Shadi grew up in Beirut Lebanon where his family owned a modern offset printing press and he has always been drawn to the beauty of the old presses that were rarely used at the back of the print shop. He became very fond of those timeless presses and over time restored most of them back to functionality finding out that the quality of the beautiful prints and textures they produced to be incomparable with modern prints.
In 2019 he left Beirut and moved to Cleveland where he started setting up the letterpress studio one press at a time. He founded The 961 Collective with the vision of doing what he loves and sharing the beautiful world of print with others in the community. He has since taken on papermaking with the goal of recycling the scraps from projects to create more handmade paper.
In addition to The 961 Collective serving client's letterpress needs, it is also an educational resource hosting workshops and a collaborative space where artists from all over the world are involved and spotlighted through collab print projects.
Lara is a Lebanese graphic designer with a passion for photography and storytelling. She captures aesthetically pleasing frames and pairs them with often sarcastic phrases that hit the nail on the head regarding the current socio-economic situation in Beirut.
Lara is trilingual and so is her humor making her puns an interesting mix of English, Arabic and French. When she isn't working at her full time graphic design job or making her own art, Lara enjoys movies which are her escape and source of inspiration.
Some of Lara's favorite things:
- The color cyan
- Mahmoud Darwish
- Mikhail Naimy
- Frank Sinatra
- Ziad Rahbani
- Charles Bukowski
Since childhood, she has shown remarkable talent in drawing and painting, haven came from a family of artists.
Her talent in painting grew while watching her grandfather and uncles-work on their pieces. Lara’s art was primarily paintings of flowers, an inspiration she drew from her family garden and spoke to her femininity.
At the age of 15, Lara decided to take her art seriously, and enroll in artistic academic courses that would help her pursue art professionally in the future. Her work was recognized at that time through local exhibitions and publications. In 2017, she graduated from Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts Balamand with a BA in Product Design. After graduation, and with the rise of social media, Lara’s art had a bigger platform and a noticeable interest from the youth.
This encouraged her to abandon the classical ways and upgrade to the digital age. This shift was the beginning of a new artistic path. In the past three years, Lara was able to speak to a wider audience with her new art pieces that became an expression of her sexuality and broke the stigma towards the female body.