Who I am.
My name is Brian Geihl. I'm an artist born and raised in Minnesota. I love what I do. So much that I can't get enough. It started with graphic design in college and working as a young professional. That moved into screen printing almost a decade ago. Now I’m unlocking a whole new interest in photography. Plus, I keep finding ways to intertwine all of these skills on super fun projects. All while being inspired by life around me. Isn’t that what being an artist is all about?
But really, my true passion in life is being a dad. My wife and I have been blessed with two amazingly relentless boys, Charlie and Jack. They have opened our eyes into a new world of growth, excitement and exhaustion. And we love every minute of it. Mostly. Well, actually more sleep would be nice.
What I do.
Dogfish Media is a full-service graphic design, printmaking and photography studio based in Minneapolis. SPOILER ALERT - this company is a one man band (see left). I launched Dogfish Media a decade ago with the vision of working on creative projects that I am passionate about. I am always learning and love the challenge and excitement that each new project brings. Here are some of the services that I offer:
Logo / Identity Systems
How did it all start for you?
I started Dogfish Media back in 2008 when I was working professionally as an in-house designer in the Twin Cities. Though I learned a ton as an in-house designer I kept feeling like there was more out there. I desired the freedom to make my own creative choices and take on projects that utilized my skills and interests. So in early 2010, I left the company and launched Dogfish Media as a full-time creative studio.
Was it scary going “solo” after having the security of a 9-5 job?
Hell yes. It still is. I’m generally not a risk taker, but at the time I knew I needed to try a new direction in life. I thought If I worked hard and continued to expand my skills, I could do this. I think the fear of not getting new work, or becoming obsolete, is something that still drives me today and will continue to do so in the future.
Dogfish Media... but why?
Where my company name came from is likely the most common question people ask me. Truth is, I don’t have a great story. It just came to me. In my sleep. In the middle of the night I woke up and muttered “Dogfish Media - that sounds good”. I jotted it down and fell back asleep. The next morning I woke up, bought the domain and the rest is history. Sorry - no elaborate story about my love for dogs, or fish (which I do love both) or any super deep, emotional meaning.
How important is local?
Local is in. And I'm all for it. People want to connect with others around them. Being a local artist and working in the community allows me to interact with new people every day. I love the Twin Cities (you might be able to tell from my artwork) and want to continue to grow with the thriving art and design community. A huge perk of selling my art at fairs and events is that I get to interact with my community.
What are you doing to impact your community?
Over the years I have donated many prints and designs to various events, organizations and schools. This is a way for me to give back to the community that has allowed me to fulfill my dream as a local artist. Moving forward, I am working on new initiatives to help hungry children in the Twin Cities area. Having kids of my own has opened my eyes to hunger challenges that others in our community are faced with. When my son runs up to me and says he is hungry, we simply go to the kitchen and grab some food. For many, it isn’t that easy. I want to help by giving back a percentage of sales to Second Harvest Heartland. Stay tuned for more on this in the near future.
Born in Minnesota… but where?
I was born and raised in Detroit Lakes. This small-ish town in nothwest Minnesota has always been known for its beautiful lakes and WE Fest (sigh). But now I think Vikings stud Adam Thielen is starting to put the area on the map in a different way. Anyway, I love where I grew up. The town is big enough where you don't know everybody, but small enough where you could. Plus, there is a strong sense of community and its a great place to raise a family. My wife and I happen to both be from Detroit Lakes (long story). We still visit there frequently and always enjoy our precious “lake time” spent with friends and family.
After graduating high school, I went to St. Cloud State University to be a Broadcast Meteorologist (gasp!). That’s right. A TV weather guy. As it turns out, Calculus based Physics is hard. Very hard. And not for me. So I moved on over to the art program and immediately felt at home. This is another one of those life-defining decisions, and I am forever grateful that I followed through with it. I met so many great artists and professors during this time. These became life long influences for sure. And despite very few (ok - zero) credits being transferred from science to art, I graduated in 2006 with a BFA in Graphic Design.
