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Monthly Archives: February 2014

  • CRYSTAL WATERFALL IS NOW LIVE!

    TARA_MAIL

    Ever been so excited about something that you just can't stop talking about it!? Well, that's exactly how we feel about our newest timed-released: The Crystal Waterfall by Tara McPherson!

    On sale through the week and ending on Friday, February 28th at 12:00am, this gorgeous crystal blue half-inch thick wood print stands at a monolithic 15" x 25" and is ready to hang right out of the box!

    CW1

    What a babe! I've been staring at this print for so long I can still see it when I close my eyes! Retailing at $175, kiss that new Xbox One goodbye and get something that will actually impress the girl you like when she finally agrees to come visit. (A man can dream, can't he?)

    Time is running out, get yours today!

    CW2

  • IPAD APP REVIEW: PAPER by 53

    PAPER_53

    So far we've primarily reviewed photo apps for the iPhone, but if you've browsed our website, then you know we also sell fine art prints as well. I've noticed that more traditional artists struggle when trying to make the transition from a finished painting/drawing into a digital image. Most of the time the image is scanned into a computer, and if you're really old fashioned, sometimes it's photographed (hence the printing term "camera-ready art").

    Sure you can create an illustration entirely in Illustrator (or Photoshop if you're a sadist), but if you're more familiar with pens, pencils, and paint brushes, trading them in for a mouse and a keyboard forces you to confront a soul crushing learning curve.

    That's what I love about Paper, it's perfect for artists who want to dip their toe into the ocean of digital illustration. It's even fun for those more well versed with creating vector based illustrations (like myself). Paper includes all the fun of drawing with pencils, pens, markers, and paint brushes just minus all the mess. Using your iPad as a canvas, Paper is basically a digital sketchbook.

    When you open the app you notice a series of sketchbooks. The first one reads like a "How To" displaying all the wonderful possibilities this app can offer. The rest are blank. Paper allows you to name each sketchbook, and customize the cover with an image from your iPad's camera roll.

    PAPER7

    As you can see, I've barely opened the app and things have already started to get fancy! After creating a Prints On Wood notebook, it's time for us to test this sucker out.

    PAPER8_5

    Since I haven't drawn anything yet, my POW notebook is blank, but that's about to change very quickly. The base app is free, but only allows you to use 2 tools at the start, a fountain pen and a eraser. Paper offers several add-on's such as a color-mixer, pens, pencils, and paint brushes you can unlock at $2 bucks a pop.

    PAPER9

    Even though I'm normally turned-off by pay features in an app, Paper had so much promise I gladly handed over my money to unlock these features. All-in-all unlocking every feature rounds out to about $8. I know that might sound a bit steep, but once you see all the fun there is to be had by unlocking these tools, it feels like a small price to pay for such a dynamic app.

    For this review, I'm going to draw a picture of myself. I'm going to start with the Pencil Tool and select a very light grey color to sketch out a rough draft of my ugly mug.

    PAPER1

    Unfortunately, I left my stylus at home the day of this review, so I had to use my fat finger. I felt that I was at a disadvantage getting started, but I soon realized that the controls are incredibly smooth and responsive. The only problem I experienced was having an incredibly sore finger/hand after a few minutes, so I definitely recommend using a stylus.

    Now after getting the basic outline of my abnormally large skull drafted out. I selected the Outline Marker to sketch a fat black line around my fat head.

    PAPER2

    After using the Outline Marker, I used the Fountain Pen to illustrate all the unflattering details in my drawing.

    PAPER3

    After getting the screen of my iPad nice and smeary with all the wild hairs I drew on my homeless sailor beard and skull bush, I decided it's time to color this bad boy in.

    PAPER4

    Although I was unable to capture it, Paper has a handy Undo/Redo tool that involves placing two fingers on the screen and swiping them in a counter clock wise motion to Undo unwanted actions. If you're like my brother (who's master of the Over-Rewind technique when watching movies), rotate your two fingers in a clockwise fashion to cue up your drawing to Redo anything you might have undone accidentally.

    Now lets take a look at my finished illustration after using the Watercolor Brush and Color-Mixer.

    PAPER5

    Wow... now I know how many a disappointed girl felt. It's like you can almost smell the Axe Deodorant!

    PAPER8

    Paper allows you to share your final images on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, in addition to saving the image on your iPad or sending it in an e-mail. The only downside (if you want to call it that) is that Paper's final images aren't incredibly hi-rez,. The largest wood print you're going to be able to print at is about 8x10.

    Speaking of, lets take a look at the final image in glorious full color on Bright White.

    PAPER6Yeah, I know, I forgot to draw the double chin and about +40 lbs., but I'm working with an iPad mini here, so give me a break!

