.
Nadine and Nick started as painters and gravitated toward prints as they realized how a print could fulfill a need where a painting couldn’t. At first, they traded rent for poster designs. After mentoring with local print legend Jay Ryan, they founded Sonnenzimmer in 2006 as a fully functioning business enterprise. Their love for painting hasn’t died, though, as painting and drawing often makes its way into their printed compositions. Read the rest of this entry »