The Block

Art & Culture — 7 months ago

Threaded: A Zine

A tribute to the work of Daniel Zender, Bobby Engvall, Stewart Armstrong and Gina Guasch.

 

Threaded is a zine on the work of Daniel Zender, Bobby Engvall, Stewart Armstrong and Gina Guasch. Four very distinct artists and designers based in New York, Edinburgh and Barcelona respectively, some with professional training and some without, with different and overlapping journeys, and all deeply passionate about what they do. 

 

Spreads from the zine are specially reproduced here. Alongside images of their designs shot by Aria Shamar, and a selection of each creative’s work, they share their thoughts on artistic intuition, how to sense an artwork is compete, staying excited by what you do and persistence.

 

Follow the links to shop T-shirts by Daniel Zender, Bobby Engvall, Stewart Armstrong and Gina Guasch

Share
Full image credits at end

DANIEL ZENDER

“It took me a really long time to realise that I don’t have to be defined by one thing. I can just be an artist who makes stuff and explore where that takes me.”

Courtesy of Daniel Zender

The Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Zender’s work evades easy categorisation. With an output that spans printed T-shirts, embroidery, papier-mâché sculptures, illustrations and paintings, Zender works across mediums and takes all manner of things as his canvas. 

“It’s kind of hard to say how I arrived at my current practice, because it’s always evolving,” says the 36 year old artist. “In general I try to think of my practice as everything artistic that I do.” 

Credits Listed At End

I let intuition guide me

From Missouri originally, Zender holds an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts. When it comes to seeking inspiration, he tries to avoid falling into the trap of scrolling the internet, instead looking to the physical realm – “used book stores, flea markets, graffiti on the streets, folk art.”

Courtesy of Daniel Zender

Over a career that’s spanned more than a decade, Zender has honed his artistic intuition: “I used to beat myself up over the time spent on a piece and if it could be done differently or better,” he says. “Now I have become so good at knowing when something is not working, generally it’s when I am not having fun anymore.” 

“If my work isn’t exciting to make or feels like a chore, it’s going to feel boring for whoever is looking at it.”

Courtesy of Daniel Zender

STEWART ARMSTRONG

“I’m mostly self taught and I’ve learnt a lot very quickly during the first few years of working in the creative industry. I’m still learning now.”

Credits Listed At End

Aside from a very brief stint in education, Stewart Armstrong is entirely self-taught; that the designer failed both an art foundation course and a graphic design HND programme is testament to the fact that sometimes you have to go your own way.

Now based in Edinburgh, Armstrong started out as a graphic designer at a local agency in West Sussex, where he grew up, before a friend helped him secure a job in the art department of record label Warner in London.  

I don’t often throw in the towel

Courtesy of Stewart Armstrong

Five years spent designing record covers and posters, adapting artwork, and doing anything and everything music marketing related stood Armstrong in good stead to set up his own studio, and this industry-informed approach reads in his practice today.  

Courtesy of Stewart Armstrong

“I really like working with clients and I really enjoy collaborating, asking for input and feedback can help to finalise a process,” he says. “I’m not sure I would describe myself as an artist, I think of myself more as a graphic designer who sometimes solves graphic design briefs in an illustrative or ‘arty’ way.”

“I feel like I’m now getting away with designing more of the things that I wanted to when I was eight or nine years old!”

Credits Listed At End

Gina Guasch

“I was born into a family of artists, so I always knew I wanted to be involved in the creative world. What I didn’t know was whether I wanted to be an artist.”

Credits Listed At End

From a family of artists, Barcelona-based Gina Guasch always knew they’d do something creative. Their formative love of pop artists like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons proved a gateway to design, over fine art, a path they formalised through their time at Barcelona’s BAU College of Arts and Design. 

After years spent working in-house at different studios, and building up their freelance client roster, in 2019 Guasch launched their own queer design studio. GGT foregrounds an inclusive, LGBTQ+ vision of what design can be: “I wanted to show my vision of design, and hire queer people,” they say.  

Credits Listed At End

My inspiration comes from underground figures

Guasch, who is 29 years old, likes to work instinctively. “I am not a big fan of giving something too many revisions,” they say. “If the workflow of a project is too long, it can be difficult to keep a clear vision of what you want to do. That’s why we like to work with timings that allow us to create limits.”

Courtesy of Gina Guasch

And GGT continues to champion the queer community: “For this year’s pride celebration we have released an in-house flyer from the studio, with all the names of queer folks that have inspired us. Our idea is to release a different one each year.”

I need anything I’ve worked on to generate feelings in me. For me, this is essential if it’s going to be able to generate emotion in anyone else.”

Courtesy of Gina Guasch

BOBBY ENGVALL

“I just always said yes to things. I still do work for free if it sounds fun to me.”

Credits Listed At End

Bobby Engvall found his calling early on: “I found out when I was 13 that you could design T-shirts for a living,” he says. “When I discovered that, I thought, ‘Why would you do anything else?’”

Courtesy of Bobby Engvall

Engvall went on to study at The School of Visual Arts in New York, and credits taking a serendipitous career path. “My progression to what I do now was all over the place, but I’ve tried to be as focused as possible. I’ve worked a lot of jobs in and out of design,” he says.

My friends are a big source of inspiration

Credits Listed At End

The 30 year old’s scattergun approach, and skate culture-influenced aesthetic, paid off. Today the designer, who grew up in Connecticut, counts Marc Jacobs, Palace, Nike and Converse among his clients. 

Not unlike his career trajectory, Engvall likes to let his instincts guide him when it comes to any of his pieces. And he has a finely-tuned sense of when it’s time to stop: “I know it’s finished when I start to make it worse.”

“When you start forcing anything, it’s time to give up on whatever you’re doing.”

Courtesy of Bobby Engvall

Original Image Credits: Shot by Aria Shamar, Art Direction by Nicola Gaea, Set Designed by Kate Sutton, Lighting by Myles Bailey⁠, Styled by Simone Laporte⁠, Modelled by Fale Neubert & Denny Teapapi

Read More: What We Learned At Everpress Meets: Part One