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  • Chopping Block: Steven Daily

    In an age when we have unlimited access to a ridiculous amount of talent from artists of all walks of life, and all levels of expertise, It’s not always easy sniffing out the ones worth following. Well guys, here is one for you: Steven Daily. The Los Angeles resident has used a steady hand and style to place an easily identifiable fingerprint on the art scene. Entities such as Disney, Sony, HBO and more have picked up on the uniqueness of Mr. Daily’s craft, recruiting him for a number of projects. Daily’s artistic journey is intricately threaded with poetic elements and a provocative style. Entranced by his captivatingly haunting artwork, We were curious find out more about his journey thus far.

    Steve Daily Fine artists prints on wood


    POW: What would be the single most pressing message you want to convey to all viewers of your artwork?

    Daily: I just want to make people think, not just make eye candy. There’s a lot in this world that we don’t see, that's in plain site. I like to explore these things and open those up to the reader to get a response. I think great art creates an emotion a feeling, whether good or bad, you should feel something.

    Disorder fine art custom wood printing
    Disorder by Steven Daily

    POW: In the beginning of your career, your work with the likes of Disney and HBO helped establish your notoriety, what was the most challenging project for you and how were you able to push through it?

    Daily: I think the most challenging project I worked on with Disney was, The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. I did three preliminary sketches which were all turned down, then revised, and brought up again. I was supposed to create interpretive art based on the red queen from the cartoon, Alice in Wonderland, from the 50’s, I believe. If you have seen the movie, you know she is kinda overweight, has a face like Fred Flintstone and a tiny crown nose. Also, The Tim Burton Alice in wonderland had just come out, and those designs were off limits. So I used Delta Burk, from Designing Women as a reference. She is a pretty full figured, voluptuous woman, so I thought perfect fit and submitted the design. After a few revisions, she was approved. I began to paint her, taking in progress shots at different stages: fifty percent, 75 percent, etc. All of a sudden, they wanted to revert back to my first original design. The art director Chris Jackson fought for the design, and we kept painting. after a few color tweaks, we submitted the final. Around four to five months later, we got a pass. They thought the design was not appealing or Disney enough to approve. So that was that. It was done, or so i thought. I decided I was done trying to do a red queen piece. However I ended up selling the piece to a private collector, so it worked out.

    Steven Daily fine artistManifest by Steven Daily

    POW: While browsing through your artwork, I can’t help but notice the intense focus on the human form, facial features or simply anatomy. What brought about this interest in the subject?

    Daily: I love to people watch, and I love to draw from life. There is something organic that happens when drawing the human form from life. You tend to shed all the hang ups, sexual thoughts, and attention to nakedness of the model and begin to concentrate on the form, light, and shadow dancing around the page capturing the pose. You're now thinking only of what you are drawing from what you see; every little worry falls away-its cathartic. I took a few figure classes at Riverside City College with Dayna Mason Gregg, a brilliant teacher. I just fell in love with it. I used to think the realest you can get is what makes an artist great, so I concentrated real hard on anatomy and figure to grow my ability. Only later to find out I found hyper-realism too boring for me to pursue.

    oath by steven daily fine art on wood Oath by Steven Daily

    POW:  Can you tell us about one technique or style that you would like to experiment with and why?

    Daily: I’d like to be looser, try texture, less rendered. I’d like to do some real large works, in oil. like museum size. I tend to like to do a lot of over rendering, and over kill.

    messenger by steven daily fine artMessenger by Steven Daily

    POW: In addition to creating art on canvas and wood, you also spray paint illustrations that possess a crazy amount of detail. Does spray-painting have any advantage to it that you might prefer?

    Daily: In the early nineties, I got into Graffiti through skateboarding. It was the first art I was ever excited about, all though excited isn’t the word actually. Graffiti art took over my brain, I became it almost over night. The first time I was introduced to it was while watching a late movie, on ABC, I believe, real late at night. I don’t know if you remember that, but ABC had late night movies during the week. Anyway, it was a made for a T.V. teen drama called Dreams Never Die. It’s about these two kids in NYC: King, and his girlfriend, who take down a local under-age drug dealer. King, happens to be a subway bomber, anyway it just resonated with me. I had seen Beat Street and Break’n when I was a kid, but this was different. It wasn’t a ploy to market Hip-Hop to the youth of America as a package deal. This was before Rap, and break-dancing. This kid wrote his name everywhere, and was trying to be an artist as well. I remember thinking to myself I could do that and probably better. So I did. I stole some spray paint from a local hardware store, jumped a fence and painted the canal behind the parts I lived in. Later I began meeting up with kids in the street, through skateboarding and the like, who shared the same ideals, getting into one of the best crews Southern California has seen. Making life-long, like-minded friends and watching it become accepted and mainstream because of what we painted, making the way for the rise of street art. So spray painting has a special place in my heart. Whenever I can, I get out and spray-paint and value that time so much. It is so free and energizing, not to mention a work out at my age.

    the nest client graffiti by steven dailyThe Nest Client by Steven Daily

    POW: What would you be doing right now, if you weren’t a full time artist? Are there any other endeavors you wanted to pursue?

