about bernie & zuzu

At bernie & zuzu, we design unique, one-of-a-kind products with bold, bright color and exuberant patterns that inspire playfulness, creativity and joy. 

bernie & zuzu is named for Bernie Witzack, founder and artist, and her brilliant and extraordinary cat zuzu (bios below!)

bernie & zuzu is run out of a studio in the Madison Enterprise Center at 100 S. Baldwin Street in Madison, Wisconsin. We screen print at Polka Press, Madison’s local printmaking collective.

You can find our goods at the top of State Street with the Dane County Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings from April-October, at Little Luxuries, Hatch and Communication Madison, and at local art markets such as The Eastside Winter Market, The Crafty Fair and the Madison Maker Markets.

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bernie (she/her)

I grew up in a small town south of Madison, in a home where my dad’s paintings lined the walls and my mom’s quilts covered the beds. I staged my first art show at age 9, lining my wood-paneled dining room with drawings and charging my parents’ friends a dollar a drawing.

I took all the art classes I could in high school, studied Studio Art at Beloit College and earned an MFA in Fine Art from the University of Michigan. In grad school, I focused on drawing and painting, working in an improvisational and materials-based process.

After grad school, I moved back to Wisconsin, settling in Madison in 2015. Shortly after moving to Madison, I learned about the Graphic Design program at Madison College and signed up for a few classes, including screen printing. I was hooked on screen printing immediately – the perfect way to continue making art while making it affordable. I joined Polka Press, Madison’s local printmaking collective and still print there today.

I graduated from the Graphic Design program and got a full time job as a Graphic Designer - pursuing my art on the side. In February 2020, I had my best art market ever, immediately selling out of my new screen-printed throw pillows and selling most of my prints as well. This experience planted a dream in my head - making a living as an artist seemed possible. 

One year later in February 2021 - after experiencing the life-changing pandemic for a year - I decided to pivot to focusing on my own art full time. bernie & zuzu was born! In October 2021, I launched bernie & zuzu to the public through a pop-up shop at Garver Feed Mill. We’ve been selling online and at local Madison markets ever since.

I never feel more connected and alive than when I am creating art. My hope is that the joy I feel when creating comes through in bernie & zuzu’s goods and inspires tiny moments of happiness, joy and wonder in our fans and customers.

I teach art classes at the Arts & Literature Laboratory in Madison. 

 

zuzu

Zuzu was born in a barn. She was adopted by Bernie when she was a wee little kitten. Her favorite napping place as a kitten was a hiking boot. She loves tuna juice, watermelon, greenie’s treats, and dairy products of all kinds, especially butter. She has an MBA from Harvard and is a supply-chain expert. When she’s not working as the CEO, CFO and COO of bernie & zuzu, you can find her napping in her bed in Bernie’s closet, or at the top of her cat tree. Zuzu is seventeen years young, and still gets the zoomies and plays every day. She really, really loves watermelon.