Art

Behind the Designs at Frog and Toad

The artists of Frog and Toad Press capture Rhode Island's quirks and channel creativity for change

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“I Like Your Butt” sprawls delicately in bright colored curls over white cardstock. “I think it’s a good representation of our values and our humor,” expresses Maret Bondorew in reference to the greeting card. “I’m pretty proud of that one.”

Maret, Chris Milko and owner Asher Schofield are the collective creative force behind much of the amusing and culturally relevant merchandise found at Frog and Toad. From slices of stationery that congratulate that special someone on their rap career, to pencils with the phrase “F*ck Yeah Rhode Island!” to politically minded patches urging people to “Stand Up For Flint,” all of these items are conceived and executed with careful consideration by the aforementioned trio under the name Frog and Toad Press.

While Asher has designed for his shop since the beginning, it wasn’t until Maret joined the store almost two years ago that F&T Press was established.

“She started working here and slowly over time I realized that somehow we had been delivered this amazing artist. We arrived with where we’re at now – having a studio and making our own merchandise – just by evolving with Maret and seeing her work as an artist,” says Asher.

Most – if not all – of the Frog and Toad Press line is light hearted in nature, but some items have a deeper meaning than what’s drawn on the surface. “We felt like something that was missing in the greeting card market was the mass incarceration niche,” says Asher while discussing a new collection of stationery that feature phrases like “Two words: Conjugal visit,” and “That judge totally had it out for you.”

“Developing a line of cards that spoke to that community is relevant. [America] has such an issue that it’s at the forefront of the cultural discussion and the idea was to push that conversation around a little bit – this is actually such a thing now that we’re making greeting cards saying ‘Thank you for being my court-appointed attorney?’”

Another recent Frog and Toad creation was a direct reaction to the atrocities happening in Flint, MI. There is nothing funny about the “Stand Up For Flint” patch, as there is nothing funny about what it represents. Instead, the image of a fist in the air is bold, strong and fearless.

“One day as she’s wont to do, my wife and co-owner Erin said we need to do something about this – I don’t know what – but we need to do something for the people of Flint’,” explains Asher. “I brought the sentiment to work one day and immediately Chris said we should do a patch. We can use this voice that we have, this talent that we have, to do something that has some sort of tangible effect.”

The patch itself sells for $5 and can be found at the store or online, with all of the proceeds sent directly to help the people of Flint. Asher even mailed one to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “Maybe this is something that somebody is wearing at their coffee shop and a conversation is started based on that,” considers Asher. “It’s like a tool, something to further the conversation to increase awareness. It’s been a really exciting new thing that we’ve done and it’s shown me this is something we can do again in the future.”

Frog and Toad Press
795 Hope Street
831-3434