    Daily: I wanted to be a professional skateboarder when I was younger. I skated for nearly 25 years. I realized towards the middle that I wasn’t nearly as good of a skater as I was an artist. I still push around sometimes but don’t find the time to that much anymore. I’m looking forward to teaching my son. I can’t wait till he’s old enough for me to buy him his first board. I think being a philosopher would be interesting-or maybe a archeologist. Indiana Jones, or something like that. I grew up in an age of cool, where being cool was more important than being smart. So i just kinda went through the motions in education. But as a 42 year old man I find this insatiable thirst for knowledge. I just want to learn more, read more, discover more, live in the moment more.

    victim by steven daily fine art print on woodVictim by Steven Daily

    POW:  Father, Husband, accomplished artist, You wear a lot of hats, and many more, I’m sure. What would you say has proved to be a challenge in maintaining these “hats” and what would you say has lead to your success in being able to do so?

    Daily: We will start with father because wow...it has been an amazing experience. I never knew I would find so much joy in being a Dad. I think the challenge there has been being a "stay home, work from home" Dad. It’s nice that we don’t have to put him in daycare, but we are still trying to find our groove as far as studio time, and daddy time. Husband, I'll let you know when I figure that one out, it's a learning experience:) Accomplished artist, well thats awesome to hear. In my mind, I'm still the underdog hustling to stay afloat. As far as art as a career, to survive you have to wear many hats as you said.You have to be able to adapt, and be versatile at least for me anyway.  I do illustration, graphic design, murals which are like billboards for my art, fine art, and a little teaching now. For me, everything I did, learned, or tried was out of necessity to pay the bills, and keep the art career alive, and the lights on.


    For more information on Steven Daily please visit: http://www.stevendailyart.com/

  • Chopping Block: Miss Mindy

    Some things simply can’t be taught. For artist and product designer, Miss Mindy it’s the innate talent and appreciation for great art. The quirky California native  was born into a family full of talented artists and designers. Naturally, her passions and family influences led her to the world of fine art where she triumphs by forming a unique blend of styles, from steam-punk to retro. To top off, Miss Mindy is an accomplished illustrator and designer for clients such as Disney, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon Animation. With no signs of slowing down, Miss Mindy expands her already impressive portfolio in her home studio in Eagle Rock, CA, with her husband, Rick O’Brien and, of course, ‘Radio’ their bilingual circus dog.

    MM_SPMinnie-4 fun_2


    POW: You described your fun, whimsical style as “cartoon folk art” which is spot on! What originally drew you to this style? Are there any artistic styles or genres that you’ve explored?

    Miss Mindy: I've always adored old school cartoons! They make me happy. You know the rubber-hose-y arms, bodies bobbin' up and down to a silly tune,  the gorgeous nonsense of the scenes always inspired me to dance to the beat of my own drum.


    Miss Mindy Making Faces print on wood

    Making Faces by Miss Mindy

    POW: Your grandmother worked for Disney as an ink and paint girl and your husband is also a well-known fine art artist. For you, art is LITERALLY all around. Did you always know you wanted to work in the art world? Can you tell us about your artistic path?

    Miss Mindy: I Did! My whole family are either artists or engineers, and it comes in handy since we always have to figure new ways of creating, especially in sculpting! That was a whole new ball of wax, but luckily, it came so natural. My husband Rick O'Brien, has taught me awesome wood working and sculpting skills, bow hunting skills.... ha-ha! Just kidding, but really, we keep each other nimble, that's fo' sho!

    Yup, My grams worked at Disney, and I originally wanted to follow in her footsteps being an Ink and paint girl, but found that being a character designer , fine artist and free wheelin'-wild -woman-of- the- west.. was my calling! My path started in full-time Animation,  and has since progressed into owning my own art business, doing art shows, freelance for animation, toys, illustration and ideas. Again, It really keeps me nimble, and I love seeing where I can take myself. It's been quite the twisting path, sometimes with beautiful outcomes, sometimes I've been burned pretty bad and had to find out the hard way....but I'm happy I never gave up, and kept the faith. After all, We're only here once, so we gotta enjoy it and  make it count!

    Miss Mindy Off Key Limited edition fine art wood canvas print

    Off Key by Miss Mindy 

    POW: Can you select one of your works of art and tell us a bit of the story behind it or why it’s important to you? What steps did you take to create it?

    Miss Mindy: My 'Flor De Muerto' sculpture is one of my favorites I did it in honor of my grandma Mary, who inspired me to be a cartoonist. The interior of the sculpts skirt actually holds a little wooden bird that belonged to her. Doing my sculptures are cray-zeh labor intensive and take mass amounts of love to come to fruition! Everything from casting the hollow bell skirt to honing and sanding the Magic Sculpt take lots of patience and foresight. So I'm very particular  about the designs I finally choose to see to the end.

