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Monthly Archives: April 2014

  • HERO COMPLEX: HELLBOY 20TH ANNIVERSARY!

    Mike Mignola's Hellboy is now officially 2 decades old. To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles has joined forces with POW's favorite customer / Ecuadorian artist: Chogrin, to pay tribute to everyones favorite big red knot-headed demon.

    hb1

    Chogrin has selected over 100 illustrators from around the world to pay tribute to Mike Mignola's Hellboy Universe in an official art show that will celebrate 20 years of Mignola's character & comics.

    hb2

    The Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show will premiere this Friday (May 2nd) at the Hero Complex Gallery (www.hercomplexgallery.com), and it will feature artists printing their final artwork through Prints On Wood.

    hb3

    For more information about this event or to preview artwork, please visit the following links:

    https://www.facebook.com/events/301589879989156/301590043322473

    http://hellboy20thartshow.tumblr.com

    http://www.herocomplexgallery.com

    Print

  • APP REVIEW: POSTALE

    post

    Tipped off by an incredibly reliable source (aka Starbucks Pick of The Week), I was introduced to the iPhone App: Postale. Given the racially insensitive undertones deeply embedded into older episodes of Looney Tunes, I naturally assumed the name of this app was meant to be said in an incredibly cartoonish italian accent, emphasized by grandiose hand gestures. (POE-STAH-LEE!) Several awkward situations later, I realized much to my chagrin that it's pronounced as "Postal".

    While most postcards feature warm greetings, historical landmarks, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing a pair of sunglasses, Postale is an app that allows you to take your own photographs and transform them into custom postcards. For this review, I'll be using a picture of Prints On Wood's most favorite 8 year old boy, Dash!

    DASHI'm pretty sure that last sentence just landed this blog on some NSA watchlist.

    P1

    Right off the bat, Postale goes out of it's way to let you know it wants to keep things simple. I'm cool with that. As you can see, my options are limited to three: Create, Gallery, and Shop. Lets start with Create.

    P2

    After selecting Create, Postale prompts you to select one of it's four layouts: Portrait Side-By-Side, Vertical, Veritcal Side-By-Side, and Panoramic. Keeping with the less is more / I need to get this blog post done before I can go home theme, lets go with the Portrait Side-By-Side option. After selecting your layout, you can now select the theme of your postcard. Once again, not a huge selection of options. I selected the good 'ol fashioned red, white, & blue striped air mail theme, because y'know... 'MURCIA!

    Now that we got our orientation selected, we can "customize" our postcard. I say that loosely because it's a fancy way to say we're going to add text and a picture. Working from left to right, click Photo to insert your picture.

    P3

    Once you select the photo for your postcard, you can can apply photo filters to the image. Postale offers the typical 5-6 photo filters with fancy sounding names, but they're what you would expect from default features. They do offer some more unique filters for $1.99 a set, which don't seem to be that much different from the default filters. The color of my original photo looks cool enough already so let's move forward.

    P4

    Now to add some text, click Message. Doing so toggles your iPhones keypad so you can write your message like you would a text. The UI for the Message feature allows you to change the style, size, and color of your text. Once complete, click on Title to add more text to the top of your post card. This space is more traditionally reserved for your salutation.

    P5

    After cycling through Photo, Message, and Title, Postale allows you to add a "stamp" to your postcard. You can select from Postale's limited stamp library, add more stamps for $1-$2 per set, or upload your own photo to use in lieu of a stamp. I decided to use this sweet almost-finished picture I drew of myself for the stamp on Dash's postcard.

    P6Stud Muffin(top)

    We got our picture, our text, our greeting, and some incredibly swarthy postage. Lets see how this bad-boy looks now that it's finished.

    P7Meh. Cool I guess.

    Sarcasm aside, one neat feature about Postale is that it takes the location data from your photograph and uses the city/zipcode of your photo for use in the post office stamp. When beginning this app review, I lacked the foresight to see if any of the offered post card sizes were proportionate to any standard photo sizes. Unfortunately, they are not. I had to skew the image a bit to fit a 6 x 4 canvas to print on wood. Speaking of which, lets see how that turned out.

    P8

    Not too shabby. The red and blue look pretty cool mixed in with the wood grain. So overall, is Postale deserving of first class rates, or should it get tossed out with the junk mail?

