The graphic arts predate the siloed disciplines of fine and applied arts. We like to think of our work as finely applied graphics. We are graphic artists working in the 21st century—and there are more surfaces than ever pulsating. When we are ready to look at our own graphic mark, and own up to how it looks, learn to embrace it, feel compelled to change it, the world will start to look different.
Sonnenzimmer is the collective output of artists Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. We opened our print shop in 2006 so we could print as many colors as we wanted. We are based in Chicago, IL where we find ourselves surrounded by a deep graphic history and graphic presence. Our work explores the contemporary and historic impact of the graphic impulse through publishing, exhibitions, graphic design, and performance. While we work in an array of media, our focus is on triangulating a deeper understanding of the role of graphic expression at large. In addition to our self-driven work, we actively engage in commissioned projects aiming to reshape preconceived notions of the graphic arts. Our work has been shown in The United States, Brazil, China, and Europe; with recent solo exhibitions at Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee.
As working graphic artists, we aim to continually build new partnerships with individuals, initiatives, and cultural producers at large. Our practice relies on the interplay between commissioned projects and our own exhibition and publishing efforts. In a working print shop, all ideas flow into one another. This allows us to tap into new understandings of media at large and how artistic expression is embedded and not lost. A practice that surfaces this exchange (between media and graphic expression) aims to make visible the importance of ownership of our collective graphic skin.
As a studio, we thrive where service, experimentation, and form collide. We are a functioning print shop staffed with two dreamers. We are contemporary artists, we are instrument builders, we are typesetters, we are painters, we are thinkers, we are writers, we are human animals lending form to the formless.