collabo : shanna murray & pistachio press


welcome to collabo – a new biweekly feature about artist collaborations. 
to put a unique spin on this feature, i invited one of my all-time favorite bloggers (Jena Coray of Modish) to share – er, collaborate - with me on this series. lucky for us, Jena likes to say yes! we have each interviewed one of the artists in our collabo pick, and each of those interviews will appear at the same-time, same-date on our respective blogs. at the bottom of this post, you'll be able to click over to Modish to see what the other artist in our collabo pick had to say. make sense? hope so! 

kicking off our collabo series is a spectacular letterpress card collaboration between shanna murray & rachael hetzel of pistachio pressmy Q&A with Rachael follows…


Which came first: the idea or the partnership? Who approached whom?
After becoming friends and working together for several months as co-organizers for Second Storie Indie Market, Shanna and I decided it would be a good idea to collaborate on a project. We didn’t have a specific idea in mind at the beginning, but we eventually decided to make a series of letterpress printed cards.

What is the nature of your collaboration? (did one of you purchase the rights to use the other’s artwork, do you both receive revenue from sales, is the artwork on-loan for a limited time or # of pieces….)
Because we conceived of the idea and executed it together, we thought it was most fair to split the expenses and the profits 50/50. We both receive revenue from sales and we keep track of everything on spreadsheets. Every few months we re-evaluate the spreadsheets and split the profits.


How did you coordinate the project work and determine who would do what?
I had been printing for a few years, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for Shanna to get some more printing experience. For the designs, we decided that we really wanted to focus on abstract pieces, which seemed to be a rarity in the stationery world. When we actually got to the design part, we sat down at Shanna’s kitchen table with our laptops side by side. We both adjusted the design elements by sending the files back and forth and truly working collaboratively. After the designs were finalized we ordered the plates and then spent many hours printing together.


Is the collabo ongoing or was it a one-and-done deal?
This specific project was a limited edition, one-time collaboration. However, we share a studio space and are consistently looking for ways to work together.

What made you want to partner your art with someone else’s?
As a printmaker, I have always worked in a collaborative environment by sharing equipment and press time. After I started Pistachio Press I worked many long hours by myself and really missed this collaborative atmosphere. As my friendship with Shanna grew we began to realize that we had similar aesthetic tendencies and that we both gravitated to similar styles of design. Working together on a new project really seemed like the ideal situation for me to break out of my isolated working environment and work with someone whose work I also love.


Do you work with other artists to create collaborative pieces?
I have worked with a few other artists on collaborative pieces, although it hasn’t been in quite the same capacity as working with Shanna. For most of these other collaborations I work with a designer and then I contribute the letterpress printing for the projects.

Do you have any suggestions for other artists who are considering a collaborative project?
It’s so important to be on the same page as collaborators, from the very beginning. In some sense this is also a business partnership. You need to work out who is fronting the money for the project, how you’ll handle press, who will sell the pieces and what price to sell the final product. If you aren’t honest with each other or if you don’t lay out all of the terms and possible scenarios in the beginning, you’ll run the risk of endangering your friendship.


If you could work with any other artist to create a piece together (famous and/or deceased included), who would it be and what would you make?
When collaborating I prefer to work with someone whose work I adore and who is (hopefully) down-to-earth. I’d absolutely love to work on a set of limited edition art prints with Julia Pott, Yellena James, or Betsy Walton. I think the illustration style of each of these women would translate really well to letterpress, and I would be thrilled to work on a new series of prints!

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Thank you, Rachael! Loved learning more about how this whole process worked for you and Shanna!
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One thought on “collabo : shanna murray & pistachio press

  1. Hi,, I loved this post. Shanna and Rachael do beautiful work. I also collaborate with someone and its so fun, and its really helped our business so much. Cindy makes hand built ceramic roses and I use them to make jewelry. Now we collaborate on magazine ads and submit work together. What a great idea to feature other artist collaborating. I will be back to visit.
    Happy creating… Gail Friend

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