    Chicken Ride Wood print

    Chicken Ride by Miss Mindy

    POW: The first thing any viewer of your artwork may notice is your recurring use of feminine characters. Even Jason Limon’s little character  “Cat Creeper” was given a little customization, (genius!) Why do you focus on creating pieces using these playfully feminine characters?

    Miss Mindy:  Ha ha... Thanks! Jason is a wonderful artist and I adore his wee beasties. As for me, the feminine form is what I was born into, so I naturally gravitate toward the ladies! I tend to live through my girls, they go the places I can't and confront the issues in this world that many of us  females (and males!) have to deal with.... from the silly to the serene.

    Miss Mindy Voice in the Wilderness wood print

    Voice in the Wilderness by Miss Mindy

    POW:  Whose work do you find exciting right now, and why?

    Miss Mindy: It's not really a who, but genre's. I find the 'street art' colorful-blasts and shapes that are popping up here and there, and all over town... peak my fancy. It makes this world a happier place when you can look up at the side of a building and see  an amazing, heartfelt mural.

    I also adore the craftsman movement. Making something of insane quality with your own two hands. The artists put so much love into their work, and being able to show the world through video's and instant everything, makes me so crazy pleased for the appreciation of REAL craftsmanship.

    POW: Your artwork can be found in private collections and galleries across the country and abroad. What would you say was the most memorable exhibit for you and why?

    Miss Mindy: I think the 45th Anniversary of The Haunted Mansion, 'Ghostly Materials' at The Disneyana Gallery was my favorite. I had created my take on the stretch portraits in my woodcut style. So many people were freaking out and excited about the art, getting it tattooed on their bodies, it was nuts! It totally made my inner child happy.


    POW:  What’s in the works for you? Any fun new projects that you can tell us a bit about?

    Miss Mindy: My husband and I are gearing up to open our home studio to artists and workshops. We're calling it 'Drawing on the Hill'. The art classes, life drawing, talks and hob-nobbin' parties will take place in our wild and wooley backyard with our mushroom house looming over you. It's quite a magical place that Rick built, and we want to share the gorgeous-creative-vibe with our fans, friends and peers! More info about the summer workshops will be leakin' out soon, so stay tuned...

    Disney wise, I'll be showcasing some new paintings and sculpture in the D23 Dreamstore in August. I also have a big Vinylmation production series release this fall, 'Designer Series 1' and a Residency coming up at Wonderground this October.  I'll be sure to post more as know the solids!

    POW: If there were a question about your art you felt I should ask you, what would it be? And the answer?

    Miss Mindy: I think it would be my favorite quote:  It sums up my sense of  humor pretty well!

    “I look just like the girls next door…if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.”
    - Dolly Parton


    For more information about Miss Mindy please visit: http://missmindy.com/

  • App Review: Repix

    APP_TITLE_ repix

    I always wanted to be an artist as a kid. Sadly, my artistic abilities are limited to stick figures and what you could classify as a drawing of a chicken-you just gotta squint really hard. While I may not be able to hold a paintbrush to a canvas, I do have in my hand Repix, a newly downloaded app that claims to provide users with the ability to add realistic painting effects to photos.

    Repix app review

    Unlike most photo editing apps, which begin in shooting mode, Repix opens with a preselected sample image for you to play around with.

    repix app review filter

     The menu is pretty standard, offering tabs like shooting mode, photo selection, starters, store, and guide.

    Repix app review home page

    Under the photo selection tab,  Repix gives you the option of choosing an image from your albums, Facebook or iCloud stream. The tab, Starters, offers an album of professional photos for you to freely edit.

    repix app review starters

    Initially, I decided to capture a photo to edit but I was a bit disappointed the shooting mode’s lack of camera options. So I went this this picture to use in demonstrating the photo effects.

    repix app review photo

    13 photo effect brushes including an Eraser and Undoer run along the bottom of the editing page. Additional brushes are available for purchase if you’re looking for a bit more creative freedom.

    After many failed attempts, I came to find that the distorting tools: charcoal, geome, dotter, drips and silk are probably best used on backgrounds rather than people.

    repix app review iphone

    The Legacy tool was pretty much a bleach tool with a fancy name. it lightened and decolorized whichever part of the image I placed my finger on. I thought this would be great to use for highlighting the subject of my picture. I also added the rain drops effect, which would probably be my favorite of them all.

    repix app review frame

    A small section below the 11 brushes holds more options such as border, cropping, adjustments and filters. As with most cropping tools, the sizes were 100% customizable.  I didn't feel the need to crop my photo so I skipped on that.  Like the brushes, additional borders and frames are available to purchase. I found the free borders a little boring (square, simple square, rounded square, bulgy square). So, I went ahead bought the full border pack, only to find that Repix was holding out with shapes like sunburst, ripple and stamp.

