tattooing like whoa

these are all currently up on my tumblr and instagram (@jillyink) accounts, but i thought it'd be a good idea to post them here too - i'd love to share with you all the plethora of custom tattoo designs i've been drawing for people all over the world in the last few weeks. here we go!

{'wait and hope' for reed dunn}

{'friendship: one mind, two bodies' for two best friends}

{infinity symbol with 'memere' and '1.23' to commemorate kate lindsley's grandmother}

{'life/love' infinity symbol with feather detail for megan quesenberry}

{'non est ad astra mollis e terris via' translation: 'there is no easy path from earth to the stars' for shannon}

{'time bomb' last-minute design for megan holly}

this is all so surreal, and amazing. i love being able to share what i love with so many people. keep the commissions coming! more calligraphy, wedding-style, is on the way as well! cheers.

getting inky

(earth, wind, fire, water, moon - for alex raffael)

sometimes how we envision things happening doesn't end up being the case. in fact, this happens most of the time. if, a year ago, someone was to tell me i'd be receiving weekly commissions to draw and design words and pictures that people all over the world would be permanently marking themselves with, i'd have thought that sounded amazing, and completely unbelievable. well, now, just seven months after designing my own, first tattoo, i am happily occupied with translating ideas, words, and images into tattoos. i love it. of course, now i can't imagine not thinking of this in the first place.

Image

(tattooed version of this design - for jessica silva)

here are a few recent tattoos that i've designed, and as always, i welcome many more to come.

('bird' - for katie prange)

(meaning 'to live life passionately and unafraid - for megan mateer)

wedding guest tree: ms. buryk and mr. borchert

this past weekend was the darling wedding of darling friends alexis buryk and scott borchert (see their spotlight in the ny times!). having been friends since our nyu days, alexis and i are now both about to gather our mfa's in writing from the school of the art institute of chicago. she is one of my dearest and closest and most wonderful friends, and i was honored not only to be a part of her wedding party, but also to be asked to create the wedding guest 'book'.

instead of a traditional page-turner, she and scott decided they'd rather be able to look at something that spoke to their wedding day in a very unique way, so they chose to present a tree that guests could fill in with thumbprint 'leaves' and a note for the couple. it turned out lovely, just like the day itself. congratulations scott and alexis, and may this tree be a constant reminder of the vast circle of supporters and loved ones who will honor your union every step of the way.

 

(ps. be on the lookout for new additions/sections to my jillyink etsy shop - coming soon!)

danielle and bobby: envelopes are on their way

my darling, lovely, hilarious, gorgeous cousin danielle is getting married this coming june to an equally wonderful, funny, fun, handsome fellow, and they asked me to help in the preparations by addressing their wedding invites. this being something i love, of course i said yes! here are the final envelopes, about to be packed up with a bow and shipped back to massachusetts where they'll be stuffed and sent out to the world. many many congratulations to danielle and bobby - i can't wait to see them tie the knot this spring!

soiree!

i'm so honored and excited to participate as a vendor in soiree events' 'leap into wedding season' event tomorrow night at chicago's fleur de lis florist in river north. the darling tiffany munster, brains and beauty behind soiree, asked me to provide calligraphy for the bridal grab bags - a cute play on the something borrowed, something blue, something old, something.. well, you know. here are the scans of the calligraphy - she'll be printing the e.e. cummings poem on cute little cards, attaching the something borrowed to an adorable little 'emergency kit', and as for the rest, well you'll find out when i do!

for all brides that are attending the event, i'm offering a free custom return address stamp with the purchase of custom address calligraphy for 100 or more wedding invitation envelopes. i'm looking forward to meeting the other lovely vendors, trying some cake, and spending the evening at a decked-out decadent soiree!