    So how did Paper stack up?

    RATING

    Although the subject material was a tad... uh.... unconventional, Paper was an amazing app! The controls are perfect. There were little details that made every penny spent on each tool completely worth it. The Watercolor Brush would overlap naturally if you took your finger off the iPad and put it back to paint again, the Pencil Tool would draw a squiggly granite line, and the Fountain Pen would draw a thin line with a little swipe, and thicker, tapered line with longer swipes. Every tool available worked like it's real life counterpart.

    When I come home from work, I like to unwind with some doodles to get all the silly ideas out of my head at the end of the day, and Paper makes me watch the clock anticipating that moment ever since I've downloaded it. In conclusion, Paper is a must have for anyone who can turn a sharpened pencil and a sheet of paper into hours of fun.

    For more information on Paper, please visit: http://www.fiftythree.com/paper

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: GIULIO IURISSEVICH

    Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael.

    If you were born in the 80s, then those names might sound familiar to you. Granted we might not immediately associate them with the famous Italian artists that inspired these namesakes, but if there was a fifth Ninja Turtle, they would've been named Giulio.

    This week we talked to Italian fashion artist Giulio Iurissevich. A man with a head of hair so gorgeous, he makes Jean Claude Van Damme look like Billy Ray Cyrus. Oh, yeah.... we also asked him a couple of questions too.

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    hot_stuffPOW: Your artwork is very chaotic and layered. When creating this style of imagery, does it help to have a thought process just as disorderly?

    GIULIO: That's right, starting from the assumption that everyone's mind is disorder, with some exceptions, sometimes we think many things together, we associate one thing to another and we get lost in the fog: we speak with a person and think about what we will do later, wash the dishes and think about when we were 8 years old and went to the sea, and then we think about what we will do next summer... and so 'on... the mind takes us away... and life becomes chaotic, confused, often a repetition mechanical things... losing the beauty that generates all this .. that is the the source from which everything comes out, where there is silence and there is no confusion. My thinking is messy until I anchored in what I do... and all becomes silent. Inside, and I become what I do, losing myself in what I'm doing.

    GI_1MORFAE by Giulio Iurissevich

    POW: I feel that if we dissected your illustrations, each individual element would be strong enough to stand alone as it's own art piece. Why are you inspired to put so much into each image?

    GIULIO: I think it represents the set of stories, of things, the patchwork of life, of people, of animals, of all the elements, which by themselves have a certain sense, their beauty, but they are always functioning at rest, and contextualized create new beauty, new meanings. Like the waves of the sea, which of course have their own sense alone, but are always part something more , that it has its own beauty, its own dynamic, so I think that alone we are no much more interesting. and all the waves of the sea are always part of something bigger.

    GI_2

    ENVY by Giulio Iurissevich

    POW: Do all of the combined elements in your artwork tell a story as a whole, or are they selected purely for aesthetic purposes?

    GIULIO: Depends, everything seems to randomly assembled but nothing is random, as in life.

    GI_3PN KILLS ME  by Giulio Iurissevich

    POW: How did your artwork evolve over the years to reach your current style of mixing different images and mediums? Did you begin with one specific approach and then add to that over time?

    GIULIO: My work has changed in a way it's true... has evolved from simple, clean lines to become this too. But I'm this and I'm that, and more and more without labels or fences... looking to meet me in my various aspects, unpretentious ...with different styles, identities, names.

    GI_4MONKEY LISA by Giulio Iurissevich

    POW: Through your experiences, have you noticed any great distinctions between the Italian and American art scene? Is one group more receptive to your work than others?

    GIULIO: I do not want to be critical with Italy, for me it is a country folded back on itself, who wants to have everything but has nothing to give. Italians always give the best of them out of Italy, because they are valued. Because Italians are special out of Italy. This is all very sad to say, but it is a cultural paradigm. American art scene is a scene, Italy has not a scene today, has a group of artistic fragments who works outside.

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    Thank you Giulio... fino alla prossima volta il mio amico!

    For more information on Giulio Iurissevich, please visit his website: www.giulioiurissevich.com

  • APP REVIEW: PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS

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    Photoshop... a word so deeply intertwined with photo manipulation, it's become a verb describing the action of taking someone's face and slapping it onto the body of an Animal, a Sumo Wrestler, or Boba Fett. Sure, there's several different programs that offer similar features, but none have the same brand recognition and loyalty that Adobe commands with Photoshop. (Probably has something to do with the fact that "Photoshopped" rolls of your tongue a lot smoother than "Paint-Shop-Pro'd")

    Adobe takes some of the more popular features from Photoshop and condenses them into an easy to use format with PS Express. Much like Photos and Tadaa, PS Express focuses on the ability to improve upon photos taken with your iPhone.

