Pronounced RON-LEW-HORN, Aaron Scamihorn is the artist behind screen-printing and design business RONLEWHORN. He works out of his new studio in Plainfield, IN creating print work for some of the coolest bands including Cake, Motion City Soundtrack, and Tokyo Police Club not to mention the coolest craft show (if we do say so ourselves) the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. Find out more about him and his work at www.ronlewhorn.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RONLEWHORN.
How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?
I hand screen print gig posters and art prints.
I have been a designer for a long time and after about 5 years of working in a cubicle I had an itch to get back to creating with my hands. I grew up with parents who were potters and mom was an art teacher, so creating with my hands was a huge part of my upbringing. Getting back to tactile creation has been instrumental to my success and satisfaction in the design world.
Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?
I originally went to college to become an art teacher. My mom was one and I loved the idea of having summer vacation the rest of my life! After finishing that degree and doing my semester of student teaching, I had a realization that I never wanted to work with middle school kids again! I went back to school and finished up a graphics degree and never looked back!
What do you love about your job?
I used to play bass and guitar in bands in high school and college. I love how my work now still keeps me plugged into the music industry by getting to design for bands that I love.
How do you work, and where?
I work as an art Director for TourDesign Creative / Live Nation by day creating print and digital artwork for touring bands. By night I work in my basement office at home designing for more indie bands and other freelance clients like breweries and distilleries, etc. I do a bulk of my screen printing on the weekends with my wife working as quality control in my studio in Plainfield. We have a big two-story building there that we recently moved in to.
How do you begin creating your work, specifically portraits? It looks like cut paper, but I know it’s screen-printed. Tell us about your process.
I work in layers. Whether that is with a light box and tracing paper or in Adobe Illustrator, I have a reference sketch or image that I work on top of to layer the shapes for the line art and then the fill color and shading. When these go to be screen printed, they are separated out and printed as separate layers again but in the reverse order starting with the lightest fill color, then the shading and then the line art.
Who have you designed posters for?
One of my favorite projects was a campaign for Dollar Shave Club. It was a fake political campaign where we did posters for presidents from the past as if they were campaigning today. We pulled facts about them and their lives and made them campaign platforms for the 2012 election. You can see all of them here: http://oldglory2012.org/
Describe your aesthetic in three words.
Nostalgic, Iconic & Illustrative
What elements make a good gig poster stand out?
The best gig posters in my opinion have a strong illustration with effective typography blended into the scene while at the same time telling some sort of story or visual pun.
If you could swap lives with another artist and live as them without anyone knowing that you were really you and not the other person, who would that person be?
What makes a handmade object valuable?
There is something about a tactile print that is so much more authentic than a digital reproduction. When you can feel the texture of the ink on the paper, you know a person intentionally put it there and didn’t just hit CMD-P on a machine. Every time I consider buying something to hang on my wall, I make sure it is something unique and cherished in its creation.
Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?
A gig poster for Gaslight Anthem designed and printed by Clinton Reno. And some small lithograph prints from Italy and Germany vacations.
Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.
I’m a lot more friendly than I look at first glance!
Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.
At my day job I have designed art for musical legends Madonna, KISS & Neil Diamond. I founded a group called the Craft Brew Doodle Crew that meets once a month and creates collaborative art in a musical-chairs style format. I used to play and sing in punk bands such as The Parliament, Dietrich & Tourists From Canada.
Describe your dream commission.
I love illustrating faces with character. I would be honored to do a cover illustration for a prominent magazine that features the portrait of a person with lots of wrinkles and facial hair. Doesn’t matter who it is. I am passionate about faces and would love to have the opportunity to see it on news stands.