Sonnenzimmer: visual artists

sonnenzimmer_portraitSonnenzimmer is a Chicago-based art and print studio owned and operated by Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher. The creative duo emerged from the local cultural cornerstones, The Birdmachine and Punk Planet magazine. Truly inspired by the do-it-yourself spirit found at these establishments, Nakanishi and Butcher found the guts to venture out on their own, opening Sonnenzimmer in the Summer of 2006.  Merging backgrounds rooted in typography, printmaking, graphic design, and fine art, Sonnenzimmer specializes in screen printed projects designed and printed in-house. Utilizing idiosyncratic imagery and utilitarian strategies, Nakanishi and Butcher work on crafting a uniquely contemporary aesthetic. 


Butcher and Nakanishi strive to continually push the boundaries of art, design and printmaking while maintaining a connection to the work that inspired them. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they have no issue with balancing commercial art and a more “personal” fine art practice. On the contrary, they see many benefits in the defined parameters found in commerical art. Nakanishi and Butcher both see client based work as an ongoing collaboration. An effort that offers a surface of friction to better understand themselves and their work.


Nick Butcher :

My work is a culmination of quick starts and stops, hasty decisions, and a lengthy brewing time. Through this process, I hope to capture and document the moments of unhinged chaos and beauty that surround me at any given moment.  


Nadine Nakanishi:

Abstract painting and print making have been my main focus for the last 5 years. My interest lies in developing a contemporary dialogue between form and color. For me that means carrying on the tradition of the post-modern, while re-thinking my own approach and aesthetics to it. My biggest concern is bridging the ambiguity and clarity that abstract imagery evokes. One of the major elements in my work is reduction. It’s is a difficult balance between nonexistent and minimal, thoughtful and mindless. It takes a certain daily routine for me to keep in touch with it. Reduction is a corner stone when it comes to my visual language. It allows me to de- and reconstruct, creating space where form, texture, line-quality, composition, color-palette and perspective are no greater part without any of the others. The space within the painting (in the sense of the composition on the canvas), the space within the viewer’s inner (in the sense what’s moving the viewer), and the space between the painting and the viewer (in the sense of encounter of the work and viewer), is no greater part then the sum of all the other parts together. In this tri-dynamic, everything is open. Ultimately it is this aesthetic space which offers me possibilities; to step back, to step into—ways that have been forgotten or define ways for the future.


























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