    You begin with uploading the photograph you'd like to enhance. You can take a picture to modify, upload one from your camera roll, or if you have an Adobe Revel account (cloud server) you can pull an image from there.

    ps1

    For this review I'm going to use an adorable photograph of my fuzzy little yorkie, Nikita, that I snapped with my iPhone a few months ago.

    NIKK

    As you can see, the overall image looks a bit grey while Nikki's features are dark and hard to distinguish. One aspect that seemed to be more prominent in PS Express than the other apps I've reviewed so far is that although a free app, PS Express offers "Premium" features at a cost.

    ps2

    How much? I'm not sure exactly, they're just branded with a dollar sign in the top right hand corner. After selecting a Premium Look filter and clicking on the cart icon, I thought it would itemize the cost of the filter. Nope, just a prompt informing me that I would have to purchase a Premium Looks Pack. (Yuck.)

    ps3

    This turned me off a bit. Part of me wanted to explore further and see how much these Premium Looks would cost, but I was worried that I would accidentally insta-purchase some unnecessary effects for more money than I'd like to spend (in this case: $0). If I may rant for a bit, this seems to be a recurring issue with freemium apps these days. They're like the lazy friend who only comes out of hiding when they need something. They call you up, ask you to hang out, feign interest, and then when you guys meet... BOOM, they hit you up for cash.

    After this, I decided to stick to the basics and only work with what was offered for free. Panhandling aside, PS Express seems to combine the best of both when compared to Photos/Tadaa in terms of photo editing, with similar easy to use tools.

    ps4

    Although some of the names are slightly different, all the standard image editing tools are there: Cropping, Filters, Color Levels, Red-Eye Removal, & Frames.

    I noticed that some of these tools have an Auto feature in addition to the sliding control. I usually start out by selecting auto. If i'm unsatisfied with the auto-effect, I just turn it off and try my hand at adjusting the same effect with the sliding control. It should be noted that certain sliders feature a handy numerical value display when adjusting your image.

    ps5

    Since I'm the type of person that likes to scribble down little notes when playing with a picture in Photoshop (such as writing down the values of colors and effects when adjusting both), I found the number display to be a novel addition.

    One interesting feature that PS Express offers is the ability to order prints of your image at...Walgreens?

    ps6

    If you're planning to pick up your Grandma's prescription and some Gold Bond at the same time, I guess that's cool. The only caveat is that it seems prints are only limited to the constrained sizes offered with the crop tool, meaning you can only print standard image sizes (4x6, 5x7, 8x10), nothing custom.

    Now for the before and after...

    niki_side

    As you can see, I adjusted the exposure and contrast levels of my image so that Nikki's features were more visible, as well as enhancing the vibrancy of the colors. By sharpening the image, I was also able to highlight the detail of her face and hair. The tools featured in PS Express allow you to get a little more crazy than what you see here, but I wanted to make a nice print that I could give to my Mom, so I kept it simple.

    Sow how does my final image of Nikita look printed on wood?

    cutie

    What a little cutie! Given the spectrum of rich colors in Nikki's fur and the light/neutral colors of the background, I selected the Natural Gloss finish for this wood print. This allows the grain of the wood to shine through the background subtly, giving an added layer of depth. The reflective gloss surface harnesses the light, making the darker colors appear to be more vibrant. The combination of the two create a faux holographic effect, which is completely cool with me. ;)

    So how does PS Express stack up in terms of form and function?

    RATE

    While offering a slightly more in-depth approach to adjusting your image, the tools featured in PS Express seemed to be on par with Tadaa. At times I would make mental notes to compare and contrast against both apps, and PS Express felt a bit more constrained out of the two applications. While I was editing my image I found myself longing for a feature similar to Tadaa's masking tool, which would allow me more control over my photo editing. Also, the pay features felt like cheap ploy just to get me to spend my money. The worst part was that the Premium features weren't any more impressive than the ones offered for free.

    Granted PS Express allowed me to edit my image to create a wonderful wood print, considering the weight that the name Adobe carries, I was expecting something a little more dynamic.

    For more information on Photoshop Express, please visit: http://www.photoshop.com/products/photoshopexpress

  • TIMED-RELEASE: THE CRYSTAL WATERFALL BY TARA MCPHERSON

    TARA_MAIL

    Prints on Wood is super excited to introduce the new Tara McPherson print, The Crystal Waterfall, from her 3rd solo show at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York entitled: Wandering Luminations.