    I went with a simple grey wooden border then increased the vibrance to finish off, and Voila! My masterpiece.

    repix app review final photo

    But the true test of any masterpiece is to see it in real life! Check out how it looks printed on Natural Gloss Finish..

    repix app custom wood photo print

    The wood print came out perfect, I was a bit nervous printing on wood with a wood grain in the photo already, but the effect was really cool.

    This brings me to the end of the Repix App Review. In my book, it merits a 2.5

    RATE The free app does a good job of delivering some pretty cool effects, while keeping a bit of change in your pocket. The interface was simple and straightforward and its finger-painting tools were fun and easy to use.  While I liked the ability to swipe specific parts of a photo to edit, a big letdown for me was that that none the featured tools had adjustment tabs to increase or decrease an effect or filter to my liking. I definitely would have found such tabs convenient because the preset filters looked extremely heavy to me-almost teetering on the side of overkill. I would probably play with this app for a couple of weeks but it’s most likely to get tossed as my storage gets full.


    For more information on Repix please visit: http://www.repix.it/

  • Minimalist Ballparks by S. Preston

    Spring is underway! We’ve just entered May, the weather is getting warmer, and the sun is staying out longer. All signs are pointing to one thing…...baseball season! Whether you wear Dodger blue or Cardinal red, this is the time to enjoy our national pastime however you prefer!

    One of the best parts about baseball is going to the ballpark. Each team in baseball has a noticeably distinguishable ballpark inside and out, so getting to go to ballparks is a treat everyone should experience! There's a magical feeling when you walk through the section tunnel and the ballpark opens up in front of you….making the experience of visiting new ballparks that more amazing!

    minimalist ballparks citi field

    Citi Field (Mets) by S. Preston

    Going to visit every ballpark, or even a few, will wind up costing you tens of thousands of dollars….so this may not be the most practical option for most baseball fans. Thankfully, you can catch a glimpse of each ballpark from wherever you can get online!

    Graphic artist and illustrator S. Preston has used his skills to create a glimpse of each of the 30 ballparks of baseball, with a little twist. Rather than create an image of the whole ballpark, Preston uses a minimalist approach, and only displays a certain aspect of the ballpark that makes it distinguishable from all of the others, leaving everything else out. For example, for Angel Stadium he displays the top of the big red A with the halo, for the Mets the big red apple in center field is shown, and for the Giants the kayakers outside of the right field wall are looking to catch a home run out of the park.

    minimalist ballparks angel stadium

    Angel Stadium by S. Preston

    minimalist ballparks At&t park

    AT&T Park (Giants) by S. Preston

    Preston’s minimalist ballpark series has gotten plenty attention from sports publications and journalists across the country, and this spotlight got his minimalist prints a display at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

    Minimalist Ballpark Art Print Display at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 29, 2014

    Photo by Ben Krause

    Instead of your average canvas, we got to print the series for the Target Field display on wood! We made the prints of every stadium the same size except for Target Field, which was much larger than the others to stand out.

    Here's the artist himself in front of his great work!

    Minimalist Ballpark Art Print Display at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 29, 2014

    Photo by Ben Krause

    minimalist ballparks mlb

    The display at Target Field looks amazing as his pieces came out great. These custom wood prints will definitely have fans guessing which ballpark they’re looking at!

  • Video Recap of Jeff Soto and Maxx242 Riverside Mural

    A recap of three crazy days in April filled with wind, rain, sun and spray paint.  Thank you Riverside natives, Jeff Soto and Maxx242 for making something so incredible in our hometown.

    Jeff took a quick break from painting for his solo exhibition, "Nightgardens" opening at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in June to tackle this huge wall in Riverside with his long time friend and co-hort Maxx242.  This wasn't the first time these two have graffiti together, a friendship that has span most of their lives from high school to illegal graffiti to fine art and now wall murals all over the world.  When we approached Jeff about finding a wall to paint his first thought was, I have got to have Maxx there too. It was the only way to do it and he was right.

    A huge thank you to Jordan Ahern for filming and documenting the whole journey.

    jeff soto and maxx242 riverside wall mural

    Jeff Soto and Maxx242 in front of the Riverside mural on the back side of Pixels Bar.

  • Chopping Block: Chris Ryniak

    Exploring the world of the unknown is something that has always intrigued me since childhood. Seeing all the different characters and creatures in cartoons really made my imagination consider all the types of beings that could be out there. Whether they are in our galaxy or not, I do think there could be other creatures out there that we have yet to encounter! Thankfully, I'm not alone, as our artist for today, Chris Ryniak, has taken this idea and created amazing pieces. Chris is an artist that creates critters in every format, bound to leave your imagination nothing short of amazed. Speaking with Chris, we got a chance to see how he keeps his ideas so imaginative.



