Happy rainy Tuesday afternoon!
Today we’d like to introduce (or re-introduce, if you’re already familiar!) you to Christopher of Munstre and his excellent lightboxes.
Hi there! First things first: What’s your name, what’s your business name, where are you from, and where are you currently located/crafting?
I’m Christopher, and my business name is Munstre (Mun-stir). I’m originally from NY, then from Chicago, then from many various places in MA eventually landing in Boston. I live and work out of Davis sq, Somerville, MA.
How did you get your start? Please tell us a little bit about how your business went from an idea to what is is today.
I used to makes pins for bands, which when printed out required multiple sheets before they would get to the cutting stage. So to save time I would tape a few sheets together and then hold them up to a strong light to be sure the registration was correct all the way through. I started noticing how much more I enjoyed the artwork when it was illuminated, more and more thinking about a way I could take advantage of this with my own artwork & photography, as simply printing and framing was not doing it for me. I eventually corralled this into the form of a lightbox. Spent a chunk of time teaching myself woodworking and wiring skills in my fathers garage, built a website, and let it start spreading.
What inspires you the most to create?
Inspiration can be difficult for me, I suppose simplicity would be my global inspiration. At times that might just be in abstracted images, or color arrangements. Any artist who can pull off an effective idea simply and cleverly is impressive and makes me scrutinize my work more. I like thinking about the negatives of why a piece doesn’t work (both in my own work, and others) and then work with whatever is left over. I follow this same process when trying to find a decent cup of coffee.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
First, Photoshop. Everything I do (photographs, sketches, manipulated antique images, digitally created & textured images) gets pushed through Photoshop on some level. After that is working with acetate films, something about semi transparent images is exciting for me. I also love working with antique clocks, radios, wooden boxes – anything I may be able to convert into illuminated work in a unique way. Beyond that some materials get old, cutting glass is one of the least pleasurable recurring moments in my life.
Do you have a favorite color palette?
I do and it is unfortunately mostly grey… I wear it, I stare at it, people get bored by me for being drawn to it all the time. I don’t know the pathology behind that but I’m sure it’s neither positive nor interesting, I think I heard once that sociopaths or an equally degenerate group tend to choose ‘grey’ as their favorite color when asked which scares me. To combat this I don’t really allow myself to use greys in my work (excluding my website), I still may use a slated version of a color here and there but for the most part I’ve been good with bright blues and reds.
Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
Is Banksy still an ‘indie crafter?’ I find him to be the most clever artist I’ve seen, and I want all of it in my house somehow.
Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business? (Nothing TOP-SECRET, of course!)
I would love to get these lightboxes to the production level so I could comfortably reach out to more stores & potential catalogues. So far the cost has not worked out to allow me enough profit, and I’m not ready to go to China, so I’m still looking to partner up with someone on this issue. Additionally I am hoping for more gallery opportunities, but it is unclear where I may be living in approximately 7 months due to life, so I am putting that on the brief backburner.
What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?
Traveling and vacations whenever possible. Getting away from computer screens. Getting privileged (legal) tours of the Human Anatomy cadaver lab via my girlfriend, a soon-to-be doctor.
What are the top 3 reasons someone shopping at the BBB 2012 should be sure to stop by your table?
- Humans are naturally drawn to light, and my work is very pleasantly textured and arranged… it will be quite enjoyable to see in person, and close up.
- My least favorite thing is being pressured by a salesperson, I don’t like encounters like that so much in fact that I do that awkward thing where I walk past glazed over pretending I’m unaware there’s a person there speaking to me. I am not going to try to sell you anything, I’m pretty quiet in fact, I just like when people enjoy my work.
– Most likely my booth is going to be the only one like it at the bazaar. And I’ll have some sort of free things to take away, maybe shirts or magnets or pins?
What is your favorite background noise to listen to while working?
My younger brother makes weekly songs for our friend’s podcast in LA (as well as various non-podcast related music) all of which are wonderful & funny, truly, and are posted at www.paul-el.tumblr.com. I also always have time in my heart for the first 2 Interpol albums, and lately Neon Indian.
Where do you (craft) work?
I work out of Davis Sq from my apt. I also work as an Art Director/Designer by day in the Union sq. Somerville area.
What is your favorite mythical beast and what do you think their favorite crafty past time is?
I know very little about mythical beasts, I like real life. How about Zeus? And he’s probably making lots of earmuffs with bullhorns coming out of them.
What advice would you give to a new vendor selling at the BBB for the first time?
Don’t spread yourself too thin by bringing a thousand various items, focus on your strong products, it looks nicer and is much less overwhelming for both you and your customers. Events like this are about putting your best foot forward. Also, get a card reader!
Thanks, Christopher! We can’t wait to see your lightboxes in their full, illuminated glory on Dec 16th!