 

bleed heart bleed: design cloud chicago

some exciting news to share - my installation piece, "all those other words", will be amongst 25 other artists' works in design cloud gallery's 2nd ever group show! opening this friday, february 17th (reception 6-9pm), bleed heart bleed includes work that explores, examines and reflects the many different responses to lost love. my piece, which is also currently up in the sullivan galleries through february 18th, fits into this quite aptly. below is the invitation to the show - if you're in chicago this friday night, be sure to rsvp, come sip some wine, look at art, and share in the universality of what it means to have a broken heart, what it means to mend it and move on.

all those other words

 

i know i haven't updated in quite a while, but i have a pretty big-deal post for today.  for the past month and a half (and really, the last year), i've been working on an installation piece for an exhibition opening at the sullivan galleries in chicago this friday.  the piece, 'all those other words', is a 17 page story written non-chronologically that i laser cut into birch plywood and set behind stained wooden doors.  i cannot say how proud i am with how the piece turned out, how happy i am that it looks so beautiful and reads so well, how utterly relieved i am that it's finally up and i don't have to worry about little tiny screws or super glue or nail guns anymore.  enjoy the photos - hopefully i'll post more after the opening!

 

the books:

 

 

during installation:

 

 

all up on the wall:

 

 

gilt city chalkboard event calligraphy

last week i had the distinct pleasure to get my hands covered in chalk.  a dear friend of mine called and said that a client of hers was in need of a calligrapher to cover the walls of the bristol in bucktown with chalk renderings of gilt city chicago's mission statement, menu for the evening and various other embellishments for their vendor appreciation event.  of course i jumped up and down and twirled around and said yes yes yes.

it took all of 5 1/2 hours to complete the restaurant's transformation, during which time i cranked adele and pearl and the beard and vampire weekend over the bar's loudspeaker system.  it was so much fun.  and instead of taking mediocre pictures myself, i enlisted the help of a very talented photographer friend of mine, lauryn krause, to capture the end result.

i would love to do more events like this - i could seriously not have been happier with how the whole day turned out.  and the next; on thursday i went back, erased the gilt city mission statement, and rewrote the bar's menu on the chalkboard walls... all the while wishing i could order a moscow mule to drink while i worked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a southern stamp - makenna and yvonne johnston

it was such a pleasure working with makenna on creating a return address stamp for her and yvonne.  originally she wanted a custom initial stamp with both of their first initials, but after a while changed her mind and went for the full address. i think it came out beautifully, and i can just imagine the many envelopes and packages that it will adorn!

a windy city kind of stamp - ashlie and bryan karns

 

i love love love getting requests from people to make a stamp, either on or off my etsy shop, and then seeing where they're coming at me from.  some from far away (a macon, georgia return address is in the works), and some, surprisingly, from just around the block.  ashlie just recently moved to chicago from new york, and wanted her new home address at the ready when she arrived - presumably to use on some 'we've moved!' announcements - so voila!  all wrapped up in jillyink packaging, here's ashlie and bryan's new return address stamp:

 

ashlie was such a pleasure to work with, and i wish her and bryan all the best in their new home - especially now that chicago's warmed up quite a bit!

canopy

after one and a half weeks of frantic designing, printing, cutting while kneeled and hunched over on the floor (oh my back!), i finally, with the help of my dear roommate) put up my final project for my installation class this semester.  and it just so happened that we installed on the one, repeat: one, beautiful, sunny day that chicago's seen in the past month really.  it was truly a blessing, and it made the papercut installation sing with clarity, brilliance and full out shine.

i am now completely obsessed with cut paper projects, and will be experimenting with other materials as well, maybe forming language out of wire, or different forms of pellon, or really, whatever i can get my hands on.  thank you so much to everyone who's helped support me mentally and emotionally in this project - it really, the whole thing, has made me so happy.  and now i'm equally happy that it's done.

and in case you're interested, here's the text of the piece:

she does not see far.  the wind twists itself around and about her limbs, sends her hair into a fury, but she doesn't see far./she doesn't hear long.  the sounds of rays that creep within the cracks of her skin make no impression on her eardrums./she tries to follow the feel.  she touches the ends of things, gropes for a hanging-on of connection.  the mouth she has./she lets it all in, and washes it all out.  welcomes it in, and stands helpless as it all passes through.