    POW: Your art displays a great sense of ingenuity and exploration into unknown creatures. What are some of your biggest influences? How do you keep your imagination so broad when adding to such a large body of work?

    Chris: I'm lucky enough to have been born in the 1970's, so I was exposed to countless amazing creature-based movies, television shows and toys.  Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins, Fraggle Rock, Krull, Dune, Inhumanoids, Boglins, Labyrinth and  Dragonslayer, just to name a few.  I tend to look back to all of that stuff a lot because of how it affected me when I was young, although I get the same kind of feelings when I see some of the stuff that Guillermo Del Toro has done.

    Nature is a big influence on my creatures as well, which is a big help in adding variety to the characters.  There are SO many variations of plants, fish, birds, mammals and bugs on this planet, that just taking little bits from each of them really helps add something new.  I often just have something that I want to try - maybe it's as simple as a pose on a familiar character, or maybe it's a completely different body shape. It's fun to explore the possibilities.

    POW: Tell us about your morning scribbles collection. I personally look forward to seeing the newest creature in my IG feed every morning.  What prompted you to begin the morning scribbles? How long have they been waking fellow Instagram followers in the morning?

    Chris: I have been carrying a sketchbook since I was in grade school, but it wasn't until I was in college that I would fill them up on a regular basis.  I never really published the drawings online or social media until about my 20th sketchbook - before then, I would only show " finished" work.  At first I showed drawings from inside my sketchbooks on Instagram and I started getting a lot of requests from people wanting to buy them.  This prompted me to switch to loose paper, and since I was drawing every day anyway, I just decided to brand it and make it a habit!  Now I'm up to over 700 drawings, and it's pretty awesome to look back at that body of work.

    chris ryniak morning scribbles Morning Scribbles by Chris Ryniak

    POW: What has inspired you to transition from your early art career of mostly paintings to now mostly sculptures? Is this return to morning scribbles a sign of more paintings and doodlings to come? How does the creative process differ between 2D and 3D art and which would you say is more fun to create?

    Chris: I tried my hand at being a "serious" artist in the beginning of my career.  All of my paintings were really introspective and sort of lacking in joy and fun, which is contrary to who I am as a person.  I just kept trying to make the work that I thought would get me taken seriously, which burned me out.  At a certain point I was asked to customize a designer vinyl toy for a show in Detroit.  I applied paint to the toy in the same manner I would approach a canvas, and got a lot of attention for that first figure, which in turn got me invited to more shows doing more toys.  As time went on, I started adding sculptural elements to the toys, sometimes until I had almost obscured the original figure entirely. From there I was offered a few opportunities to sculpt my own original figures for Vinyl and resin production figures...the rest is history.

    I'm never going to stop drawing, and I think you will definitely see me go back to 2D a little more in the future.  I have a lot of things that I want to try still!

    The process differs in that when I plan a 3D piece I am always thinking of how to make a mold of what I am sculpting, which makes me design things a little differently to work within my own casting limitations.  You can do anything in 2D, so long as at can be reproduced in print form, so there is a lot more freedom.

    My drawings are the most fun thing for me to do, but I love sculpting!  It's funny that I never studied sculpture, or even really dabbled in it until I started with the toys.  I just kind of taught myself how to sculpt , and every year I'm expanding my knowledge of materials and techniques.  It's been a huge learning curve and I've made a TON of mistakes, but it's super fun.

    chris ryniak springwingsSpringwings by Chris Ryniak

    POW: You recently had a show at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque where all your pieces sold out!  Can you tell us more about the show? Are there more shows planned in the future?

    Chris: "Safe Harbor" was my fourth two-person show at Stranger Factory with my girlfriend Amanda Louise Spayd.  It's also our fourth sold out show, which is super humbling!  We wanted to explore what kind of adaptations our characters would have if they existed in or near the sea.  We kind of had a set of underwater as well as above-water pieces.  I also created my largest and most complex  cast resin pieces to date for this show, which was a huge challenge and a great learning experience.

    We just announced our fourth group show with Circus Posterus in Japan, scheduled for April 2016!

    chris ryniak safe harbor sculpture
    Safe Harbor by Chris Ryniak

    POW: For your latest release with us, you’ve titled your work “Sparkle Pony Magic" which is a fantastic name by the way and we can't wait to release it printed on wood.  I honestly can't say it with out it putting a smile on my face.   Can you tell us more about this creature and how she got her name?

    Chris: Sparkle Pony Magic is a hilarious anomaly that was inspired by a conversation I had with my 9 -year-old daughter.She was watching My Little Pony, and I asked if she liked that show. She said " Is it OK that I like that show?"  She was concerned that liking a girly show for little kids would tarnish her otherwise tough-tomboy persona.   I had to tell her what I want to tell EVERYONE:  It's okay to like everything that you want to like! It's okay to be a little of everything.

