Craftin’ Outlaws continues to showcase artists and makers with an edgier tone than what you might find at a traditional craft fair. Chances are good that if you apply to to vend with us and your work incorporates skulls and bones we will give your application a closer look. Odds are likely to be in your favor that you’ll attend at our show.
When we first saw Logan Schmitt’s work back in 2014, that was roughly our experience with his work. We knew he’d make a great Outlaw. His interpretations of nature inspired decay is softly crafted through screen printing. To chat with him, he’s just as soft spoken as the work he creates. When we asked him to take a stab at designing our poster art for this year, he kindly accepted and he gave us an image that combines both of our aesthetics.
Aside from making amazing things, Logan leads an interesting life, what he calls “Van Life”. He and his wife sold all their possessions and now caravan their way to shows and events around the Midwest.
We pulled him aside so you can get to know him the way we have.
What is your handmade background?
– My handmade background started at Columbus College of Art & Design. At the beginning of my time at school I noticed that a lot of my favorite illustrators and designers screen printed their work either for band posters or their own art prints. So the first chance I had, I got into the introductory silkscreen class my during my Sophomore year. I couldn’t stop after that!
You continue to create some amazing custom work, including our Outlaw 2016 image. What kind of collaborations have you created? How does this process work for you? What has been you favorite partnership?
– Aw, well, shucks! Thanks! I’ve primarily done a lot of work for different bands here and there. I’ve done some design work for a couple of breweries, as well. This process is generally the same whether the client already has an idea in mind or if they want me to come up with whatever I want. Most clients that contact me tend to have ideas that fit well with my visual style, so even if it’s something that I wouldn’t have just come up with on my own, it still works out. Other than Craftin’ Outlaws, of course, I think my favorite partnership has been with Four String Brewing Company. I made the artwork for their Ghost Ship Vortex Baltic Porter release earlier this year. It was the perfect mix of creative input from both of us, combined with a new and interesting format that I hadn’t worked in before.
Van Life – can you give us a general background of the what and why?
– Ah, van life. Van life is a way of living that involves living pretty much exclusively in a van. Either you convert it yourself (like we did) or have a camper van where everything is already built in. We made this leap in June after a couple of years of talking about it, and it’s been a nonstop adventure ever since. We basically just wanted a more freedom in our lives and to just travel and DO more. Those things just come with the van life territory. My wife didn’t enjoy her job and I really didn’t want to work on anything but illustration and design, so living in a van also allowed her to quit her job and allowed me to solely focus on making art without nearly as much financial stress. We really don’t have an end date on this. We’ll just keep going until we’re tired of it.
What’s been the most difficult part of downsizing your life? What’s been the coolest experience thus far of van life?
– The most difficult part was finding new homes for a cats. They wouldn’t have done well in a van. Shout-out to Evey and Mugen! The coolest van life experience was probably the week we stayed in West Virginia on the Eastern Panhandle and at a state park in Maryland. We love that part of the country and it was nice to be able to just stay as long as we wanted and just work on jobs from the road. It’s also nice when we do craft shows in other towns we can stay for an extra day and explore the city or region we’re in without worrying about a hotel or anything.
What has been your biggest struggle in running your business?
– The biggest struggle for me has been making enough money for my financial goals and managing that money in an effective way through my business. I’m just starting out so I’m just constantly hustling and sniffing out work. I’m very happy with the jobs and work that I’ve been getting, I just need to increase its volume, which takes time and consistent, halfway-decent work. When it comes to making your own products and prints, you can’t necessarily afford to make something that might flop, either, which at times can be really hard to tell until it’s out on the table at a show, not getting bought.
When working do you binge watch tv shows? Listen to music? Listen to audio books? – what are you currently listening/watching?
– Music is on a lot, but after a while I need to hear conversations and stories. I started re-watching The Office last week while I was working, so that’s been the go-to ever since. I also watch a lot of nature and history documentaries while I work. Willow, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth are usually on rotation at some point each month, as well. I listen to podcasts, too. Adventures in Design with Mark Brickey and Creative Pep Talk with Andy J. Miller are two that I really like. Audiobooks pop up now and then, whenever I go to the library.
– Logan Schmitt grew up in a little town in the rolling hills and hollows of West Virginia. When he wasn’t exploring the vast forest that sprawled around his house, he was reading comic books, wildlife encyclopedias and watching science fiction and fantasy films. These interests, along with his love of art and design brought him to Columbus, Ohio where he illustrates and screen prints posters for bands, designs t-shirts, and slings his work at craft shows.
Logan Schmitt will be joining us on December 10th at The Greater Columbus Convention Center. Find your favorite Outlaws at www.craftinoutlaws.com.