Munstre (mun-stir) began as a happy accident back in 2008, I used to make buttons for bands and events in my local area. If the order was large enough I’d tape a few sheets of their printed designs together to save time during the circle cutting stage – in order to be sure everything lined up perfectly on each sheet I’d hold the papers up to a bright light to inspect the layers. Usually I’d hold them up, think “goddamnit, the registration’s off again... but hmm that’s kind of a nice looking thing”, then fix the registration and move on.
It was kind of a minimal moment, but one day after wrapping up an order I decided to print out one of my own simple designs onto some aged paper, I didn’t have a frame or anything built yet, but against the light that particular artwork came to life in a way that just didn’t quite work sitting on a computer screen… and I immediately felt that this 'nice looking thing' had some potential. I knew I at least wanted one for myself.
I realized at that point I had very, very little experience with woodworking and no knowledge whatsoever of electrical wiring (although I DID mount a battery powered 3v fan motor to a slab of wood when I was in 3rd grade) so I had to kind of find my way. Fortunately my father had all of the equipment I’d need to start, and he helped me make the first frame for these lightboxes while also showing me how to not explode myself or his garage.
I'm happy to say now that I've come to know this process like the back of my hand, and I'm confident in saying Munstre is the best collection of truly unique lightboxes, anywhere.
Munstre is owned & operated by Christopher Elsasser
The style for Munstre has always reflected what I’m into in my own life, which tends to be antique or historic items with an ‘oddities’ edge to them, particularly medical ephemera. For years I’ve collected old photographs, books, clocks, 8mm films – all sorts of items that inform my decisions when it comes to design. Each image is edited, sometimes requiring a massive amount of photoshopping & digital painting, I try to impart enough real textures and layers around the focal point to keep the images grounded, so the viewer feels some connection to the piece while maintaining their curiosity. I do all of my work out of my recently expanded studio in little Rhode Island.
In addition to Munstre I am an avid gardener, and an active musician. I'm currently recording a debut LP as "COLURER". I've self released a handful of mix-matched tracks which you can listen to on Bandcamp or Spotify.