Born from the active Chicago design and screen-printing scene and created by Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi, Sonnenzimmer developed in 2006 as an in-house screen-printing and art studio with a unique aesthetic. A microscope slide backlit by an aurora borealis can swath a poster, or black and white squares and sketching sitting solidly above minimal typography may confer the concept. At times confining chaos in strokes and blobs, at others celebrating white space and typography, Nick and Nadine create compelling prints. A gig poster from this duo stands out refreshingly.
The connections are planned, the boundaries thought out, but, beyond that, they are organic; like a city springing up from nature, or a city being ceded to nature. Maybe neither. That’s the success of their work; it creates an immediate impact and impression, but keeps your eye while your brain engages and explores it past that initial interaction.
Their prints interact (with the medium, collaborators, message, and viewer) like few others have, too. A particular favorite of mine, promoting the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation and done in collaboration with another artist, manipulates color, content, and offsetting across the print run, creating an animation. Nick and Nadine have a clear talent and love for the craft, and it shows in the wide range of work they’ve done. In the dynamic back-and-forth between abstractions and text, color and composition, Sonnenzimmer stands at the forefront of contemporary printmaking.
Oh, and their site is nice, too: