phm studio spaces: Dolan Geiman

Panel Paintings Inside Crates View C

Artist Name: Dolan Geiman
Shop Name and Url:
Poppytalk Handmade Table: Table 9
City: Chicago

Our studio is located in a building called the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, the first sustainably renovated structure in Chicago’s Stockyards Industrial Corridor. The owner’s mission, John Edel, is that the building will be a model for ecologically responsible and sustainable urban industrial redevelopment. We are deeply honored to be part of this building and hope others will be inspired by John’s work. You can learn more about the building and view photos at

Full Shot with Dolan

Where in your home/apartment is your studio located?

Dolan: I have a separate studio space now, a few blocks from our apartment, after having a live/work space for the past five years. Actually for me it’s been about ten years of living and working in the same space.
Ali: I have an office down the hall from Dolan's studio. In our previous live/work storefront space, I worked upstairs and Dolan worked downstairs. In a sense, we've created more distance between the production and administrative components of our company. I love having my own space and I'm sure our clients like it more phone calls with the sound of a jig-saw and Alice in Chains in the background.

What equipment/tools do you use?

Ali: My list is boring - computers, printers, a scanner, cameras. It's the usual list of items one would expect in an office.
Dolan: Also I know she has a shotgun under her desk. Don’t let her professional appearance fool you. As for me, I have the usual artist’s stock of drills and saws, but I also have all the necessary goods for screen-printing including an exposure unit. Oh, and a sewing machine.

Inspiration Clothesline

Do you have an inspiration board, and can you tell us what is inspiring you now?

Dolan: My inspiration wall looks like a nature guide got in a fight with Martha Stewart at a Dairy Queen in Georgia. I like to use the clothesline method of putting images up. It’s a good way to organize without looking like a total nerd (too late). I’m also a packrat because I like shiny round objects of no real monetary value. I collect flyswatters from abandoned houses too, if that gives you any indication of where my inspiration comes from.

Ali: I'm too much of a computer nerd to have an inspiration board. Everything that I want to store and remember is kept on my computer. I use ( for bookmarking. I've also started using ThisNext ( for tagging stuff for the Pick of the Day section at the bottom of our blog. Even though Dolan and I are just down the hall from one another, we will e-mail back and forth about new ideas, inspirational websites, or new artists/designers to check out. All of our e-mails are archived in an enormous ideas folder maintained on my computer.

Nature Corner

How do you create best (e.g. do you listen to music while you create and if so what?)
Dolan: Usually when I get an idea I try to make it as soon as possible. For larger projects, I write them down and put them on my clothesline (see previous answer). To keep my energy up, I try to listen to upbeat music, or at least something that makes me feel like working - Howling Wolf , Captain Beefheart, bluegrass music (especially Tony Rice), Animal Collective, Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour live (it’s good, trust me), old country music like Waylon and Dolly, Andrew W.K. even. I also have this thing for Tori Amos and old Fleetwood Mac (if you like songs with fake hand-claps:

Moo Cards

List (3) of your favorite artists

Chris Roberts Antieau ( - We get to see Chris and her work on a regular basis thanks to our common art fair schedule. Most recently, we attended Chris's book signing at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. We were also set up next to Chris at the Kentuck Festival, both Dolan and Chris operating interactive art installations. Dolan ran his Art Machine ( and Chris setup a "photobooth" in which she was doing live sketches of the participants. Chris is a rock star in the folk, visionary, and fiber art communities. She has a hearty laugh and warm personality and is all around just someone you want to know.

William Skrips ( - We also met Bill at Kentuck and his 3-D mixed media works are just phenomenal. I want a whole collection of them from floor to ceiling in our house one day. You can catch Bill at many of the folk/visionary festivals like Slotin Folk Fest in August. His work is also carried by Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem, Oregon. There are tons of other talented artists to check out on Mary Lou Zeek's website.

Harry Underwood ( - We discovered Harry via MySpace. Have you had the experience of total paralysis when viewing an artist's or designer's work for the first time? It was like that. Harry should be a millionaire from his artwork and still may be in the near future. We're saving our pennies to purchase his Most World Famous painting.

Dolan: I’d have to go with those as well and add Chicken George Zupp ( , the Georgia Red Mud Painter-Steven Chandler ( and Ed Brownlee (§ion_id=5288367) . These guys are super sweet individuals, three of the nicest guys I have ever met, and three darn good artists. Chicken George lives in Texas, makes real nice folky, crunchy paintings and sculptures, drinks beer and smokes his own chicken. Georgia Red Mud lives in Watkinsville, Georgia and makes paintings on wood and paper applying local red clay to turn out some amazing folk pieces. He also is incredibly funny. Check his videos out ( Chicken George has some great ones, too (

I’ve known Ed Brownlee for a number of years. Before he moved to Pennsylvania, he taught at the School of the Art Institute’s school and residency program in Michigan, Ox-Bow. He’s a darn good potter, can eat a whole catfish, and would make a great husband, ladies. He also makes these face jug renditions that are the next hot item. (

Dolan with Middle River House Sculpture

If yours isn't, what would be your perfect studio?

Ali: I have yet to spend any time decorating my office. It is completely utilitarian at the moment and could definitely use a little more personality. I've been researching items like a rug and more comfortable chairs for visitors. However, there is always something else I want to prioritize like nicer paper for our upcoming wholesale catalog. These are the trade-offs of a growing company I suppose.

Dolan: I am extremely happy with my studio and can’t imagine having a nicer space. It’s taken a lot of really hard work to finally have the space I need. At this point, now all I have to do is stop rearranging everything and redecorating the space and make art.

Thanks Dolan & Ali

Jan Halvarson


elizabeth said...

Oh! Thank you for this. Having grown up being taught to appreciate the southern aesthetic, it's so refreshing when I see southern inspiration done right. No dollies and gingham!

Shannon said...

wow, love that first pic. great storage.