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By day, Tracy Tomei is a graphic designer for Woolrich. In her spare time she creates the quirky and surreal prints that can be found in her virtual store, AndSoItGoes. Rod Serling’s opening lines from The Twilight Zone, “A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination,” perfectly embody the whimsical world discovered in her artwork, which combines strong typography and tailored illustrations to create beautiful statements about life and its absurdity.
The playfulness of Tracy’s art is contagious, light, and refreshing. She takes the quotes that wheedle their way into her mind—right now, those quotes are from the Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and the ’90s cult television show, Twin Peaks—and illustrates them in a way so captivating in their simplicity that the viewer cannot help but be drawn to the power of her typography—which she describes “as an art in itself.”
In her virtual shop are prints featuring everything from the eccentric (“there is a fish in the percolator”) to the more cerebral (“What do you fear most in the world? The possibility that love is not enough.”) And while the quotes are removed from their contexts, and could be described as fan-art because they will be more recognizable by followers of the pop culture from which she draws her inspiration, they remain intriguing—and maybe even more charming in their mystery—to the viewer that is not so familiar.
While these two sources of inspiration will always be near and dear, she is expanding and seeking muses within classic literature, books by more contemporary authors, like J. D. Salinger and Tom Robbins (two of her favorites), and other television shows, like Portlandia—a satirical sketch comedy television series on IFC.
Tracy lives with her husband and a new puppy in Williamsport, but her virtual print shop is hosted by the e-commerce Web site Etsy, which brings together artisans, vintage merchants, and other distributors of handmade goods from all over the world. The vastness of the site can be overwhelming, but it’s easy to find Tracy’s shop, www.AndSoItGoesShop.etsy.com, through a feature on the Web site called “Shop Local” which allows you to search for shops by city, state, or country.
By the way, our region, The Last Great Place, we call it, has a flourishing Etsy marketplace with locals handcrafting gifts, novelties, clothing, and even hand-spun yarn.
And in honor of this Last Great Place, I have two prints of Tracy’s hanging on my kitchen wall, both featuring the John Muir quote “the mountains are calling and I must go”—a perfectly fitting sentiment of the alluring beauty of these mountains seen from the view out my window. Framing these beautiful words are perfectly simplistic illustrations of mountainsides (both of the prints are currently available in her shop).
You or I might fixate on a certain passage from a book or a particularly addictive song lyric until it remains on a seemingly infinite loop in our heads. Where do you put that? A notebook, where it is destined to fade from recollection? But Tracy uses the words swirling in her head as a catalyst for her illustrations.
After finding Tracy on Etsy, I thought of handing over my notebook and begging her to make the phrases that were so special to me into something more tangible, in the spirit of her two prints that hang on my kitchen wall. And, lucky for me, Tracy has a custom order option. She will gladly create a print constructed around a favorite quote of your choosing—quirky Christmas gift idea anyone?
And just in time for the holidays, she is soon going to begin offering larger eight-by-ten prints as an additional option to her current selection of five-by-seven prints and custom calendars. But for the more closely approaching holiday, Halloween, she has created a series of The Twilight Zone-inspired prints just for us. They embody a spooky cool that can be displayed and appreciated all year round.
Check out the rest of Tracy’s The Twilight Zone prints she made just for Mountain Home: