It all started with an empty wall in a new apartment in a new city. After having just moved to Chicago and was in full nesting mode with my first apartment on my own and I was looking for the perfect piece to add to a bare wall in my little studio. Never a fan of buying cheap generic art from a store, I wanted to make something myself. Something that I would look at every day and be reminded of where I was from and where I’ve been. It had to be something simple. Not obvious. Something that I could look at every day but still see something new each time.
I spent some time experimenting with a few ideas until I finally landed on one that I loved: a hand-lettered typography-based painting with words, dates, names and addresses of places I’ve called home. It was all of the places I missed, times with friends and family but it also reminded me that there were a lot more good places to come. I loved it, and every day that I saw it I was reminded of more memories. It grew on me and made me feel at home in my new city.
After seeing the piece hanging up in my place, requests for custom paintings began flowing in from friends and co-workers. Soon, my nights and weekends were completely filled with creating custom paintings and I loved it. I began to refine my techniques, experimented with different materials and fell into a groove.
When orders continued to come in with no sign of slowing down, I decided to turn this side project into a real business. For starters, I needed a name. I chose “Locality”, which reminded me of the original idea behind the painting. After landing on “Locality” the look and feel took care of itself, I used things that reminded me of traveling, going to new places and creating memories. Old train signs, worn bus rolls from the early 20th century, and the striking familiarity of industrial Americana all came together to create something fitting, and memorable.
About a year later when the time came to make a move to Minnesota, I decided it was time to take on Locality full-time. I set up an online shop, established both pricing and shipping structures as well as packaging methods and little add-ons for special custom orders. Going from fun side projects for extra cash to a full-time business was a big switch. Running Locality full-time allowed me to experiment with methods and materials on a larger scale. All while trying to remain efficient and maintaining the quality and craft that customers came to expect.