"Munstre" (pronounced Mun-stir) is a lightbox project started in February 2008 by artist Chris Elsasser. The goal has been to give his designs & illustrations a better display value than just sitting on a computer screen or in a picture frame. Enamored by idea of having a functional light that was also interesting to look at, he set about to create interesting works of art that could remain affordable to most people.

Chris, tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Well the initial spark for this idea actually started when I used to make custom buttons/magnets for bands ... I'd print out their order on multiple sheets of paper which I would tape on top of one another, I would then hold the stack up to a strong light to make sure all of the registration marks were correct and I always loved how the artwork looked in front of that light. It took about a year and a half before it suddenly crossed my mind to actually build a box specifically for my own designs.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Business. It has become a very challenging and exciting thing for me, I have a strong background in design, as well as music, but at a certain point I became obsessed with finances and the idea of running a business and when things are working well it is easily my favorite thing in life.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your shop?
My biggest challenge so far has been the Christmas season, I've only gone through one but I was absolutely hammered with orders on both of my sites. The challenge was mostly in keeping every person's order straight and making absolutely sure no one had been left out or fallen through the cracks. I made it through without error and with excellent feedback from my customers, so I was happy.

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I'm happy to say this is a difficult question. There have been many favorites as I've developed my ideas, one of my newest lightboxes 'follow me to heaven' I think is particularly up my own alley in that it's simple, and has an antique flair...

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A basketball player for most of my childhood - due mostly to my height, at a certain point that switched to a prominent musician (this dream has not yet died and probably never well).

What other shops out there do you love?

the black apple

chris berens (not a shop, but a wonderful artist whom I admire)

What does your future hold?
A lot, at least in 2009. I am developing a new T-shirt business with a very talented artist friend of mine which should be launching by the fall of 09, all work will be handprinted on American Apparel and will be a big jump from my current design work as seen in Munstre. I will also be launching some new LARGE lightboxes with images on canvas that should take up a large portion of the average wall, I'll also be submitting to many galleries through the year with my more secret lightbox ideas.

Stop by Munstre at Etsy or at where you can find some seriously awesome t-shirts, buttons, magnets, and keychains in addition to the lightboxes seen on Etsy!