Oh Sew Nerdy
Can you give us a little info on your background?
I'm 30 years old and live in Waukegan, Illinois with my wife and our two pugs. Five years ago I taught myself how to cross stitch while staying in our in-laws basement. Since then I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing people and galleries (Gallery 1988, Tree and the Rock, Patti Lapel, Cuddles and Rage, Derek Erdman's International House of Paintings, The Hive Art Gallery, AMC and HBO). My day job is working at a funeral home as a Funeral Director and Embalmer.
Where do you get inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from pop culture. I like working off of movies, TV, and music. I also get some inspiration from more traditional cross stitches - usually ones I find while thrifting - and get some ideas for layout or ways to subvert a classic design. I really enjoy using more modern themes and characters on such an old art form.
How was your childhood room decorated?
My childhood room was a mishmash of everything. I remember I really thought splatter paint was cool - and my mom and dad said go nuts. They let me pick the colors and just go bananas. It was a white wall and I picked orange and green to just splatter all over it. Might not have been the best choice looking back, but I loved it. I always had little knick knacks and items that I would display in my room. I still have a bunch of knick knacks and silly stuff all over my office now.
I wish I had fun art in my room, but I was young and silly. So it was mostly just a bunch of pictures of wolves and other animals (I was that kid).
How did art influence your childhood?
I was always very interested in art during my childhood, and would take summer classes in art or drawing. During the school year I never elected to take many art classes (which I now think was a bad idea). I think I was too worried about what other people would think of my art - I wasn't comfortable putting myself out there. Thankfully I’ve gotten over that.
What does your studio look like?
We recently moved to Waukegan, and I set up my office. I've attached some pictures. I try to keep it clean and organized, because it helps with finding the right color of floss (and helps to keep me focused on my projects). I have a bunch of art up from a bunch of different artists that I love.
What is your creative process?
When I first start out I track all my ideas for stitches in my phone. I then transfer to my computer where I have a cross stitch program that helps me plot everything out. I like to make sure everything is very symmetrical and even. Once I’m satisfied with the computer draft I will get the thread and fabric out and start stitching. Usually the whole process for a stitch can take anywhere from 4-6 hours, and I'm usually always tweaking the pattern as I go. There have only been a few times that I've had to abandon a piece while I’m working on it because it didn't translate from the pattern to the fabric. I like to pick out the colors that I use just on the fly. I try to match it with the other colors in the piece so everything flows nicely and looks correct.
Where can we find other pieces of your artwork?
I post just about everything on my Instagram @ohsewnerdy and I have most of my work up on my website atwww.ohsewnerdy.com. I regularly work with Gallery 1988 - so more often then not you can find my pieces displayed over there as well.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you want to share with us?
I have a bunch of group shows coming up with Gallery 1988 during the year. Next year I'll be having a show with Jerrod Maruyama (@jmaruyama) which I"m extremely excited about. I know it will be a really fun show.