Spotlight: Welcome Workshop

Welcome Workshop is a design and silk screen studio located on a roof in New York City. It is run by Anny Oberlink and Maggie Prendergast.

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Credit: Arden Wray

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. MP: I work full time as an art director at a food company, we run WW in our spare time and in therest of my spare time I’m drawing, biking, documenting NYC signage, cooking, eating, and drinking micheladas. I am a compulsive list maker and a psychotic planner. I think I have graphomania.

AO: Yes, Welcome Workshop is currently a part-time endeavor, but soon it will be a full-time graphic design studio. The thing that is most special (to me) about WW is our tiny little studio, which is in an old elevator control room on a roof.

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Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? MP: I love the website for this English grocery store because it’s super friendly and cute.

Fire Escape Farms because its simple and a brilliant concept.

Poolside Radio cause the mash ups of the songs and the videos are so great.

AO: Top favorites: Senses of Cinema is my favorite movie blog, Gothamist.com is my top site for local NYC “news” and FFFFOUND! is still good for graphic stimulation.

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Credit: Arden Wray

How has living in New York City affected your work? MP: True victim of NYC. It’s our main source of reference and inspiration for any graphic design we do. Growing up in NYC you are exposed to so many graphics all the time—subway ads, billboards, flyers, posters, etc. that I think it makes you very aware of design if you’re a visual person.

AO: Yes, definitely influenced by New York City graphics. Also, living here has made it easy to work with lots of different creative and motivated people.

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What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? MP: Right now we’re really into gradients which is a result of loving sunsets. [AO: And trying to photograph them, and failing to capture their beauty because no matter what, a sunset photo on an iPhone looks dumb!] We are also a bit fixated on security patterns on envelopes. And as always, NYC stuff. Free fonts also.

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What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? MP: Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) project, increasing our wholesale offerings, more sunset prints for a potential show in Ithaca.

AO: The CUP project has been so great to work on! We’re designing a brochure on nail salon worker’s rights with CUP and the non-profit organization Adhikaar.

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Credit: Arden Wray

If you were a drink what drink would you be? MP: Salty lime drink from India. It’s very strange at first, but then you can’t stop drinking it.

AO: Club Mate.

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How did your interest in your work begin?  MP: The first time I saw the Doctor Zizmore subway ad in 1994 and thought to myself, my life’s work should be to achieve that level of brilliance in graphic design. JK, I guess it’s a conscious rejection of creating serious fine art? IDK, my mom says I’ve been exactly the same since I was two.

AO: First when I realized that drawing doesn’t just have to be a pastime! And then when my printmaking teacher told me she used to run a print studio out of her locker in school. I realized you don’t need a lot of fancy stuff. Just a good work ethic.

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Credit: Arden Wray

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? MP: Anny

AO: Maggie

How long have you lived in New York City and what brought you there? MP: Born and raised in NYC, totally addicted to it. Never could leave. Oy vey.

AO: Ditto

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Credit: Arden Wray

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? MP: A sense that things don’t need to be too serious, and that they might be able to use what they were looking at.

AO: Accessibility. I want to make things that communicate with people who aren’t necessarily trained in or familiar with art and design. I don’t want to make things that only appeal to a specialized group.

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What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? MP: The Redhook Community Farm in the summer when things are growing. Or on a walk with friends.

AO: Rooftops at night in the Summer.

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What are you really excited about right now? MP: Our collaboration with Addhikaar and CUP about nail salon workers rights. Biking everywhere. Chia oatmeal, the future.

AO: Fall and apple cider donuts!

Most embarrassing moment? MP: When I baked a cake, fed it to someone with a deathly nut allergy, promised there were no nuts, and then mid way through us all eating it realized I used hazelnut milk. What’s worse is that this took place during a graduate seminar about conceptual art at Cornell.

AO: A couple years ago I was in Berlin and had several hours to kill before my flight. I decided to see the Dark Knight Rises, and I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt really embarrassed for seeing an American movie in English. When I got to the ticket booth, I couldn’t stop myself and suddenly this bogus, pan-Eurasian accent came out and I explained to the ticket seller that I was visiting and only understood only a little bit of English but more English than German. And then I just kept going. You know when you start something and can’t call it quits and then you just enter a downward, uncontrollable spiral?

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What were you like in high school? MP: Exactly the same. As I said, apparently I’ve been myself since I was two years old. I guess what I am like is loud, gregarious, energetic, extreme, type A, and witty.

AO: Same too, less awkward, a little taller. No braces! Yet still confused for a 17 year old and carded to rent R rated movies.

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Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? MP: Best reaction to our work has been how people respond to the “De La Soul Food” print. It started as a funny joke at a bar and then just escalated to the point where we had to make a print of it. People always tell us their favorite item or suggest other puns to add.

AO: We haven’t gotten many bad reactions yet…fingers crossed!