Every day, our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, sellers who have been on Etsy for a mere handful of months or are awaiting their first sale introduce themselves. Here’s a warm welcome to all our newbies!
The seeds for Perfect Cursive were planted in the winter of 2008. Karen Onorato was employed as a book designer in Philadelphia and Mario Zucca was a freelance illustrator in Pittsburgh. While working together on “Secret Lives of the Great Artists,” they discovered their mutual love of animals, adventure, pop art, and puns. Two years later, the couple reunited through the beauty of the interwebs and it was then that this cross-state creative relationship took root. During the great snowmaggedon nor’easter of 2010 (pictured above), the creative duo conceived the idea for Perfect Cursive while sequestered in Mario’s studio working on a redesign of his illustration site. For two weeks they subsisted on a steady diet of Adobe Dreamweaver and Thai takeout, emerging with a shiny new website and a vague concept for a graphic design/illustration mind-meld.The storm passed and the snow began to melt. The duo found themselves with two brainfulls of ideas but little direction. One thing was certain: they were both craving a change from their normal routine. Karen wanted to work with her hands and leave the computer, and Mario wanted a departure from his often tedious illustration style. Both wanted to create artwork for themselves after years of creating for clients.
Mario began his series of pen and ink portraits, which he posts on his blog, simply as an exercise to try to draw one portrait per day. The tools are rudimentary: ballpoint pen and lined notebook paper. The method is simple: no pencil sketching allowed (proportions be damned!). He started off drawing random strangers but has since moved on to old family photos and portraits of sitcom stars from the ’80s and ’90s. To escape the vice-like grip the computer seemed to have on her creativity, Karen invented the Sculptograph: sculpture + photograph = this oh-so-clever name. She wields her Xacto to cut and glue and build three-dimensional works of art with no limit to subject matter: 18th century medical experiments, chickens playing rugby, and even some of Mario’s illustrations.
The couple spent much of 2010 dabbling in the handmade market scene and exhibiting their new work in local galleries before finally discovering the perfect venue to display and sell their eclectic mix of work: Etsy! Joining this collective of like-minded artists has been inspiring, and they are thrilled by the warm reception they’ve received from the Etsy community. As Karen and Mario continue to broaden their creative horizons, Perfect Cursive serves as an ever-expanding outlet for new ideas. Among their most recent endeavors, Karen has discovered letterpress printing, while Mario is trying his hand at polymer clay sculptures (check out their Miniature Bear Skin Rugs!).
Today, the Perfect Cursive team reside in Pittsburgh with Emmett, their bizarrely-shaped dog. Emmett fancies himself an intellectual. His days are often filled with reading Nietzsche and studying the Sanskrit alphabet, which leaves little time for Mario and Karen’s tomfoolery.