    CW1

    We're offering this large 15"x 25" print on our 1/2" birch wood canvas, printed with our bright white finish.  Keep in mind that all of our wood prints are ready to hang straight out of the box. No frames. No wires. All you need is a nail and hammer, and you're good to go.

    CW2

    This timed-release print retails at $175 and goes on sale Monday, February 24th at noon; continues through the week, ending on Friday, February 28th at midnight. So make sure to mark your calendars, and don't miss out on this stunning work of art.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: TARA MCPHERSON

    With the up and coming timed-release of The Crystal Waterfall by Tara McPherson at Prints On Wood, we thought it would be a good idea to get to know her a little bit better since she's decided to join our little family.

    This week we got the chance to speak with Tara over the phone. She was able to share some incredibly interesting and helpful information about herself... most importantly, how to say her name correctly. (Pronounced: t AA - r uh)

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    TMC_1

    POW: So the first thing that I noticed about your art is that it's very character based. Let's say that all of your artwork embodied a single living person. If that person suddenly went missing, how would you describe them to a police sketch artist?

    TARA: Well in regards to my newest painting, I would say they're going to be glowing. Luminous. They're going to be radiating light. They're going to have mists of water surrounding them, and pink hair.

    TMC_2Wandering Luminations by Tara McPherson

    POW: Your body of illustrated work contains a lot of concert posters, which works really well with your style. If you had to do the same for movie posters, what are some films (be it past or present) you would have liked to have worked on?

    TARA: The Goonies, Sleeping Beauty, and Donnie Darko.

    POW: Was there anything in particular about those films, or are those selections based on personal preference / sentiment?

    TARA: They're just fun movies. Some of my favorites.

    TMC_3Lost Constellations by Tara McPherson

    POW: Your artwork seems to be very tattoo-friendly. Is this a conscious part of your design process when working on a new illustration, as in someone could very well run out and get a tattoo of this tomorrow?

    TARA: No. A nice aspect of the style and the way I do my work is that it does lend itself to tattooing. I don't do it on purpose, I think it's more of my line quality because of my training. The way that I approach my drawings is to make very clean lines, and maybe because of my own interest in getting tattoos. I also interned on Futurama, and I feel that I absorbed a lot with the way that they do the line work for the characters. Making it clean and easy to color worked well and resonated with me, so it just works well for that line work to become a tattoo, which is awesome.

    POW: Do you have any interesting stories related to fans getting ink based off your art?

    TARA: No, usually people just e-mail me and ask me, but nothing really super interesting.

    POW: Really? Nothing horrifying?

    TARA: No, not really. Sometimes I get sent the photos which are so awesome, there are definitely some crazy looking ones, but it's always so neat to see them.

    tattTara posing with fan Potatoknish, and his saucy new tattoo. SDCC 2010

    POW: You've really embraced utilizing your artwork on a vast array of modern mediums such as posters, toys, t-shirts, comic books and soon you'll be releasing a wood print with us, which adds to that list. Is there any field you haven't worked in yet that you would like to use your art on? Such as an iPhone game, or maybe a children's book perhaps?

    TARA: Yeah, I mean there's always going to be things out there that would interest me that I haven't done. I definitely would love to do a children's book someday. There is a lot of artists doing murals and that's something that I've never done, like painted on a huge wall with one of those things, what are they called? Cherry-pickers?

    POW: You mean a hydraulic lift?

    TARA: Yeah, a lift. Working on that scale would be a really neat challenge, so I hope to do that at some point. Doing some kind of animation would be really cool too. The thing that I find with doing those large projects (like a children's book) is that it's so hard to budget the time for that because there's so many other amazing opportunities that pop up, and those projects take so long that it's hard to clear the time for that. So I do hope that happens eventually.

    TARA_TOYSGamma Mutant Space Friends figure series by Tara McPherson / Kidrobot

    POW: Speaking of your upcoming timed release with Prints On Wood, would you mind telling us a little bit more about The Crystal Waterfall?

    TARA: I think a lot of my work kind of explores the themes of water and females in nature, and working with elements. So the water theme is something that I've been exploring and has evolved for many years with my work. My most recent body of work that this piece comes from is exploring these characters that have evolved and grown in darkness. Like the deep-ocean, space, caves, and how these bio-luminescent creatures are so fascinating to me that evolve with lack of light, but create their own light. There's this lack of pigmentation, but they glow with these gorgeous beautiful colors. So theres this girl who's kind of embodies those characteristics of the females that I was trying to explore with this work, like glowworms and bioluminescent waters.

    TMC_4The Crystal Waterfall by Tara McPherson

    POW: What was it about this piece in particular that you felt would make for an awesome wood print?

