Born in 2012, AN AXE TO GRIND is a collaboration between us, Ben Sasson and Mimi Violette, based in Prague. This site houses our design work in a portfolio format while encompassing a works shop and blog... The posts we share are some of life’s specimens that inspire us.

A bit about Mimi...

My early background in various iffy quests—from refurbishing grand pianos, to irrigating landscapes, to painting paraphernalia—balanced out much of my 20s, while playing bass (an '82 Rickenbacker) in a Britpop/shoegaze band called Starless, fronted by Harrison Ray.

Such abstract and great happenings later amplified my pursuits in art school and beyond... I arrived with a BFA in Interior Design from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia of the U.S., with thick roots in architecture... then commended the ‘start’ of a career at Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Architects (HOK) in New York.

And so... my stargaze bent forth towards more cinematic constellations. I immersed myself in production design for film and ‘re-invented’ my portfolio. Forever transfixed with European aesthetic, culture and pace, I seized a corner in Scandinavia… Graduate film-school unfolded in Helsinki at Aalto University of Art and Design (TaiK) where I studied production design under the company of Kevin Phipps (V for Vendetta, Eyes Wide Shut), Rod Gorwood (28 Days Later, 24 Hour Party People), David Morong (HBO's Carnivàle, Big Love), and Jan Harlan (producer for Stanley Kubrick from 1975-1999).

On my way to Prague to have a hand in the Erasmus program at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), I worked on The Rite (with Anthony Hopkins) in Budapest. Later I wrote a screenplay — as part of my Master's thesis — which was enthusiastically nodded by FAMU, and suggested for further development to Professor Jaromír Kalista (more commonly known as Executive Producer for renowned Czech filmmaker, Jan Švankmajer).

Until I one day produce and direct this number, I currently freelance in production design, graphic design and interiors — Most recently (in 2014), I was part of the Art Department (as a Graphic Artist, Illustrator and Draughtsperson) in Lee Tamahori’s action epic, Emperor (with Adrien Brody)... and more recently, from January - June 2015, I was the graphic artist for 200+ sets for the third season of American / Netflix TV crime-drama, Crossing Lines with Donald Sutherland and Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones)... Both Emperor and Crossing Lines are co-produced by Film United and Rick McCallum (Star Wars, The Singing Detective, Castaway)

Check out more of my portfolio here and on mimiviolette.com

Between projects, I teach courses in Production Design, Mise-en-scène and Storyboarding at Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček (FAMO) in Písek, Czech Republic.

Mimi's CV/résumé, IMDb and LinkedIn

And a bit about Ben...

My childhood affection for making short-films further developed where light is excluded... my yeshiva would grant me classes at public school in manual photography, later leading to studies locally at University of Notre Dame in Indiana, then beyond in Europe, where I studied fine arts in Florence at Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA) with a concentration on still-photography. With such life for the realm of film and theory, I deepened my studies at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), graduating with a BFA in Film and Minor in Photography.

Ever absorbed by mystery—from the illustrations of vintage Agatha Christie book covers, to the Italian film genre, “Giallo”— my cinematic style can be described as voyeuristic with a nostalgic candidness. Compositions materialize from a found poetic moment, and the natural geometry that surrounds it. Shooting with 35mm lens bestows an honest ‘extension of my own eye’ with consideration towards it’s potential graphic design layout.

In 2010, I spent time working in Israel, then Helsinki, where I studied film theory briefly before working in Budapest on the American feature, The Rite (with Anthony Hopkins). Establishing myself in Prague, I am a consultant and aid to Mimi on her curriculum at FAMO with emphasis on film science. As well, I am a freelance photographer, art director and graphic designer with specialty in posters, logo-design, web-design, business cards, brochures, press-kits and branding.

Ben's CV/résumé

Since we met back in 2008, we have collectively worked on over 50 short films, videos, commercials, documentaries and 5 feature films with focus in Production Design, Art Direction, costume design, catering, set-photography, props and graphic design.

