Monday, January 23, 2012


Location: Providence, RI
Space: Etips's Studio
January 2012

If you’re familiar with the RI graffiti scene from the last ten years, you’ll know Etips’s name. He’s earned notoriety amongst the graffiti community both in and outside of the state for his superb lettering styles. We paid Etips a visit at his studio in Providence and learned that there is much more to this artist than the graffiti so many are familiar with. Inside his studio, the shelves are lined with an army of toys, mainly Transformers, all staring down with sharp angles and metallic colors. Etips landed a job as a model artist at Hasbro Toys, where he spends his days painting the model Transformers that will be used to create millions of toys for eager kids every year. He shared a doodle of a Transformer he drew as a young boy and reflected on the feeling of having a job he would have salivated over as a kid. He dug into his collection of black books, loose papers and photo albums, which serve as an informal archive of his work. The black books he showed us opened up a world of character design that we hadn’t realized he had been working on. As he flipped through the pages we saw clean sketch after sketch rife with interesting characters that maintained his graffiti influenced style and were undeniably full of potential. Then he moved onto his photo albums, where he houses his years of graffiti work. There was enough to make a book about the history of RI graffiti. Etips looks back on his graffiti work as a stepping stone that got him where he is today and is taking him where he wants to go, which is more into illustration and character work. No doubt he will get there, after seeing the work in his studio and hearing the ambition and enthusiasm in his voice for this new direction.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shawn Gilheeney

Location: Providence, RI
Space: Shawn Gilheeney's Studio
January 2012

Stepping inside of Gilheeney’s studio, we could see his appreciation for antique items. He is obviously a collector and someone who values both the handcrafted aspects that went into objects from previous decades and the fun in finding strange and kitschy pieces from times gone by. Playboy Bunny puzzles from the 70’s, a smattering of old toys that he’d re-pieced together, and a library ladder he crafted with skateboard wheels, all built the picture in his open and sunny studio on the outskirts of downtown Providence.

Gilheeney’s artwork reflects an interest in the man-made, within the context of nature and natural processes, like the decaying of a building being taken back into the earth. He mainly utilizes screen printing techniques, as well as a very cool technique called "etching by galvanic corrosion", which etches images onto metal. He also has worked with another artist as Plastic House, a duo who created a series of signage that had been manipulated to look worn and purposefully, nostalgically dated.

Gilheeney’s sign painting work, is his place to play with color and further exemplifies his appreciation in the man-made nature of craftsmanship from old world trades. Along the walls of his studio were his “Signs Signs”, a series of signs all reading “Signs”, which had us chuckling. Have a look at the following images to see some handcrafted goodness, including a switchblade bayonet gun... patent pending.