    TARA: Well, I wanted to use it for this medium because I feel like it's a bold striking image, and I really love it. I think it will be a really good piece to experiment with in this new venture, to try the print on wood. I want it to be a really beautiful image, and this works perfect for it.

    POW: Lastly, is there anything on the horizon for your fans to keep an eyes out for? Will you have a booth again this summer at San Diego Comic-Con?

    TARA: Yes. I will be at San Diego Comic-Con and I'm starting to work on my next art show, which will be in the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in August, which is the next week after Comic-Con. So I'll be going straight up from San Diego to Los Angeles for my art show.

    TMC_5Tara flanked by two very, uh... "interested" fans at the Darkhorse Booth. SDCC 2010

    POW: Is there a certain theme for that show? Is it just you, or will it be a group art show with different Artists?

    TARA: Yeah, it's a two-woman show. Audrey Kawasaki and myself.

    tm_akTara, Audrey, and what appears to be a tiny adorable human. (Baby Ronan)

    POW: Awesome. Well, thanks for your time Tara.

    TARA: Cool. Thank you.

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    The Crystal Waterfall will be offered as a 5-day timed release starting Monday, February 24th at 12:00pm, and continues through the week ending on Friday, February 28th, at midnight.

    For more information on Tara, you can visit her website at: http://www.taramcpherson.com

  • Style Rooted In Sustainability

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    Sounds pretty catchy, eh? Well, we're glad you like it. It's Prints On Wood's slogan. Sure it sounds great rolling off your tongue, but what exactly does that mean? We get bombarded by meaningless commercialism daily through every conceivable form of media, and we've learned to ignore it completely.

    Why is that?  That's because if you sit down and actually think about it, most slogans are painfully inaccurate.  Which brings us back to my original question: What does "Style Rooted in Sustainability" actually mean?

    Well, we started this company so our friends would have a new and exciting way to display their favorite memories, in addition to pairing up with some of the most talented Artists & Photographers around the world, allowing us to create elegant eye-catching wood prints... hence the Style.

    We realized we wanted to operate our business in such a way that didn't encroach on the planet's natural resources, especially if we're dealing exclusively in wood products. This inspired us to not only plant thousands of brand new trees, but to join forces with Cuipo in preserving the Earth's already existing Rainforests, reinforcing our already insane level of commitment to the World's natural ecosystems... hence the Rooted.

    Finally, we wanted to power our business with a renewable source of energy that wouldn't have any adverse effects on the Earth's atmosphere on both a local and global level. Five years ago we had our first set of solar panels installed onto the roof of our office building and workshop.  It was a set of one hundred 185 watt solar panels, affording us the honorable distinction of being the very first rebated solar energy project in Riverside, CA. This drastically cut our carbon footprint in half, as well as our utility expenses, allowing Prints On Wood to offer an affordable eco-friendly product.

    s1

    A very saucy Mick Jagger once said: "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." (which we can only hope was emphasized when he put his hands on his hips, flapped his arms like a rooster, while pouting his lips and strutting out of the room.)  Which is exactly how we felt about adding extra solar panels to our room when given the option (in addition to feeling very saucy).  In 2013 we added over a hundred more solar panels.  This time they were more powerful coming in at a whopping 290 watts, which now entirely powers Prints on Wood with 100% green solar energy... hence the Sustainability.

    So to answer the question, what does "Style Rooted in Sustainability" really mean?

    It means we actually care about what we do.

  • IPHONE APP REVIEW: TADAA SLR

    tadaa

    Last week we reviewed the Photos APP that comes standard with every iPhone, which is a great tool for little tweaks you might want to preform on any photo you took with your phone, but for those of you who want to take it a step further, without making your brain hurt, Tadaa does a great job.

    Tadaa allows you to upload an existing photo on your phone or take one in real time. For this demo I grabbed a spooky toy from my desk and took a picture of it before opening the Tadaa App.

    TD2

    As you can see, this picture is kind of "meh," the colors are a bit dead and the lighting sucks. Let's upload this photo into Tadaa and see what we can do.

    TD3

    The user interface looks pretty clean, which is a plus. Anytime I download a new app and the UI looks like a visual mess with crap everywhere I just delete it and forget about it. Tadaa's interface puts me at ease because it looks like something I could easily master with a bit of practice.

    Before we go into each feature, it should be noted all the tools contained in Tadaa features easy to use sliding controls.  The first tool, Adjustments, allows you to enhance the brightness / contrast / saturation of your image. HD Clarity (the 2nd tool) allows you to adjust the sharpness / shadows of your image simultaneously.