    I wanted to make a character that would be an otherwise grotesque slug-monster if not for its luxurious mane.  Something that said that I was okay with making something that wasn't tough, or cool; something that wasn't afraid to be what it was: a magnificently weird and complicated creature, just like you and me.

    chris ryniak sparkle pony magic

    Sparkle Pony Magic by Chris Ryniak

    POW: Despite all of your work being extremely detail-oriented, which one of your pieces would you say was the hardest to create and why?

    Chris: I just finished a sculpture for my last show called the "Clawmper".  He is a big beefy crab what is made up of 9 different cast resin pieces.  Figuring out the engineering for that one was far beyond anything I had ever done, and I had no idea if it would work.  I'm  really proud of how it came out, and proud that I could figure out something so complex.  I look forward to the next challenge now!


    For more information on Chris Ryniak please visit: http://chrisryniak.blogspot.com/

  • Coachella X Sustainable Wood Signs

    If you’ve attended the wild, music-filled, goodness that is Coachella, while you weren’t raging and raving, you might have noticed the giant bottle eating monster, Recylcosaurus Rex or TRASHed Recycling.

    Coachella Global Inhertance Trashed wood sign

    That’s because the annual music festival is taking full advantage of the act to reduce reuse and recycle. This year, they took their sustainability efforts one big step further and redesigned a lot of their signage. Many signs were completely redone on natural grain wood thru-out the venue. This is a great a move because now, their eco-friendly signs can now be reused, year after year

    Coachella Terrace entrance wood sign

    Those giant set times that we all gaze at anticipating our favorite artists? Completely redone, printed on wood, and posted at each tent.

    art of coachella wood sign

    Each food vendor sign was made with laser cut out wood letters that will be reused for years to come!

    Coachella food vendor wood signs

    Large scale maps around the venue were also printed on wood pieces.

    Coachella site map wood print

    And so was the Coachella boutique sign, which was printed on natural grain wood.


    As much as they try to reuse all the wood signage a few pieces, like set times and site maps, have served their purpose and cannot be reused.  Well not as a site map or set time, these wood prints are given a new purpose.  They become large wood planters for the Coachella next year!


    Coachella Sahara Tent Wood sign

    Wood, wood, and more wood! Each one of these giant wood prints were designed, custom-made, and shipped out from right here in our good ol' 100% solar powered facility.

    Coachella Rose Garden Wood entrance sign

    2010 Coachella Show Poster wood print

    Coachella 2009 show poster wood print

  • App Review: Aviary


    We’ve all experienced “Apptimidation” at some point. Apptimidation? Yes, friends, apptimiation. That ever-so-slight feeling of uneasiness or frustration you get when realizing that the app you just downloaded is somewhat out of your handling ability. The bells and whistles are disrespectfully complex, the features are utterly confusing and you’re left feeling...incompetent. Ok maybe that's a bit dramatic but the app I'll be reviewing today seems to be totally free from any intimidating factors. Two words to describe the app's interface: smooth and simple. Let’s check out how the photo editing app, Aviary works.

    When you first download the app, it opens automatically with the option of capturing a picture or grabbing one from your photo stream. As usual, I scrolled a bit through my stream for pictures and this time, I found a photo I took of a friend! Here's what we'll be working on.

    aviary photo editor app 3

    Aviary smoothly delivers your basic editing options such as One-tap auto enhance, color balance, cropping and alignment tools, and Sharpen/Blur. Auto enhance is pretty innovative in that it has one tap presets for effects such as Hi-Def and night. It’s even got one tap presets for Food for all the foodie instagramers. Pretty cool! To me, the enhancers were a little on the heavy handed side so I opted out of using them. Nevertheless, here’s the portrait effect applied for preview purposes.

    aviary photo editor enhance

    The app also provides frames for you to add. Some clean and modern some grungy and vintage. Now, I’m not much of a frames fanatic but just for demonstration purposes, lets slap on the grit frame.

    aviary photo editor frames grit

    And now, for the main course, the meat of this interview, we have the Filters. The tab offers a large mixture of black and white, sepia and vintage filters. These filters did a decent job in making my photo resemble a vintage print. While Aviary has 12 free filters available, what the app has in numbers, it falls a bit short in quality. Like the one tap auto enhancers, the filters could stand to be a bit more sophisticated. They are however, totally adjustable to what you see fit.

    aviary photo editor effects haas

    aviary photo editor effects Cruz

    Where this app gets much more creative is in its supplies tab which rests at the beginning of each creative feature such as Effects, Frames, Overlays and Stickers. In this tab, there a plethora of creative features for you to download free with an adobe membership or buy for about 99 cents a pop! I decided to download the Wanderlust package which gave me 7 more filters to choose from. This clean natural filter was right up my alley so I went with it.

