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Leading up to the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Call for Makers, artist Brian Archer contacted me with a really neat illustration series. After attending a few local maker events, he was inspired to create his series, “You are what you make!” and drew some very detailed illustrations that really capture the spirit of some very active local Vancouver makers.

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One of the most rewarding parts of being involved with organizing a Mini Maker Faire is hearing from new people who attend events and who want to contribute to future events. Brian is one of those people. Learn more about Brian, check out his illustrations, the makers that he  drew, and how he got hooked on maker culture below.

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Illustrations inspired by Zee Kesler’s Tiny Community Centre and Dan Royers Makelangelo Drawbot.

How did you learn about and then get involved with Vancouver’s maker community?
When I came to visit the 2013 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, I was confronted with experimental visual artists on one side and hackers working on strange engineering problems on the other, and realized I belong somewhere here in the middle. I joined the Vancouver Maker Education Meet-Up because I’m fascinated with the experience of understanding and also the ways that formal education could become individual discovery.

dan Brian Archer Draws Vancouver Makers in Their Natural Habitats

What inspired you to draw these images for the posters?
I was invited to speak at the Maker Show and Tell at the Rio event. At that time I was toying with the idea of making portraits of people surrounded by the artifacts from their life. I was trying to create visual biographies, sort of like old portraits of royalty or maybe like ancient allegorical paintings of Apollo with a harp and a lion. When I tried to make portraits of the makers I saw at the Rio, they almost immediately started to blend with and become their creations. I realized this was an appropriate way to represent the sometimes obsessive mind of an artist or an engineer.

tinyhouse Brian Archer Draws Vancouver Makers in Their Natural Habitats

Tell us a bit about some of the illustration projects you’ve been working on.
I am working on a Universal Visual Language Interface. That’s a little vague, but in the spirit of Otto Neurath‘s Isotype, I’m trying to create a wordless cartoon infographic that can be understood by people from different cultures because it’s based on embodied cognition. Still not clear?  Literal Visual-cy? No? Well that’s the problem with new ideas — it’s best to just try them. When you see it work, you will understand.

mrfiremanbarlev Brian Archer Draws Vancouver Makers in Their Natural Habitats

Featured makers include “Mr. Fire-man” of the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra and Adam Barlev of the Symmetry Group.

What are some of the other non-illustration projects you work on? 

I’ve been a musical instrument hacker since childhood. I made my own electronic drum pads and spliced broken guitars and modified some squeaky baroque recorders. The urge to modify, combine, and customize instruments is always richly rewarded when you get new sounds from a newly hacked flute or guitar.

adambarlev Brian Archer Draws Vancouver Makers in Their Natural Habitats

What do you plan on bringing to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire?
In addition to my visual language illustrations, I will bring a bicycle sculpture automaton that is a functional, programmable, pedal-powered, three-track, drum machine! It is made completely of recycled bicycle parts and a few drums.

legionofflyingmonkeys Brian Archer Draws Vancouver Makers in Their Natural Habitats

I can’t wait to see what else Brian has in store at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, happening this June 7th and 8th!

Emily Smith

Emily Smith is the driving force behind Vancouver Mini Maker Faire and Vancouver Maker Foundation. She is an avid textile artist and community organizer with a focus on facilitating collaborative and creative workspaces as well as maker-oriented projects and educational programming.

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