    TD4

    One unique feature that Tadaa boasts is a Masking tool. This allows you to enhance the focal point of your image by coloring in the desired area with your finger. It also has an auto-detect feature for the edges of your selection, for those without a steady hand.  Using the pinching technique, I turned off the auto-detect feature and colored in the space of my skull.

    TD5

    I rotated my phone to get into the details of my image (nice and deep like) and the screen didn't rotate which is cool.

    TD6

    Now that I have my desired area masked out, I tap the checkmark in the corner of the screen and access the HD Tilt-Shift tool (middle), which allows me to blur the areas outside of the clipping mask. There's several different ways to use this tool, which would probably be better experienced with a more hands on approach, so I'll spare you descriptions.

    TD7

    The Frames tool (second from right) has a wide selection of frames to enhance the look of your photo. For some reason, this skull picture makes me think of walking into a boutique on Melrose that only sells leather punk bracelets. The type of shop where you're punched in the face with the overwhelming smell of incense upon entering (don't ask). So I'm going to pick this gritty shoebox looking frame.

    TD8

    The final tool, Filters, is very much similar to the Filter tool in Photos. The major advantage of the Tadaa version of the tool is the ability to scale the intensity of the filter, which is helpful.

    Here's a side by side of the photo before and after playing with Tadaa.

    TD9

    To be honest, I was expecting this app to be a cheesy knock-off of Instagram, but the easy to use wide range of features really sets it apart.

    My only gripe is once you complete your image editing, it allows you to share it on social media or email it, but you can't save it to your phone.

    TD10

    It's not a total deal breaker, I could just email the picture to myself then save it to my computer, but I would've liked the option. Now with our image editing complete, lets give it to the boys in production and take a look at the finished product.

    last

    As Larry David would say "Pretty Good... Prettaay-Prettaaaay Good!" 

    The best part about the finished product was I didn't have to do any of these effects on a computer, all of this was achieved from working on my phone. When I was done I just e-mailed it to myself, saved it, then uploaded the image to printsonwood.com, all from my phone.

    RATE

    Overall, Tadaa is an awesome free app, the only thing that irked me was the inability to save the image to my phone. So in conclusion, download Tadaa.... tadaay! (Yeah, I know, that joke sucked.)

    For more information on Tadaa, please visit the app website at Tadaa.net

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: CELANDINE DESIGN

    Our never-ending quest for world domination affords us the opportunity to cross paths with some incredibly talented people. One such person hails all the way from Southeastern Europe... Serbia to be exact.

    We recently had a chance to speak with the incredibly talented (and meticulous) Lidija Paradinovic Nagulov, owner of Celandine Design. We asked about her about growing up in the Eastern Bloc, her incredibly detailed floral patterns, and the legacy of Nikola Tesla. Much to our surprise, the answers we got back from her were so deeply layered with culture and wisdom, you'd think you were reading a Vice article. ;)

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    CD

    POW: My familiarity with Serbia is limited to what I hear on the news or read on the internet. Turbo-Folk and Soccer Hooligans seem to be discussed frequently in these outlets.

    As a "dumb" American, what are some positive aspects of your country that you think I (and other people like myself) should know about Serbia, and do they influence you as an artist in any way?

    LIDIJA: This is an extremely layered and interesting question. The truth is that Serbia has gone through an awful lot of turmoil during the last twenty years or so, with the breaking up of the old Yugoslavia (which I still think of as home), the subsequent civil war and the rest of that painful mess. This sort of hardship does damage the social structure, and it's true that we also spend a lot of time lamenting over the prevalence of turbo folk and football gangs. Part of the reason is that during the hard times many people sought refuge in other parts of the world (apparently there are entire Serbian quarters in Toronto, for instance), and those that succeeded in getting out were most often the brightest and the best educated. A lot of those who left found themselves rising to the top of their professions and gaining professional respect extremely quickly in their newly adopted homes, so I think it could be said that these lands seem to produce people with great potential, but our social and political structures for some reason seem not to know how to support and use that potential for the greater good. Being a full-time artist here is next to impossible, since economic pressure tends to strangle all non-essential trades.

    When I was a kid I used to tell everyone I was so super lucky, because I lived in the best country that had a beautiful coastline, and wonderful mountains, fertile flat plains for growing food, a strong industry, many different people, and just everything you could think of, all in one. That isn't entirely true any more, we have become much smaller and more homogeneous. But there is a quality of temperament to the Balkan nations that I haven't encountered in most other countries, which I'm not sure how to describe but if pressed I might call it 'heart'. If we like you, you'll know it. If we don't like you, you'll know that too. There's a certain sincerity, a forthrightness (I hope that's a word!) and lack of pretense or decorum that resonates well with me. Also we are reaching out towards the world again, and more and more small entrepreneurs are starting to make unique and premium-quality products, with great design, healthy/organic/eco-friendly ingredients and materials, and a lot of dedication and love. Hopefully someday soon we will hit the world news for some nice reason

    Also I can never go with that notion that Americans are somehow dumber than the rest of the world - I have so many American friends and they are among the smartest, nicest, and most talented people I know. The human race has its fair share of "dumb" to be sure, but it's spread out pretty evenly, I'd say.

