Q&A Time: Roo Kee Roo

Two of our absolute favorite artists to work with, brothers Forest and Michael Evashevski, the creative minds behind Roo Kee Roo, sat down and answered some fun questions of ours. Read below to get an insider view on who they are as a company and how they began creating their unique designs and illustrations. 

Canvas & Paddle: How was Roo Kee Roo created? And where did the name come from?
Forest & Michael (RKR): As brothers, both designers and living in New York at the time, we knew we wanted to create something together. We actually spent a few years exploring exactly what that could be. Ultimately we decided it was important for us to create work that we connected with on a personal level. Our strengths as designers and our intuition on subject matter led us to create prints that showcased the places and things that were central to our experience growing up on the Great Lakes and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was pretty special and just felt right to share it through our products and illustrations.

The name comes from a story our dad used to tell us growing up. It was about a monster called the Roo Kee Roo who would lurk around in the woods and eat children at night. It scared us, but it's lesson about sticking together is something we remember fondly. It made sense for what we were setting out to do with our company both thematically and tangibly.

C&P: What is your favorite part about your business?
RKR: With Roo Kee Roo we're so lucky to be doing what we love; there's not many parts to it that feel like work. We love it when designs come to life after hours and hours of meticulous work, but getting to meet and work with different people and companies around the world is really rewarding. It's a wonderful feeling when people connect with the products and lifestyle that are such a big part of who we are.

C&P: What do you remember most about spending time at your cottage?
RKR: Our time at the cottage was about engaging in the simple joys of life. Swimming, fishing, exploring, playing cards or doing absolutely nothing at all. It felt like time didn't exist. The more the world grows connected and cluttered with information, the more appealing this lifestyle becomes to us. We'd like to think others feel the same way we do.

C&P: What do you hope for Roo Kee Roo to become?
RKR: Products like prints and notecards are a great way for us to express the essence of Roo Kee Roo. They're simple, iconic, and things anyone can appreciate in their home. But eventually we'd like Roo Kee Roo to become a brand that expresses itself through an even wider variety of products that feel connected to this experience of growing up at the cottage and on the water. We don't think of ourselves as a print company, but rather a lifestyle brand.

C&P: You are brothers, and I'm sure you have differences; what are the pros and cons of working together and owning a business together?
RKR: Our relationship is the most crucial part of our company. The better it is, the better our work will be. Having grown up together and designing work so related to this, we often just find ourselves on the same page. We talk a lot about what inspires us, which helps before we even get into designing and illustrating.

But our company is an extension of who we are, so we pour so much of ourselves into our company and the work we create. Naturally we get passionate about every decision. We spend a lot of time debating, doing our best to balance our interests with the reality of what's possible. When there are disagreements (and there are!) it's about flexibility, honesty and discussion. If one of us feels strongly about something in particular, neither of us are afraid to take risks and try new things. It's how we grow, learn and continue to offer our customers more of what they love.

Thanks so much Forest and Michael for your continued support of Canvas and Paddle! Stay tuned for more Q&A's from your other favorite artists we carry. 

You can find Roo Kee Roo products in the shop by clicking the Shop tab above under "Paper" or clicking here.

Q&A Time: All Things Grow by Marcy Davy

We had a chance to catch up with one of our favorite artists, Marcy Davy who is the creator of All Things Grow. Her products include wood signs, cards and prints and we cannot get enough of them! Read below to find out the back story of how she chose the name of her business as well as her future goals for her business. 

Canvas and Paddle: How did All Things Grow begin?
Marcy Davy: In 2006 I moved to Ypsilanti and began working as a sign artist, which really pushed the skills I had practiced as an art student to the next level and made drawing and designing every day become second nature to me.  All of that practice gave me the confidence to be an artist in my own right.  At the same time I was studying to be an art teacher and was taking a few required studio classes.  I had taught low-fi screen printing to kids before, but it was printing in this class on canvas that really captured my attention.  The combination of all of those forces led me to start printing small editions in my kitchen on nights and weekends.  Printmaking by nature is a medium intended for sharing, so I began looking for opportunities to sell my prints online and at indie craft fairs.  In fall of 2008 I opened an online shop and began vending at shows.  A few years down the road I left my steady sign artist gig to focus on All Things Grow full time and focus on working with stores.

C&P: Where did the name All Things Grow come from? 
MD: All Things Grow is a line in a Sufjan Stevens song called Chicago.  I chose it because I loved the way the words sounded together and thought it would be a perfect umbrella for my work to exist under.  That songs speaks to an impermanence in life that I find enchanting and have chased in various designs ever since.  I have always been happy I chose it and it is an easy touchstone to come back to when trying to decide if an idea would be the right fit for the rest of my work. 

C&P: What do you enjoy most about your business? 
MD: This is a challenging question because I have a few favorite parts.  I love planning, researching, and drawing out ideas.  There are so many ah-ha moments along the journey of creating any composition, and I live for them.  I like the process of making decisions about my designs, it feels like traveling in a way.  You never end up quite where you thought you would.  I also love printmaking.  It keeps you on your toes by rarely going quite as planned.  It gives me a chance to do something physical and repetitive and let my mind wander.  I also love when people share with me what my work means to them.  When someone connects with your work, they will often share an incredibly personal story or talk about the things they are most passionate about.  This kind of connection has enriched my life beyond measure and has pushed me to keep going.

C&P: What are your future goals for ATG? 
MD: My goals are to offer a larger variety of work while maintaining my commitment to ethically made and environmentally responsible goods, and want to sit deeper into making prints that are personal to me.  Mostly, I want to be able to look back and be proud of what I made and how I made it.  I try not to make plans or goals that are too specific so it is easier to shift direction (plus, I change my mind a lot!)

C&P: What is your favorite quote? 
MD: My favorite quote changes constantly but is usually a song lyric.  Music is my favorite medicine.

Thanks so much Marcy for your continued support of Canvas and Paddle! Stay tuned for more Q&A's from your other favorite artists we carry. 

You can find All Things Grow products in the shop by clicking the tab above or clicking here.