    aviary photo editor app effects

    New filter in hand, I moved on to the Overlays tab to see what the tab had to offer. This creative feature gets right to the point by fitting your image into a square composition. In overlays, you’ve got your basic overlay shapes like circle, Hexagon, Square etc. Again if you’re looking for a bit more creative freedom you can head over to supplies tab for more overlays to add to your photo. I kind of went on a shopping spree here. While they may not be suitable for this specific picture a lot of the overlays were pretty neat. So I'll be keeping them for more landscape pictures.

    aviary photo editor app overlays polkadots


    aviary photo editor app overlays

    One thing that sets Aviary a step ahead of the other basic photo editing apps is the array of cosmetic tools. Wanting that million-dollar smile? You can brighten it up with the tooth-whitening tool. You can also take care of red eye problems, and fix up pesky zits with the blemish tool. While these tools get the job done, you probably shouldn’t expect Photoshop CS6 Quality retouching. The tooth-whitening tool, however, did a great job of brightening the model’s smile without giving of off a glow in the dark grin. Check out those pearly whites!

    aviary photo editor app picture

    I dabbled around a bit more with a few other features I generally might not need but found neat! The Draw tool was a nice touch, having a wide array off colors and brush sizes to choose from. I opted for a variation of both to show off my UH-mazing doodling skills.

    aviary photo editor app doodle

    The stickers tool was pretty fun to play with as well. You’ve got a bunch of options to choose from here. Crazy hats, silly masks and loads more.

    aviary photo editor app

    I think I might have gotten a bit carried away so I decided to tone things down and take it back to my wanderlust filter, tweaked the warmth and color tool a bit, added a downloaded frame, "Delicato," and voila! a masterpiece!

    aviary app photo final

    Once your project's complete, you can share the image to mediums like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or have it printed on wood like I have here. Here's the end result printed on natural gloss finish!

    Aviary photo editor app photo on wood

    It’s easy to see why Aviary appeals to so many, its super user friendly and has a wide array of creative options. It’s simple without being boring and complex without being confusing. So, if you’ve out-grown simpler photo editing apps- brighten, saturate, add text but aren’t quite ready to graduate into professional-level functions, Aviary would be a great app for you. The cosmetics tools definitely set it apart from a number of its competitors. One thing I would have like to see is more sophisticated filters. This app however ran smoothly with no problems with bugs or crashes. With that being said I’d give this app three logs!



    For more information on Aviary, please visit: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-editor-by-aviary/

  • Chopping Block: Buffy Kaufman

    As a kid, I had knack for painting on EVERYTHING. Paper, walls, myself, my little sister's face, you name it, it was my canvas. Nothing was safe from my grubby finger-paint covered hands. I realize now that my poor parents didn’t know what to do with my excess “creative energy.” While researching the work of today's artist, Buffy Kaufman, I was happy to see an artist who not only creates captivating artwork, but has established a place for kids with just as much creative energy to express themselves freely. The self-taught Californian artist uses intriguing color choices and delicate technique to create endearing pieces that draw you in. Intrigued by her talent for the arts and interest in cultivating the same in children, I talked a bit with Buffy and learned a lot about the drive behind her works of art.

    Buffy Kaufman


    POW: You've just launched your portfolio on our website. Out of all the artworks you’re constantly creating, how do you know which pieces are the exact ones you want featured?

    Kaufman: The featured pieces are ones that have gotten a response from the audience and taken on a life of their own. Many people reach out explaining a childhood memory associated with the artwork, or a memorial aspect, reminding them of a lost loved one, or a more generalized response such as feeling happy when they view the artwork.

    Trick or Treat by Buffy Kaufman

    Trick or Treat by Buffy Kaufman

    POW: You mentioned that you felt a call to action a few years back and began focusing on your art. Could you tell us a bit about this jolt of inspiration? How were things before it and how would you say your life has changed since then?

    Kaufman: In prayer I felt a call to paint the Lord. The entire painting was done in one sitting, wet paint onto wet paper. I was amazed how so much of His image fell into place without me intending it to. I truly believe The Lord guided my hand on this painting and it was such a blessing to witness it all come together. In that moment I felt a pulling at my soul that I should share my art with the world, and give God all the glory for my artwork. This painting taught me the difference between painting in my own strength and painting in prayer. I had a calling and it is so hard to put into words. My life changed forever that day. I found a peace and joy in my art, it is my ministry, my refuge.

    wonder sense by buffy kaufman

    Wonder Sense by Buffy Kaufman

    POW:  I read in your art story that you also have an interest in creative writing. Do the two activities ever cross paths for certain projects?

    Kaufman: Yes, I enjoy creating back stories for the illustrations I prepare for the children. I am currently working on my first book, upon completion of the artwork I will embark on embellishing it with words. My hope is the artwork will be the focus and the story telling to be secondary. I also enjoy illustrating for album covers and other peoples books. I enjoy collaborating with other creatives and trying to bring their vision to fruition.

    The Desolate King by Buffy Kaufman

    The Desolate King by Buffy Kaufman

    POW:  Telling by the programs on your website such as Art Club, there’s a lot of emphasis on encouraging children to create and keep creating. What ignited your interest to start up these programs?

