ManMade Exclusive Interview: Scotty Albrecht and “Something Mistaken for Nothing”

Brooklyn-based artist Scotty Albrecht has an amazing new show at the Curiousity Shoppe in San Francisco called SomethingMistakenForNothing.  Scotty is a graduate of The Art Institute in Philadelphia, when Scott is not working on web-design projects for his clients, he enjoys drawing, painting, screen-printing, and wood-working. With a strong sense of color and typography, his aesthetic can be described as clean and modern with retro appeal.

created at: 09/22/2010

SomethingMistakenForNothing is an amazing mixture of woodworking, color illustration, and original typeography that’s got us drooling. Scotty was kind enough to answer a few questions about his process, so sit back and prepare to be inspired.

You’re web project Process indicates you’re not only interested in sharing visual inspiration, but also the mechanics, tools, and steps that these works used and take. Would you share a little bit about your process for the wood pieces from Something Mistaken For Nothing? 

Each wood piece was done a little differently. For the most part I drew everything by hand, and if needed I did some touch up work on the computer for pieces that required really accurate cuts. From there it really depends on the piece.

The MAKE BELIEVE and LET’S MAKE STUFF pieces were cut with a laser cutter. This was actually my first time using one for my work – I have cut letters around that size by hand before ( which is super tedious ) but because these two required really precise registration of layering pieces on top of one another multiple times over, it seemed like a better option to laser cut. The remaining pieces in the show were all hand-cut with a combination of pretty standard tools (i.e. table saw, band saw, etc.) and then either stained or painted.

2) Do you do most of your design by hand or with digital tools? How do you come up with analog ideas, work them out within the computer, then translate them back into something physical. 

Actually I try to detach myself from using a computer within my work whenever I can to help maintain a consistent hand drawn aesthetic. The computer is really just a secondary tool, if I use it all for my work. Regardless of the medium, I initially draw everything out, and moving forward generally work within a few mediums: ink, paint, and wood working. For the wood working pieces I think I have a pretty archaic way of making things. I can usually get by on just a table saw, chop saw, band saw and disc sander.

3) What’s the relationship between the tools you use and your own creativity? Do you find that you have what you need to realize most of your ideas?

I generally feel if anything is worth doing you can always find a way to do it.
One thing that has really helped is belonging to a local shared studio called the Gowanus Studio Space. They have a really great woodshop as well as printshop that has just about everything I would need. In the past I was finding ways to use certain tools or set up printing tables in my apartment… not the best situation if you’re living there too!

4) What’s something you wish you had, either a skill, space, partner, media, time, that you think would make you that much more productive?

Time is usually the biggest factor. I always have running lists of things I’d like to do, pieces I’d like to make, emails to send… If I found a way to clone myself or not require sleep that would be amazing!

5) What’s the relationship between the different media with which you work? Are web-design, typography, screenprinting, etc just variations on a theme? Do you approach them differently?

I went to school and currently work as a designer so I have a lot of design influence within my work, but I think everything calls for it’s own execution, so it really depends on the project or piece. 

A megahuge thank you to Scotty for sharing more about his process. Learn more about Scotty at his webpage and ThisIsProcess

Read more about SomethingMistakenForNothing below and at The Curiousity Shoppe.

The Curiosity Shoppe of San Francisco presents SOMETHINGMISTAKENFORNOTHING, a solo exhibition of new works by Scott Albrecht. The show features a series of three-dimensional pictographic wooden pieces, hand-cut and stained as well as typographic studies on vintage pieces of paper and  wood— created using paint, pen & ink, and screen printing.

Albrecht’s style of type-based imagery and hand-drawn lettering hints toward the idea of the discardable in human interaction, explored through a collection of familiar thoughts and phrases that seem relatively insignificant in their ubiquity but actually hold a great deal of meaning when interpreted at true value.

The idea of the discardable is not only a unifying theme within the body of work but also a tangible quality through out the site-specific installation created by the artist within the gallery space. Almost all of the materials used came from second-hand or found sources, adding a genuine element of dialogue between the work, viewer, and environment.

Each of the paper pieces in the show were created using pages which have been removed from discarded books, hand selected for their aged and discolored edges. Similarly, the fading intentional sentiment of the words rendered onto these pages, are restored by the artist in a fresh and genuine voice.

created at: 09/22/2010