    CD1I Hate Goodbyes by Celandine Design

    POW: One thing we here at Prints On Wood really admire about your work is the intricate amount of detail you put into it. When I was first observing some of your floral prints, I noticed little things like eyeballs and tentacles carefully hidden behind the petals and stems of the flowers.

    When illustrating, how do you create images that are so layered and complex? Do you start off with a basic idea and fill in all the little details as you go? 

    LIDIJA: My work process is very chaotic, and because I am drawn to complexity, there is no way I could actually plot out the basic outline of any piece in advance. Usually I start on paper, with a blank piece of A4, and I sketch out some starting element in pencil, then when I think I can 'see' it clearly enough I draw it out with a micron pen. Then I look at what I've got and think 'Ok, what can I put next to this?' Then the next thing gets sketched out, and drawn in ink. So I suppose in a way it's a little like quilting, adding one piece to the next. At the start I have no idea what I'm going to end up with, or more accurately, what I have in my mind is more a feeling I'm aspiring to, rather than a clear image. This is part of the fun, because as I go along I end up surprising myself, and at the end usually I look at the finished thing and go 'Huh, would ya look at that! Didn't know I could pull that off.' It's a weird feeling.

    CD2Lidija inking individual elements for her fine art wood print, Garden Party.

    LIDIJA (cont'd)When I started drawing I wanted to do these complex pieces, but I didn't think I could. I'd look at some elaborate and wonderful piece of art and I'd feel hopelessly overwhelmed, thinking it's only some special sort of magic art people that could make those. Then I'd force myself to look at its parts and think 'Ok, well, could you draw just this rose? No, probably not. Well how about just that one petal? It's just a line, right?' Then I'd draw the one petal, and then I'd put another one next to it. I'd suggest this method to any new artist who feels they can't break through into a higher level of complexity. At its simplest, all art can be broken down to the level of that one line, one shape, one color. When you look at it like that it's like Neo looking at the Matrix.

    I often debate with myself whether I should keep doing the layered and complicated pieces or try to simplify. They take a lot of time and effort, and they aren't as versatile as some simpler or more generic designs. But I think it's my nature and my artistic signature, something that sets me apart - so I'll keep at it, and keep experimenting with different ways to make them more approachable for the average consumer.

    CD7Garden Party by Celandine Design

    POW: A few weeks ago we posted a photo of your Wild Side Spring Version print on our Facebook page, and it gained over 100 likes in a very short period of time. This response inspired me to seek out your other submissions to different Print-on-Demand outlets. You seem to get a lot of positive feedback on all of your submitted work.

    In your opinion, what is it about your artwork that seems to resonate so well with the people on these sites?

    Lidija: Haha, I get great feedback on PoD sites - completely disproportionate to my financial success so far. A part of it is that I haven't been at it for long yet and I'm still learning about consumer preferences. Another part is that perhaps the sort of art I make - with overly strong personal traits - is loved more by other artists than by the general public. I have a lot of artist friends and artists as a community are very supportive of each other, because we can feel that passion that other people put into their pieces. I've often noticed that complex, elaborate and distinctive pieces will get a lot of 'buzz' online, but it's the really simple and iconic designs - think cute animals and chevrons and florals - that hit the highest sales. Even within my own work, it's actually the simplest designs that are selling the best. I understand this somehow on an intuitive level - there is a sort of art that I look at with great admiration and I will like, comment on, and share on my wall, but I wouldn't wear it or put it on my duvet cover. It's the distance between art as an ideal and art as a commodity. Then there are the absolute masters, like the wonderful Fan Brothers for instance, who marry those two worlds with a sort of modest charm that makes it look easy.

    I guess that was a very long-winded way of saying I don't really know. From what I see of the online art world so far, it's a lot like alchemy, and success is the Philosopher's Stone. Because art is liked or disliked on a very primal gut level, no amount of intellectual analysis can actually tell us what will 'work' for wide audiences, and what won't. So we all just pour everything we've got into it and hope for the best. One thing is definitely true - people feel the love and effort you put into your work. It's something that always gets a response.

    CD4Wild Side Spring Version by Celandine Design

    POW:  Although not entirely “Art” related, I’ve been dying to ask this question.

