Toronto’s Papergirl Press is launching The Pushpin, a curated website of collectible, high-quality giclée prints for sale by acclaimed graphic novel artists — including Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Johnnie Christmas (Angel Catbird), Michael Cho (Shoplifter), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet) and Jeff Lemire (Royal City) — and acclaimed editorial illustrators Julia Breckenreid, Dani Crosby, Chloe Cushman, Jay Dart (as his alter-ego Granduncle Jiggs), Sarah Lazarovic, and Christian Northeast. The site will also launch with Pushpin Originals — prints of new and never-before-seen art created specifically for The Pushpin by Kagan McLeod (Kaptara), Ryan North (Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure) and Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals). With artists such as Bryan Lee O’Malley (Seconds), Marguerite Sauvage (DC Bombshells) and illustrator Gordon Wiebe to follow in the future.

Dino by Ryan North (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)

You may know Papergirl Press, run by former journalist Jessica Johnston. Who left editorial duties at a newspaper, then began producing and shipping prints for her comic-artist husband. What was once a small side project is now expanding into an art factory; affordable for fans of any artists Pushpin sells. When asked about the balance of art disciplines in the Pushpin’s line up Johnston said, “The site is pretty much an even split between comic artists and editorial illustrators, which differentiates it from other art print sites. I love having the two side-by-side, since there is a lot of overlap between the disciplines. Comic work and illustration often also share a clever, playful sensibility, which is a big theme on The Pushpin.”

While the prints are currently exclusive to online sales, Johnston is open to any possibilities when it comes to connecting fans with wall decor. ” The idea for The Pushpin is that the prints are available through the website only, but if an artist wanted to bring Pushpin prints to a show, I would definitely figure something out. The mission is to connect creators and audiences through high-quality art prints, and I’m pretty flexible about how that happens! A benefit of making the shop online only, as opposed to having the prints available at conventions, is that there’s less competition, financially. In the online gallery setting, you’re sitting on your couch, looking at the internet. There are these gorgeous high-quality prints by people like Ryan North, Chip Zdarsky, and Kate Beaton and you didn’t already just spend $200 on treasure and admission.

That said, I’m all about matchmaking people and art, and am not afraid to do so by means necessary. Any. Means. Necessary.”
For those looking for odd or larger than normal sized prints, the site will take special orders on certain pieces. Standard sizing will be determined by each artist whose work will be sold on Pushpin. By default, each (unless noted otherwise) is printed on archival 330gsm cotton rag paper made from a by-product of cottonseed oil production that would otherwise go into a landfill. Pricing starts at $25, but certain ones will run you a bit more and when asked why, “pricier pieces are the larger, limited ones. Kagan McLeod has an amazing compilation of hip hop artists. It’s so ambitious and impressive, and his stuff is gorgeous. That one’s $100. Illustrators Christian Northeast and Julia Breckenreid have some fantastic large-format work. Another of the larger pieces is by illustrator Chloe Cushman — an image of blue sea, with womens’ legs and arms emerging from the water, called “Drowning.”  It’s a dark subject, but exquisitely rendered. It’s 100% going on my own wall.”, noted Johnston.
HipHop by Kagan McLeod (Kaptara)
When it comes to the availability of the prints, Pushpin will be mostly printed to order. While some will be open-ended availability through the site others such as Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth and Essex County are limited 100 each. Signed prints will also be available, with Papergirl Press based in Toronto and the initial artists all being Canada there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find artist signed editions.
Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
With so many new galleries popping up as the art scene in cities across North America has blossomed, comics and editorial illustrators don’t always get a chance to show their work in that world. Pushpin’s mission is to give audiences and creators the gallery treatment that’s not always accessible. “Treating comic work and illustration like fine art is a big part of what the site is about. I think it would be fantastic to do a Pushpin gallery tour. There are no plans of this kind right now, aside from a Toronto launch party at the end of the month, but I could see myself setting up at conventions with The Pushpin down the road.”
Check out the more than 40 pieces of fine art available at thepushpin and follow @pushpinprints on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve compiled just a few of our favorites here: