By Matt Jordan
Whether you’re aware of it or not, there’s a great chance you’re familiar with Cricket Press’ work. You might know this Lexington graphics arts duo from their work on gig posters, flyers around town, book illustrations, T-shirt designs or logos that grace businesses both local and international. At this point, it’s not uncommon to bump into their work when you least expect it.
Brian and Sara Turner (Photo by Matt Jordan)
Cricket Press is the collective name for the work published by Lexingtonians Brian and Sara Turner. Together they’ve helped shape Kentucky’s creative community for years: West 6th Brewery’s and Buster’s logo to My Morning Jacket’s show flyers and CD Central’s signs. This year they opened up a studio and workspace area in the former Rainbo Bread factory – nicknamed “the Bread Box” – on the north side of town and expanded their output to include woodcarvings.
With their upcoming appearance at the Woodland Arts Fair (10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday Aug. 18 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday Aug. 19) this seemed like an excellent time to talk to one of Lexington’s foremost creative forces. Sara Turner was kind enough to share a little insight into how Cricket Press have been growing in recent months.
Q. How did the two of you meet? Were you both artists at the time?
A. We were both photography majors at UK and met during Brian’s very last class before his graduation.
Q. How did you two get started working with screen prints?
A. Given our backgrounds in the fine arts of photography, mixed media and painting, we have always been familiar with numerous artistic processes. Our desire to include the medium of screen printing to our paintings and mixed media pieces motivated us to teach ourselves the printing process. That and a lot of trial and error. Turns out that we fell in love with the process and immediately started exclusively using it on paper rather than mixing it with other mediums.
Q. Were you both well practiced in it before officially doing it as Cricket Press?
A. It wasn’t our intent to begin a legitimate business from design and screen printing. Cricket Press was just a studio name we felt all our
posters should have, rather than our individual names. Our first gig poster was for a local Lexington band and that immediately led to
more gig poster work, which led to other types of poster work as well as design and illustration jobs. It was then that we started seeing
the beginnings of a potential business.
Q. What’s the process like to go from being contacted about designing a poster and printing them up? Do clients usually want to see designs? Do you typically work through a few ideas before settling on one?
A. There are several ways we go about creating the art for our posters. In most cases we work with the client on the art direction of the
poster, emailing rough sketches that lead to polished digital proofs until a design is fully approved. That way they know exactly what the
poster will look like before we go to press. In other cases a client/band/venue trusts our style/aesthetic enough to let us do our own thing. These are the jobs we especially enjoy. If it’s a gig-poster we’ll take inspiration from the given band’s song lyrics, album themes and general sound to come up with a poster idea.
Q. It would seem that you two have gone from being pretty much exclusively the artists of choice for the underground music community
to ones that are contacted by all sorts of businesses, groups and events around town. Was that a pretty gradual change for you, or was
there a pretty clearly identifiable tipping point somewhere in there?
A. Starting around 2006, local organizations such as Living Arts and Science Center, Lexington Parks and Rec., and Bike Lexington started
hiring us to do posters for their events. They had seen our work on concert posters hanging up around town. Having our posters appear
around Lexington promoting events unrelated to music, we think, really opened the eyes of locals that our work can be used for a variety of purposes which led to a lot of local, general design work. Lexington has been very good to us ever since.
Q. You all have steadily expanded your output from screen printing into a lot of different media outlets. What’s been the timeline for your
major expansions into other areas?
A. It boils down to space. When we became more serious about Cricket Press we invested in an old Vandercook letterpress and we expanded that printing process into our garage. In 2005 Brian quit his job to concentrate on Cricket Press full time and we expanded to all the available rooms of our house. Earlier this year we moved into our first real studio allowing us to have more work space, a meeting
space, and also a small gallery space for not only our work, but work from other artist friends.
Q. When did you open your new studio space? What’s that experience been like? Has it afforded you any new opportunities?
A. We moved into our studio at the beginning of 2012. The experience has been fantastic! We are located in a group of artist studios in an old Rainbo Bread factory called the Bread Box. We adore the other artists we share the space with and we’re located directly behind one of Lexington’s newest breweries, West Sixth Brewing.
The new space has allowed us to expand our services, provide a comfortable meeting location for clients, and offer a gallery to exhibit and sell our art. We don’t keep regular hours there, but we are always available by appointment.
These are several of the new wood pendants Cricket Press will have on display at the Woodland Art Fair this weekend. (Photo provided by Cricket Press)
Q. I saw on your facebook page that you recently started offering wood pendants. How do you make those? Is there anything else you’ve started making in the past year?
A. All our new items are laser engraved. We’ve invested in a machine that allows us to work with an array of different materials such as wood, glass, leather, acrylic and paper. The new equipment will allow us to create items with our art and the designs we create for our clients such as coasters, glasses, journals, jewelry, invitations, etc.
Q. What’s the next place where people can see/buy your work?
A. We have a few upcoming events. We’ll be set up during the Woodland Art Fair along the lawn of the Woodland Christian Church. Our booth will be located in the very back along the tree line.
Our studio (The Cricket Press Studio+Gallery, 501 W. Sixth St, Suite185) will be open to the public Sept. 21 with an exhibit called No Greater Task: a collaboration between regional and national poster artists and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth who are working to create New Power in Eastern Kentucky by stopping the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and creating a transitional economy for the region.
The Bread Box artists will also have their grand opening the evening of Sept. 29. All studios will be open to the public and all artists will be present.
Q. What’s your ideal creative space/setting like? Do you listen to music when you’re working?
A. Our ideal creative space is comfortable, organized (we’re neat freaks), and without a lot of distraction. That’s the recipe for productivity. We’re always listening to something whether it’s music or a variety of podcasts we listen to on a weekly basis.