I love to spend time with my family and friends. As mentioned above, my amazing wife and I have two young boys. They keep us busy and teach us something new every day.
Beyond the relentless life of fatherhood, I love to be outdoors. Golfing, fishing, hiking and exploring are all on my favorites list. I’m also a diehard Minnesota sports fan. Its a love / hate thing. I also a big fan of music and going to concerts. As mentioned above, I absolutely cherish spending time on the lake.
What is your creative process on client projects?
A majority of my client work involves a similar process. I always start with research. It is very important for me to understand the history, vision and goals of a project long before I think about design. Then I perform a number of quick pencil sketches. These are not refined, but are more of a way for me to get a bunch of ideas down without focusing too much on detail and composition. Once the sketch phase is finished, I move towards working on the design digitally. In some cases, I need to head out and take photos or gather more resources. When I feel like I have the concept or concepts ready to show, I present to the client and gather feedback. Revisions and refinements ultimately lead to the final design.
Where does your imagery come from?
Short answer - my brain. Every photograph, illustration, screen print and design is created originally by me. A college professor instilled this in me as a young student. Always create your own work. Every piece of it. Even if its easier to start with a photo you grabbed on Google. This makes the work authentic and the story real. I will always live by this motto as an artist.
Screen printing, eh? What’s up with that?
I love it. Love love love it. There is something so rewarding about pulling that squeegee across the screen and seeing an image I created come to life. Being a web designer for so long, I found it is so awesome to create something tangible. You can touch and hold a screen print. The process is very long and linear. I think that is why I love it so much. Respect the process. Cutting corners just doesn’t work in this media.
When did you get into screen printing?
I took a printmaking class in college as part of my art studio electives. I really enjoyed it, but was laser focused on graduating in graphic design. It was a few years later when my mom gave me a cheap all-in-one screen printing kit that I truly got interested in the craft. After meeting and learning from some awesome local artists, it transformed from a hobby to a significant part of my business.
So, what do you print on?
Flat stock. Only flat stock. Printing on fabric and apparel is a completely different animal and my studio is setup to print only on paper or other flat surfaces. I love and respect apparel printers, but also know to stay in my lane. I think it will always stay that way. If you are looking for an apparel printer, look no further than Chux Print. They rock.
Can you design and print me a poster?
Absolutely. This is one of my favorites projects to work on. It touches on all areas of my interests. This includes graphic design, photography, screen printing, color theory, process, etc. If you are interested in learning more about hiring me to design and print a poster for you, hop on over to the contact page.
What do you love about photography?
Capturing a moment and using that moment to tell a story. It seems simple, but that is what its all about. I am constantly looking at compositions, subject matter, leading lines and interesting forms. Even when I don’t have a camera with me I am looking for these things. Sounds silly, but I truly can’t get it out of my head. Even my mom is willing to admit that I am addicted.
What type of photography do you prefer?
My photography interests are a mixed bag, to say the least. I love to photograph urban elements. The city is always so vibrant and the patterns created in architecture takes me back to my love of geometry. And on the other end of the spectrum, I love shooting anything in nature. This includes lakes, waterfalls, rivers, flowers, animals, you know - outdoorsy stuff.
What about weddings?
Nope. Those scare me. Too much pressure. I can’t just tap the bride and groom on the shoulder and ask them to recreate the first kiss because my exposure or focus was off. There are many talented wedding photographers out there. With more guts than me.
What is branding photography?
Branding photography is using photos to create dialogue about a brand or company. I love this type of photography because its not as intense (see weddings above) and it allows me to capture the essence of a company or product. When taking on these types of photo shoots, I like to immerse myself in the business to really grab the pulse of the company. This could be workers in action, uncommon angles and vantage points, lighting effects, etc. Ultimately, its using photography to connect a viewer with a brand in a unique way.