Sunday Slideshow: Studio Visit with Who Made Who

Who Made Who is a screen printing shop and gallery in North East Minneapolis where you’ll find the creative and colorful work of Amy Jo, Dale “TOOTH” Flattum, and Lonny Unitus. Besides limited edition posters and fine art prints that are hand screen-printed on site, the store has an array of handmade merchandise including greeting cards, calendars, books, t-shirts, stickers, and toys.

View the Slideshow on Flickr.

Photos and interview by Kelsey Johnston

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Secrets: Where are you guys from?

Amy Jo: I am from Colfax, North Dakota.
Dale Flattum: I grew up in Bozeman, Montana

Secrets: When did you guys move to Minneapolis?
Amy Jo: I moved here in the year 2000

Dale Flattum: I think about 4 years ago, I’m not very good with time.

Secrets: How does the design work between everyone at Who Made Who?
Amy Jo: Everyone does their own thing, we all design and print.

Secrets: What’s your approach to design?

Dale Flattum: It changes depending on what the project is, or who the client is.  If it’s a poster for a local band and they don’t have much money we’ll have a different approach than if the University of Wherever wants a specific thing  for a specific function and they have a bigger budget. We do a lot of stuff for local bands and local labels and that’s the funnest stuff to do.
Amy Jo: We do things for people of all budgets. When people have a bigger budget it’s usually more of an art directed situation, but it’s equally rewarding.
Dale Flattum: It just makes the puzzle trickier, because a lot of the time they don’t know what they want, and you have to find out what they want, by doing things that they don’t want.  With local bands it’s fun because they’re  your peers, and it’s more on an equal level. You like their music and they like your art.

Secrets: How would you describe the Who Made Who style?

Amy Jo: Well, because we all work independently there really isn’t a style. We each have our own. I think Lon has a different style than either of us because he does a lot of hand illustration and has a comic book appeal. He also does straight up design stuff too.  We’re all pretty flexible.  It’s not a co-operative, but… it kind of is.
Dale Flattum: We’re never all sitting around a table working on something. And even with Amy Jo and I, we only really ask each other for help when we’re in the weeds and really need  it.
Amy Jo: I must always be in the weeds…
Secrets: What tool can you not live without?

Dale Flattum: I’d say my bike, it’s my mental gymnastic tool. If I don’t get to ride it for a few days I start to feel slow and dull witted.
AJ: My laptop died the other day and I felt really weirded out about not having a computer.
Secrets: What’s your personal soundtrack at the moment?

Dale Flattum: Well, right now were listening to the Stooges, but lately I’ve become obsessed with this band called Wolves in the Throne Room, which I don’t really know how to describe, but I force everyone who comes to the studio to listen to it.
Amy Jo: I’m a die hard classic rock fan. About 95% of the time I’ll be listening to KQRS or something.

Secrets: What’s the best part about living in Minneapolis?

Dale Flattum: Most of the places we go to we can ride our bikes to. The fact that there’s a river going through Minneapolis is great.
Amy Jo: Dale came from a place (Raleigh North Carolina)  which just baffled me in that it wasn’t built around water.
Dale Flattum: It was basically built around a bar. I was told that there was a tavern, and they made this crazy cherry liquor, and when people were riding south they would always stop in to get hammered and the town was built around that.
City planning at it’s best!
Amy Jo: I don’t have anything else to compare it to, I’ve lived in Portland when I was younger and Fargo when I was in college and it’s not similar. I love Minneapolis, I’ve been here for over a decade now and I consider it my home. What I like about it is that there are so many other  graphic designers or screen printers or artists or whatever, and we all like each other so much. Even if we might compete for the same job there is never any ill will it’s just like “good for you!”

Dale Flattum: There’s sort of a Midwestern mind set like: “don’t take your self too seriously.”

Amy Jo: People are really genuine about it.

Secrets: Favorite Establishment in the Twin Cities?

Dale Flattum: TheTurf Club is my favorite place to go see a rock and roll show. I’d rather go there than anyplace else, they have a candy machine and you can stand in the back and not have to bump into people, it’s nice. And I love Big Brain Comics
and Behind Bars, because they brought my bike back from the dead.
Amy Jo: We live in this neighborhood (13th Avenue NE) so it’s really great to have things within  walking distance like the 331, the Rogue Buddha, The Anchor. And we got married at the Ritz Theatre.

Secrets: After checking out your poster “Be Repaired” that features a boy scout
and a backpack filled with tentacles, I’d like to ask what scout badge you feel you’ve successfully earned?
Dale Flattum: I was just sent a jury duty notice, so maybe the citizen ship badge?
Amy Jo: The cupcake badge?