    Kaufman: I loved art as a kid and it was my dream to pursue it, but life was very complicated and took some very hard turns. Unfortunately, I took a downward spiral in my teenage years. I became more and more depressed and my drawings became my escape. Because of this, I was encouraged to take art therapy with a man named Thomas. Thomas made a lasting impression on me and planted a seed of purpose.  He helped me realize that my issues and problems were not my identity. I was a prodigal and the world nearly swallowed me, but by the grace of God and the seeds planted at an early age I found my way and carried on. I believe in paying it forward, I share my art with at risk youth in the community and Art Club as a way of planting that seed of creativity in these kids as well. Art can be a refuge, a safe place, a reminder of the good inside of us. Life can strip us of so much, but knowing that we are loved and believed in, that can carry you through dark times. I pray that I can inspire children to express themselves through art and, like Thomas, plant a seed of purpose for them that they can pull on from years to come.

    Brownie by Buffy Kaufman

    Brownie by Buffy Kaufman

    POW:  One thing I found extremely unique while checking out the programs was the mentorship. For children who don’t simply “color inside the lines,” I think it’s awesome to identify an inclination for the arts at an early age and tap into it. What would you say a successful mentorship would entail?

    Kaufman: In 2009, while serving in the community as a child mentor, I began sketching for a girl named Abby. Art bridged a gap between Abby and I. It was a way for her to express herself. It gave her a voice. I believe it is not so much what you say or teach as how much you listen and lead by example. Children can sense when you care and when you are genuine. Art mentoring is a great way to pass on information and lessons you have learned. For example, you can save an up and coming artist a lot of time and effort by helping them sort out the basics of getting started, and setting up good work habits early on. But the same can be said in life lessons, creating a trusting relationship is key.
    Foxhole by Buffy Kaufman

    Foxhole by Buffy Kaufman

    POW:  Theo the Bear makes pretty frequent appearances on your Instagram page. How was he born into existence? Does the loveable character have a bit of a background story?

    Kaufman: Floating down the river with my husband, laying in the sun, listening to country music we dreamt up the idea to tell a good ole fashioned country love story. We thought teddy bears would be a cute and creative way to keep the love story sweet. We dreamt up Theo as a teddy bear that came to life in my art studio. He, Theo, was so lonely he prayed for a country girl to love. While waiting on the Lord, he met Violet and realized that timing is everything. Each illustration tells another part of their love story. My hope is to one day publish this story, but just like the moral of the story, “Timing is everything” so I pray and wait on the Lord.

    frozen by buffy kaufman

    Frozen by Buffy Kaufman

    POW:  Undoubtedly, many of your students are constantly learning from you. But in turn, is there anything you’ve learned from your students that you found interesting?

    Kaufman: To follow your dreams. Mine had been shelved too long. Life was busy, I had kids to raise, a 9-5 job and bills to pay. But thanks to these children I was inspired to reunite with the joy I had as a kid through art. These children constantly push me, encourage me, and inquire of me about my art and what I am doing with it. Their questions are limitless and have a no-holds-barred attitude, which I love. Their belief in me is outstanding and it pushes me past my own limits to reach out higher & farther than I would ever have done on my own. There is no way to quantify what they have taught me over the years, it is endless. Out of the mouth of babes come pure words, honest words, if only more people would bend down and listen.


    For more information on Buffy Kaufman, please visit: http://www.buffykaufmanart.com/

  • Jeff Soto X Maxx242 Riverside Mural

    Viewing art in the city is something that can be done almost anywhere….but viewing art ON the city? Not quite! Sponsoring this event, we sought to bring a mural to our hometown of Riverside, CA, something that we hope to see more of again and again!

    Soto X Maxx242 MuralAll photos courtesy of Jordan Ahern

    Before the fun could begin, we had to enlist the help of our local government to get the proper approval and documentation. Working hand-in-hand with the mayor of Riverside as well as the mayor’s staff (thanks Margie!), we were able to get the proper permits needed and a location to for Jeff and Maxx.

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 1

    And now for the fun stuff!  Jeff Soto and his longtime friend and cohort, Maxx242, came ready to paint and their result was spectacular. These two have been doing graffiti together since high school and now they are doing murals all over the world in cities such as Berlin and Luxembourg. Other Soto murals can be found across the country and the world, cities include LA, Miami, Oakland, France and many others.

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 2

    Maxx242 took the left half and Jeff Soto took the right.

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 6

    The wall of the mural is behind Pixels Bar in Riverside on University and Lemon Ave, right in the heart of Downtown Riverside!

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 5

    It took these guys 3 long days but these two made a masterpiece. Thank you Jeff and Maxx as well as the City of Riverside and everyone else who helped! We couldn't be happier with the result!

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 4

    Soto X Maxx242 Mural 10All photos courtesy of Jordan Ahern 

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