    One of the most influential & creative minds in the past 100 years has been Nikola Tesla, an eccentric Serbian electrical engineer well known for his showmanship and achievements in science. He happens to be incredibly popular in certain corners of the Internet (Reddit, Cracked) and there’s even a very successful electric car company named after the man.

    As a Serbian native, is Nikola Tesla a celebrated folk hero in your country? (If not, he should be :P)

    LIDIJA: Yes, we are extremely proud of Tesla and often argue with Croatians over whose citizen he really was. When I was a kid he used to be on the 500 dinar banknote and my grandfather would give one to me every so often as pocket money, particularly choosing the one with Tesla to inspire me to strive for academic greatness in the field of natural science. It didn't work out exactly as he planned, but I have fond memories of those exchanges. He's still on our money today, and there is a lovely Tesla museum downtown which, although small, is run by a wonderful group of enthusiastic young curators who really breathe life into the experience, telling you all sorts of anecdotes from his life and letting you touch, hold and test out some of his experiments. If you're ever visiting Belgrade it's definitely worth a look. I think we probably haven't grasped all of his legacy yet, and I wouldn't be surprised if a few hundred years down the line we come to some amazing new discoveries and finally go 'Aaaah, so this is what Tesla was talking about that one time!' Also for anyone not familiar with Tesla's exploits, here is my favorite online resource on him, the Oatmeal article, of course.

    CD5Les Fleurs Du Mal by Celandine Design

    POW: As an up and coming artist, what are some of your more lofty/long term goals you’d like to accomplish, and how would you plan to achieve these goals?

    LIDIJA: I could probably write a book on this!! I'm very new to the art world, so all of my conquests still lie ahead of me. I originally started in illustration, but since discovering pattern I have fallen in love, and found myself in an odd place between two worlds - most of my pieces now seem to look like some strange hybrid, like illustrations that seamlessly repeat. I feel there must be a market for this somewhere out there. I'm reading a lot of material these days on the business side of art and pattern design, and my first goal is to figure out how to climb into that sweet spot that is right in the center of the Holy Trinity of art success - being Original, On Brand, and On Trend. These three are forces that each pull in their own direction, and balancing them is still a bit of a mystery to me. In terms of concrete achievements, my list of dreams is long. I want to make art my career. My university major was Japanese language and literature, and at the moment I work full time in administration/ finance (it all flows very naturally from one another, I know), so my drawing time comes late at night, once the work day is done and the kid has been put to bed.

    If art would be the job, then the night could be reclaimed for sleeping! I want to have a studio, with lots of art on the walls, all printed on wood. Seriously, it just looks so much more impressive than paper. I would love to be represented by a good agent. I'd love to break into a number of different surface design fields, like fashion, kids' fashion, and home decor. I'd love to do collaborative projects with some of my favorite artists. I have a pretty wide 'dream client' list. I'd love to see one of my super-elaborate patterns used as a wallpaper on the walls of some fancy boutique hotel somewhere in the world. At the moment a lot of these are still daydreams, but I'm slowly weaving my web, so we'll see!

    CD6Singing Forest In Yellow by Celandine Design

    LIDIJA (cont'd): It's hard to plot out a precise course with such a diverse list of goals, but my first steps consist of just reading everything I can get my hands on about the business of selling and licensing art. Making beautiful things is really only the start - so many people make amazing work they will never sell at any larger scale. The rest of it is understanding the market forces, the competition, the consumer, the rules and customs of retail - and finally that little bit of magic pixie dust that pulls it all together in the end. Perseverance is definitely the key. If I come across anyone I can imagine myself working with, I send them an e-mail. The other day I wrote to the Alternative Limb Project, asking if they'd consider using one of my patterns on a prosthetic limb, for free. That would be such an amazing initiative to be a part of. They haven't written back yet, but I never give up!

    It often feels like there is a taboo between artists on the subject of art as a business and a way of making money, but the truth is that if we want to be able to devote our lives to doing this, something needs to pay the bills. And with so much talent out there, the competition is fierce. One day when I've got things figured out, I'd love to work with young artists and help them out somehow. My first tentative step in that direction is this seamless pattern tutorial, which was a whole lot of fun to make, and I plan to make more as soon as time allows. One thing I can't forget is how much selfless help and support I have received at every step from many wonderful and talented artists I've met along the way. I definitely want to find a way to pay that forward.

    ----------------

    Thank you so much Lidija for your honest & intelligent answers to our silly questions. I think we all feel a little bit smarter for having talked to you.

    To learn more about Lidija, visit her website at: http://probablypretty.wix.com/celandine

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