DAVID & DAISY
In collaboration with Lucy & Co., Dschwen artfully redefines the meaning of “dog meets design” in his series, “Ice Cream Cone Dogs.” These six new prints feature toy models of some of the most beloved dog breeds, flipping the “cone of shame” into a happier day filled with sunshine, humor…and ice cream. A Lucy & Co. limited-run exclusive, this conceptually fresh series has manifested itself into the first prints to be offered in the Lucy & Co. Shop, each print is stamped with an embossed seal and signed by the artist.
David Schwen has always been making art. Ever since he was a youngster. He knew that the decision to follow his passion for art made sense, but he still felt he was taking a big chance. While a lot of other friends were heading off to college to become doctors and lawyers, he set forth toward art school to follow his dreams — that of which he didn’t know would actually come true.
Striking out on his own had always been in the back of his mind while working at the agencies. The Creative Director at his first internship planted a seed that stuck. He gave David this advice: “Start up you own shop now, or it will never happen.” Burned into the-artist-soon-to-be-known-as-Dschwen’s mind, his ultimate end goal was always a shop to call his own. After working at a handful of advertising and design agencies around Minneapolis for nearly a decade, he launched Dschwen, LLC on October 6, 2012.
The agency is a small foundation, but can expand depending on the size of the project or client. David leads the creative direction and a trusty studio manager, Jessica Ekstrand helps with the day-to-day needs of the studio. Together, they collaborate with amazing people to create some great work for brands, with many of David’s pet projects garnering attention all their own.
But it wasn’t always easy dream-chasin’. David’s an artist, after all, and sorted through some worry and angst. For many years, he fought getting stuck in a set style. He worried about being pigeon-holed into a style that would only bring certain projects or clients. So, as a way of trying to avoid finding a style, he experimented with a lot of different mediums and techniques. That is actually what became developed into his style and aesthetic. Creating designs that use everyday objects, using cut-paper, clay molding and many other mediums has become the voice of Dschwen.
David feels that people have become to know him for the interesting way that he brings everyday objects to life. It’s easy to enjoy someone’s creation when people can relate somehow. In all of the work that they create at Dschwen, they try to use icons and a familiar visual language. This gives their audience a great starting point that they can easily enter Dschwen’s concepts with.
Take dogs, for example. Lucy & Co. approached Minneapolis-based Dschwen, LLC in pursuit of fresh collaboration, loving the fact that this brilliant, creative mind also hailed from Lucy & Co.’s home town. Being a dog lover himself, it was an easy ‘yes’ for David. While searching through some of his old sketchbooks, he came across an idea that I thought would be a perfect print series.
And that’s how #IceCreamConeDogs was born. This series is one created from an observation. David has always thought that it is sad when dogs have to wear ‘the-cone-of-shame.’ Instead, he thought that it would be a little bit happier if the cone was an ice cream cone.
Perhaps this desire was rooted in David’s love for his own dog, as he has a beautiful labradoodle named “Daisy.” She is 9 years young and still acts like the puppy that he picked out years ago. She knows exactly how to comfort David when sad and he sincerely can’t think of life without her, acknowledging that Daisy has been such an important part of his life and a source of inspiration.
“I love how dogs are there for you. They aren’t pretentious. They aren’t needy. They just give you that look when you need it. It always helps that I know exactly which spot to scratch behind their ears.”
For more Dschwenisms or to follow his rambunctiously-evolving body of work, check out dschwen.com or @dschwen on Instagram.
Shop the collection here.