Briana & Jason
(Long story short...NOT)
Brainstorm is the illustration studio and poster shop we unintentionally started in late 2007. We met in the printmaking studio at a small liberal arts college in N.J. and had very different ideas about "art". That discord dissolved very quickly into a loving bond. We worked on a few projects together and found out that collaborating brought out the best (and worst) parts of our personalities. We got to know each other quickly. Eventually we graduated with bleak job prospects in a pretty turbulent economy, but we still had idealistic ambitions to use the graphic design/art education degrees we worked for. While we looked for "real jobs", we also focused on smaller creative sessions, bouncing ideas back and forth. Those early freeform days helped us form mutual respect, both artistically and personally. So we kept working on freelance design projects and screenprinting posters, and began taking our print work to craft shows up and down the east coast. Without expectation and definitely open to all possibilities, we were just happy to be making things and to be a part of a growing handmade, crafty resurgence.
To keep sane in between job hunting/day jobs, Jason built us a simple HTML website to house our prints and projects. It was 2008/2009, and blogs were starting to really take off. A few of our faves took notice and posted about our work. Big internet stuff! People seemed to like the prints we were making so we made some more. Things started ramping up. We spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of the USPS and how best to photograph artwork in Mom's garage. Then we spent seven years moving around, screenprinting in grimy basements and crumbling lofts, and changing our logo a thousand times. We worked jobs we didn't like for bosses we liked even less, and we trudged through difficult lessons about who we thought we wanted to be as designers, artists, and just people in general. Amidst all that, people were still enjoying (and buying!) our print work and we were getting attached to the strange poster-selling lifestyle. Calling the shots was our favorite, even though we never really felt like we had any idea what we were doing. Neither of us had ever taken a business class (because that's what you need to be successful, right?). Every little success felt like a huge victory and we got to celebrate together. A lot of people had pretty rotten opinions about what it meant to make a living as an artist (gasp!), but we started to realize it was possible if we just stopped listening. Remembering that working together was THE MOST rewarding thing and that we valued having time, above all else. After some major failures, small victories, overwhelming student loans, apartments, new studio spaces, good designs, very bad designs, crazy opportunities, outrageous excitement followed by outrageous fear, inevitable fights, and arthritis (from hand printing), we had built something. By 2011 it became a full-time "job" for both of us.
We now live and work in New Hampshire and we're still at it. Our studio is in an old mill building in downtown Dover and we'd love for you to come visit. We're three people in a studio (meet Sara below) and we like it that way. We just want to make good work and stay small. No matter how fancy the Instagram pics get, we are still figuring it out as we go. There are never guarantees in any creative industry. So we have to stay nimble and work our butts off regardless of expectation or previous outcome. We're grateful that we've been able to build this strange creative hustle into something that our friends and family still don't fully understand. "You really make posters for a living?".
The bulk of our days are filled with illustration and poster design, business-y administrative stuff, and keeping our wonderful retailers well-stocked with our goods. Sometimes we do fun design projects for ourselves or with other people. Our print work is inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors. We also tackle geography and food when we feel like it. We prefer craft shows over gallery shows and love the mountains more than the city. We love the role of the poster in society and will forever prefer it as our means of creative communication.
If you'd like to buy a thing (or two), go here!
You can also find us mostly on Instagram, less on Twitter, and even less on Facebook.
We also got hitched in 2015. :) That's our story in a very large nutshell. I'm drunk now. See ya later!
Studio Manager & Brainstorm "It Girl"
The duo has become a trio! Sara joined the studio in September 2015 to become our studio manager. She's alright once you get to know her. She manages all of our wholesale accounts and keeps the studio running like a well-oiled machine. She keeps us in line when we get too wild and is as organized as they come. If you're looking to become a retailer of Brainstorm prints, have questions about what we do here all day, or need some general cheering up...she's your girl.
Visit our RETAILERS page to see who else is carrying our prints and goods. If you think you're a good fit, email Sara to get the party started. She'll send you our most recent online catalog, and maybe even a fun package of samples.
This is our studio. Go ahead. Snoop around.
This is how Briana works:
When I'm not doing business-y things or bossing Jason around, I love to paint with watercolors. We built some big tables so I can have all my paints, pens, and paper out all the time. This is my favorite place to think, illustrate, and try out new ideas...as long as the business to-do list is (sort of) done.
This is how Jason works:
Jason can work anywhere. An armchair. A tiny corner of his desk. There are paper piles and eraser shavings everywhere. When he's not drawing to his heart's content (or for a fun new project), you can find him on press making sure there are plenty of prints in stock!