Since 2011, we have designed over 50 posters including for such bands as:

• Black Lips (US) 20122014-poster 1 2014-poster 2

• Kurt Vile and the Violators (US) 20122013

• A Place to Bury Strangers (US) 2012

• Beach House (US) 2012

• The Soft Moon (US) 2013-poster 12013-poster 2

• White Lies (UK) 2013

• The Warlocks (US) and DJ Anton Newcombe (of Brian Jonestown Massacre (US/Berlin) 2014-poster 12014-poster 2

Brian Jonestown Massacre (US/Berlin) 2014-poster 12014-poster 2

Blonde Redhead (US) 2014-poster 12014-poster 2

— all of which are personally signed by the band.

Up and coming:
The Dandy Warhols 04 April 2015 (Prague)
A Place To Bury Strangers (Berlin or Munich TBD)

One of our favorite pieces to zone-out to amidst working from home is the full-length (audio) from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)... and Niccolò Paganini...

All original work done by us is copy-written and may not be used without permission. Shared, but not used.


Featured posts

Poster design for feature documentary film "Dreadtown" (2016)
Outline In Black
Reflective Quality
I Of My I
Where Everyone Knows My Name
The Last Boy
10,000 BCE
Love (Part 2)
Terry Poster Exhibition (Part 2 - Printed & hung at Kino Světozor, Kino Aero & Bio Oko!)
Terry Poster Exhibition! (Part 1)
A Place To Bury Strangers - 2015
Promo Graphics for UK documentary, "Dreadtown" (2016)
Planet Of The Apes @ Ponrepo
Femme Fatale
It's All Above Our Heads
Left Behind
Shock Corridor
Ben's Opening Exhibition @  Jericho
Ben's Jericho Exhibition
The Confusion of Tongues
My Own Private Box
Diving For A Winston
Breaking Records
The Dandy Warhols
Don't Look Now (1973) - signed print from Donald Sutherland
Mash (1970) - signed print from Donald Sutherland
Poster design & exhibition for "Star Wars: Episode V" (Part 3 - from Ponrepo's Midnight Movie series 15.5.2015)
Poster design & exhibition for "Rambo" (Part 2 - from Ponrepo's Midnight Movie series 17.4.2015)
Poster design & exhibition for "Psycho" (Part 1 - from Ponrepo's Midnight Movie series 7.4.2015)
Being Born
Star Wars @ Kino Ponrepo
Crossing Over
It's As Easy As Winking
T is for Train
Partial Solar Eclipse
Rambo: First Blood | screening @ Ponrepo on Friday
Alpha - Printed!!
Closely Watched Trains
The Black Tower
Tadeusz Brzozowski
Lucas Samaras
The Club Dumas
John Coplans
Józef Mroszczak
She Wolf
Waldemar Swierzy
Henri Rousseau
Morte a Venezia
Of Days, Lost and Forgotten
Jack Wolfgang Beck
Here We'll Stay
Pierre Bosman
Edward Steichen
The Seventh Seal
Giorgio De Chirico
Seeing Is Believing
Max Ernst
set design for Berliner's, "Pretty Mery K"
The 10th Victim
Miro Gregor
Burnt Offerings
Three Card Monte
Voyage Into The Unknown
Run Man Run
Deep Deep Down
The Unconscious Mind
The Art Of Gymnastics
Eyes Of Fire
The Toilet That Dreaded Sundown
The Best Ribs In Town
A Crack On The Head
It Happened In Broad Daylight
Raiders Of Atlantis
Eye See Me
Chalk On Wood
Tras el Cristal / In A Glass Cage (1986)
Lost In The Land Of The Living
This Isn't a Pile of Trash, It's a Dog.
Jack Deth
In The Land Of The Blind
 Gunfight At The O.K. Corral
The Thinker
Foot Of The Bed
Lost In A Sea Of Dreams
Finding The Right Boot
The Fear Of Losing Control
