Brian Andrew Jasinski calls himself "bicoastal," though he isn't talking about New York versus LA. This is how he describes his affection for both sides of Cleveland's geographic split personality. "I live on the West and work on the East," he says. "So I love them both." Jasinski is gaining local attention for his line of prints and cards inspired by the 1930s through '60s, a design-influenced artistic endeavor he calls Grey Cardigan. West Vs. East (pictured), a hat-tip to that classic Cleveland debate, is one print that helped put Jasinski on the map.
A 36-year-old alum of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Jasinski has been working as a graphic designer since graduating in 1999. He made the leap into the fine arts world in 2009 at Room Service's Made in the 216, a retail event that showcases and supports Cleveland's design community.
"She really kind of pushed me into the deep end," Jasinski says of his friend and Room Service owner, Danielle DeBoe, who created the semiannual shopping extravaganza. "I sent her a [custom-designed] card, and when she got it, she sent me an email that said, 'That's it, you're in this summer. You need to do something.' "
The card, which he modified for Valentine's Day with the saying "I ink I love you" in an octopus's ink cloud, was the catalyst for the 60 to 70 prints that now make up Grey Cardigan's evolving catalog of imagery. The pieces, which often have birds, brides, trees and bikes in them, start off as illustrations or hand sketches. Jasinski then creates them digitally through a computer program similar to Adobe InDesign.
Last year Jasinski got a call from Mike Kubinski, owner of Native Cleveland, a Collinwood store that's home to dozens of local designers and artisans, with the request for Cleveland-themed prints.
"The challenge was how do I take what I do with my imagery and apply it to Cleveland," Jasinski explains. "I wanted to take feelings and emotions about Cleveland and apply them to my style."
The results include that East versus West rivalry. "They basically look like twins," Jasinski says of the men who represent both sides. "It's the same city. ... [It's] kind of a jab, an ironic jab at this ridiculous division of that bridge."