follow the lines

some process photos that i promised - here's the first two panels of large-scale papercuts for my third installation. pre-cutting, here's what the scrolls of paper look like with the designs printed on them:

starting to cut:

the completed first panel:

and here's the final cutout of the second:

i'll just go ahead and let the pictures speak for themselves.  more to come!

and a cut here, and a cut there

so.  for my third installation project, i'm working with text.  oh.  i suppose that's been my game all along, hasn't it?  this time, however, i'm working with it as a 3d material.  you all know from one of my last posts that i'm slightly obsessed with papercutting, paper crafting, paper everything.  i decided to try my own hand at cut paper, so i went out to my local utrecht (thank you 10% student discount), purchased a swivel x-acto knife and fancy cutting board, grabbed a roll of white easel paper and headed on home to my kitchen table work space.

this will be super easy, right?  i so naively thought to myself.  after my first few tries and the first few pangs of a cramped hand, however, i started to get a good rhythm.  and then it just started to click.  and then it started to look gorgeous.  i mean, i don't mean to toot my own horn, but the result is just fascinating - the paper ends up looking/feeling like lace, and the shadows that the lines create are lovely, ephemeral, delicate.  it's the shadows that i'm after, actually, in the final piece, but really, i couldn't have been more pleased with the visual in general.

the only thing that slightly irks me is the presence of the graphite on the paper.  i could not for the life of me figure out how i could cut out my writing without a guide right there on the paper (if i had a light table, it might be a different story).  does anyone have suggestions for the future?  fortunately, since the actual installation piece will be much larger and i just so happen to go to a pretty sweet art school, there are tools/machines like fancy laser and plotter cutters that will cut the shapes out for me, so i won't have to worry about the graphite on the final piece.  but in the meantime, with x-acto in hand, i'd like to come up with a way of getting this desired effect without the guide... and i have a feeling that erasing it post-cutting would just tear the thing into pieces.

i also love what happens to these discarded pieces of the papercut - they're so sweet, like tiny waves floating suspended on their own.  i'll continue sharing the stages to this final project, and i hope you enjoy the process as much as i do!

reference

second installation project - i decided to blasphemously tear pages out of an old 1965 dictionary and infuse them with my own writing.  over the course of a week and a half, i painstakingly (and yes, at times, those late nights, hitting f3 and then shift+f over and over again was indeed painful) searched through roughly twenty documents of my own writing that i've produced since last fall for whatever recognizable words i found on each page.  once found within a piece of my writing, i'd hand-write the sentence that word was used in over its original definition.  thereby claiming its definition as my own.

some of the pages went faster than others.  some strangely had no words that i could use, and so in those cases, i made up definitions for certain words.  or i would find interesting connections between the words that just so happened to be situated near each other.  or i experimented with hand-lettering of certain letters, words, images, etc.

the wallpapering itself took no time, but the entire project, layered together and spread out over the expanse of a wall in my studio, sparked such an interesting conversation about authorship, overload of information, hierarchy of text, positive vs negative space, and so many other things.  i truly enjoyed putting this together, and if given the opportunity, would absolutely cover an entire room like this.  i mean, why not?  now i know how to make my own glue.

sonnets upon sonnets

 

almost everyone has some sort of relationship with shakespeare. whether it be that awkward memory of having to memorize shylock's speech in freshman english, or finding that one line in that one sonnet that just so happens to speak to whatever is going on in your life, there's no doubt that for most of us, ole billy has struck some sort of chord.

for my first project in my art installation class, i decided to play around with accumulation and dismantling - in this case, the accumulation of text and chalk, the dismantling of shakespeare's sonnets as well as the concept of what it means to be a book, a collection.

it's incredibly interesting to see what happens when you start to layer words and sentences on top of each other. the negative space becomes positive, the blackboard starts to resemble a white notebook page, and the sonnets themselves become almost completely illegible (although that could also have something to do with the nature of my handwriting). i had such fun putting this together, and i definitely foresee more chalkboard art in my future.

what's your favorite sonnet? i'll always be partial to 116.