‘I’m the glitter and he’s the skulls.’ Screen printing artists continue to grow business

Off to the side of a spacious warehouse room whirring with sounds and people moving about stands a door, which boasts a small pink sign. 

Adorning the sign is the 2012 Internet meme, Grumpy Cat, and below the cat’s famously displeased face is the phrase “Close the door” repeated four times.

Opening the door leads you to a small hallway roughly 18 feet long and maybe six feet wide. Lining the walls are prints of cats, cat skulls and women among a sea of other vibrant colored prints. A thick purple and pink curtain sections off a work area with a screen printer.

It’s here that Brittney McCormick — better known as Brittney Cat — produces various prints, posters and more for her MissHappyPink line.

“I always enjoyed making and creating, and once screen printing came into my life, I realized that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

Cat isn’t alone in her artistic endeavor. She’s joined by her husband and artistic partner Justin Kamerer, who, wait for it, is the owner of AngryBlue, another screen printing company in Louisville.

If you think the contrasting nature of these names is some sort of coincidence, think again.

The couple — who met in 2006 and married in 2016 — has become a force to reckon with on the Louisville art scene.

You’ve definitely seen their work, too. Kamerer has a long list of high-profile clients, including Facebook, Assassin’s Creed, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, the Forecastle Festival and Microsoft.

Cat’s “Fast Horse & Fine Bourbon” design has made its way onto t-shirts seen across the city.

It would seem the artistic couple was destined to find each other.

Manual High School grad Kamerer started designing posters for bands in 2005. His first works were digital prints, not screen prints. Eventually, he fell down the rabbit hole of screen printing — creating a stencil, or screen, and then using the stencil to apply layers of ink to a printing surface — and hasn’t looked back.

“I feel in love with the aesthetic … the feeling of ink on the paper,” he said.

Cat wasn’t far behind.

She started MissHappyPink back in 2011 as a lifestyle brand “for badass babes, kickass dudes and cat lovers,” offering a variety of products from prints, pins, t-shirts and all things ‘catcore.’

Catcore is a play on words for her love of hardcore and punk music and her adoration of cats.

“Everyone has their people. So as a joke, cats are my people,” she said.

The name MissHappyPink is actually an inside joke for the couple.

Kamerer started to incorporate ‘softer’ items into his designs, such as flowers, as opposed to the traditional skulls and bones he was known for and Cat starting teasing him about the change.

“Not an angry blue, but a happy pink,” she said.

Cat picked up screen printing from hanging around Kramerer, thinking that if he could do it then she could, too.

“I always enjoyed making and creating, and once screen printing came into my life I realized that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

The couple met for the first time in the fall of 2006 at Highland Coffee and casually dated on-and-off for 10 years. Over the course of time, they started to work, and later live, alongside each other.

After some time came a proposal, which Kamerer said was “not grandiose.”

Both of them designed each other’s rings. Kamerer’s ring is designed with sparrow claws holding one of Cat’s baby teeth. Cat’s ring has two bees surrounding a cluster of diamonds in the middle made of past family engagement rings.

In 2016, the two married.

At Highland Coffee.

At the same table where they had their first date.

During regular business hours on April Fool’s Day.

“People were confused,” Kamerer said with a laugh.

Working alongside each other, even before they were married, allowed the couple to bounce ideas off one another, critique each other’s work and challenge the other.

“It’s nice to be able to evolve together,” Kamerer said.

“I’m the glitter and he’s the skulls,” Cat said.

When asked where the two of them hope to take their respective brands in the future, they responded jokingly in a way reminiscent of a mid-1990s’ television cartoon.

“World domination,” Cat said.

“That’s the only thing on the chalkboard,” Kamerer responded.

But deep down, the couple said the real goal is to evolve, keep the business sustainable and keep doing what they both love.

“Be relevant, but be true to yourself,” Cat said.

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