Everything Is New To Me
A Day To Remember
For You I Die
Witch Doctor
The Soft Moon (USA) - 2013 "B&W"
Kitty, Want A Cracker?
The 8 Signs Of A Bad Leader
Alice Sweet Alice
Bloodstained Shadows
Feline From Martinique
The Draughtsman's Contract
Someone's Son
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
The Beast Within
Narrow Confines
Anthony Hinšt
Pebbles Bouncing On The Surface
Hope Is Extinguished Little By Little.
Blue Sunshine
Americká Grafika
The Act Of Diverting
Their Gaze Locked For Several Long Moments
Lucien Clergue
How To Get Freakishly Long Looking Lashes In 28 Days
Steichen's Photograph of Isadora Duncan -
Each Brand Of Gin Has Its Personality
Walter Allner
The Night Digger
Yam Pak-Nin
Miro Gregor
Miro Gregor
Give A Man Enough Rope And He Will Hang Himself
Everything Comes To An End
Rings Of Saturn
A Tempest In A Teapot
Blonde Redhead (2014) in Berlin (Part 2)
Blonde Redhead (2014) in Berlin (Part 1)
In One Door, There Is No Other
Shadey Cowboy
Amusing Oneself
 Preset Trajectory
Personal Hygiene
At The Top Of My Voice
Late Night Reading
He Is Risen
Crusaders Against Time
Each Dawn I Die
Lucky 36
The Home Of Obedience
All The Colors Of The Dark
The Fullness Of Possession
Window Display
The Back Of Beyond
He Has Weighed And Now They Divide
Honey I'm Home
At The Height Of Power
Walker On Earth
From One Generation To The Next
Keeping Watch
Controlled By Its Driver
(Of A Person) Remote And Impersonal
From The Tips Of My Fingers
Monitoring Your Newsfeed
The Wind Will Carry Me
Urban Blight
Planked Through The Looking Glass
Rest In Publication
Steve Crisp
Geoffrey Salter
Underground Gliding
The Sun in a Net
Hidden By Veils of Clouds
I Speak For The Trees
What Is Mine Is Yours
Gillian Lewis
David Salle
A Stylish Performance
Half Were First Class
His Delicate Arch
Performed With Relative Ease
Paul Hogarth
John Stezaker
Distributing Power
Karel Teige
Bob Pepper
Left Behind
Bob Brooks
Fantomas Is Watching You
Ota Janeček
Lost Plant
Karel Hájek
James Boswell
Minas Avetisyan
Edgar Allan Poe
The Looking Glass War
George Tscherny
The Joyous Invasions
Welcome to the Monkey House
Martine Francková
The Pledge
Childhood's End
A Murder of Quality
Simon Kiladze
Viktor Achlomov
Petr Zhor
Martine Francková
Simon Kiladze
Saul Bass
Dean Meeker
Portrety Hanse Geddy
Petr Zhoř
Viktor Achlomov
Algirdas Pilveslis
Stefan Gierowski
Bohumil Štěpán - Part 2
Brian Jonestown Massacre (USA/Berlin) - 2014
Brian Jonestown Massacre (2014) in Prague
White Lies (2013) in Prague
An Ode to Spring, Part 2
An Ode to Spring…
A Place To Bury Strangers (2012) in Prague
Beach House (2012) in Prague
Francizek Starowieyski
Black Lips (2014) in Prague (Part 2)
Black Lips (2014) in Prague (Part 1)
35mm - Berlin (Part 2)
Kamil Lhoták
The Warlocks - album cover design (Part 2)
The Warlocks (2013) in Berlin (Part 1)
Here We'll Stay (2014)
Vladimír Lavický
A (Alpha)
Bohumil Štěpán - Part 1
35mm - Berlin (Part 1)
Jan Souček
The Best Ribs In Town Stranded Rebel Without A Cause (1955) The Last Deed of Kamo (1974) Run Man Run (1968) Orca (1977) The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) The Soft Moon (USA) - 2013 "in-blue" A Place To Bury Strangers (USA) - 2012