Who printed it?
I just went to the DIY kiosk at my local drug store to print the photographs because I have a low-brow freelance promo budget. WizardPins is the company I used to make the enamel pin. My idea was to design an official membership emblem for my unofficial photography fan club. The inspiration came from other organizations that wear membership pins on their lapels, like the Shriners Masonic Society and the Unarius Academy of Science.
Who designed it?
I designed everything on my laptop. First, I turned my photograph of the woman with her dog into a simple line illustration by tracing her silhouette’s outlines with black. Then I choose appropriate colors to fill in the details of her dress. I sent that final image to be transformed into a grandma-brooch and stuck it through the photograph with my contact information.
Tell me about the images?
Inspired by how community shapes our identity, my documentary work often explores my family and my neighborhood. The woman with the dog lived next door to me for 20 years. My father is the man sitting in the diner, and my son is the boy on the left holding the kitten. The other boys are my nephews. The other images are of people that lived near me in East Los Angeles. I am now based in Milwaukee and deeply inspired by the river that runs through the city. I am currently sourcing new subjects for my next series of portraits.
How many did you make?
I initially made 100 pins for my photography exhibition in LA two years ago. At the reception, guests were given the pins like a door-prize. Everyone wore them in the museum to pretend we were a secret art society that was for members-only. The leftover handful, I was brainstorming on how to use them and decided to turn them into a promotional piece to get my work in front of editors.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
You are the only editor I have sent a promotional piece. I plan to mail more later this year, hoping to catch a few editors’ attention. I admire the aesthetic of the editors of The California Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Jody Quon, and Kathy Ryan, among so many others.
Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Hopefully, creating the members-only pin shows my aesthetic, and editors will find the piece creative and memorable.
Will you make more pins?
I plan on making another series of enamel pins from my photographs and sell them as collectibles with limited edition prints. Creating a wearable/interactive art piece is charming. Martin Parr’s coloring book, I thought, was brilliant.