Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Local Artist Spotlight: Tag Team Tompkins

     Take two Kansas City book lovers, season them with graphic design careers at a very large social expression company, a strong desire to travel, and mix well. Stir up these ingredients and you have Tag Team Tompkins, a small business created to honor literary wit and wisdom.  They partner well together from years of practice, being mother and daughter.

Madeline and Diane in their home studio with watchdog Bruce at the window

   Today I'd like to introduce you to them in what (I'm hoping) will be a recurring post about local KC artists whose work inspires me. I met Diane when I also worked for that "very large social expression company" and we became fast friends. It's been so great to see her daughter Madeline go down that similar creative path, yet blaze her own way as an accomplished hand-lettering artist. I love their style and the way their products blend each of their talents so seamlessly. Here's a little about the artists and their process:

Diane finds literary quotes that strike a modern note and gathers them together for discussion. In their work, they try to find copy that matches their world view, without becoming preachy. These quotes need to please both of them in equal measure. Then, Diane begins to illustrate them.  Madeline adds her hand lettering and second set of eyes to the mix. When the design is finished, it goes to Bob Atkins, owner of Skylab Letterpress in North Kansas City. His letterpress printing on good paper brings their prints and bookmarks to a pleasing finish. 

Wayne Tompkins (fact checker and data-base designer at TTT) with Bob Atkins of Skylab Letterpress

  Their frequent travels to Japan to visit family allow them to find new tools and materials, and lend them surprising perspectives on their own art.  Those long plane trips ensure plenty of time to read and imagine new work. They have a retail and wholesale shop on Etsy, and also wholesale their printed work locally and nationally. You can also follow them on Facebook here:


Fun bookmarks ready for market

 A 5x7 print for all the dog lovers out there

Madeline hand lettering 

Another  5x7 print, inspired by marriage equality rulings

  Two "Dire Warning" 5x7 2-color prints

These are two in a series of original paper collages that Diane made for a show in Fukuoka, Japan where her son and his family live.


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