    RATE

    Junk mail.

    At it's core, these apps are just an incredibly low budget / limited photo editor with a gimmick attached. Much like PicLab and Halftone, Postale falls into the category of an Instagram clone wrapped around a decent concept. Unfortunately it lacks quality content to make your purcase of the app itself feel worthwhile, let alone add-ons. The worst part is the paid image effects offered in Postale are incredibly similar to the ones offered in Camera 360, the only difference being they are completely free.

    Halfway through this review it hit me. Aren't traditional postcards supposed to have a full image on the back and the mailing address / written content on the back? Well, Postale can send an honest-to-goodness postcard for $2 in the US, and $3 international. While the concept of taking a picture and turning it into a postcard sounds fun, Postale for lack of a better term, comes off as boring. For an app that offers so very little, $2 with additional add-ons offered for the same amount seems a little over priced. At this point, mailing an actual store-bought postcard from wherever you might be visiting would seem more frugal and exciting.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: JASON LIMON

    If you're a fellow sufferer of Trypophobia (the irrational fear of objects with small clustered holes) like myself, then every time you see unholy displays such as the inside of a cantaloupe or a lotus seed pod, you want to grab the nearest rock and smash it like a frustrated cave man trying to ignite a fire.

    This proved to be a huge point of contention for myself when I was assigned to research the work of Jason Limon for this interview. On one hand, his work is awesome and he's teamed up with Prints On Wood to offer an upcoming timed release! On the other hand, the hundreds of tiny little circles in most of his paintings made my skin crawl while my left eye twitched violently.

    Alas, I had to man-up and cast my neurosis aside because if I didn't, who else would get this article done? (I'm the only one around here who knows how to use they're, their, and there correctly.)

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

    JL1(Photo Credit: Kidrobot)

    POW: Even though the imagery in your artwork is quite provocative, given your abilities, it seems that you like to pull your punches so that it's not truly disturbing and almost kind of cute. Is this in any way intentional, and if so, why?

    JASON: That is true. I don't want stuff to come across too shocking or obscene, but I also don't want it to be on the hokey side. For me, I think it's just about getting a viewer to examine a piece and bring on a variety of emotions — to question what is happening in the painting and how they feel about it. Should they be a little disturbed or laugh? As to why, I guess I'd say that may come from me always questioning life and reality. As a kid you always wonder "what if" and as an adult most of us stop asking that question after learning the actual "parameters" of the world we live in. I continue to ask "what if" and try to imagine how things can be without those parameters.

    JL2DARK SPIRALS by Jason Limon

    POW:  When I was a little kid, certain visuals in movies such as Roger Rabbit (Judge Doom), Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (Large Marge), and The Thing (the whole damn movie) would haunt my nightmares for years to come, though looking back on it now, I find those same visuals kind of funny.

    As the father of 2 children, did you / have you ever shielded them from any of your paintings until they were old enough to see the humor and beauty in your work?

    JASON: I can see Large Marge and Judge Doom being funny now, but you're not still scared of The Thing? I love that movie, it still creeps me out a bit. My kids have watched that movie (and others I thought were amazing when I was young) and they don't at all have the same reactions I did, of course. We were lucky to live through those movies and watch the whole industry change and develop over time.

    I never felt I was painting anything vulgar or too much for a young mind to handle. I haven't hidden any of my art from my daughters. I leave them in the open while I work so they can have a look any time. I do enjoy their reactions to my art and sometimes intrigued by their questions, some which spur further exploration on my part.

    JL3FOLIAGE by Jason Limon

    POW: Every artist refines their work over time until they find the niche they feel most comfortable working in. What experiences as a young artist would you say guided you into honing your nature-based style of surrealism?

    JASON: I didn't really begin honing my painting skills until after more than a decade of working on a computer to make art so it took me a good while to "loosen up". I had grown up drawing a lot and that helped, but what has guided me most with developing a style is just that: loosening up and allowing things to come out as they do naturally. Early on I started to develop a story involving the planet and plant-life, exploring how nature becomes dominate again and balances the world out. I referred to quite a bit of nature while producing that series of art.

    OriginsORIGINS by Jason Limon

    POW:  I've read that you studied Graphic Design in college, which afforded you the ability to apply those skills in a commercial environment. What aspect of working as a Graphic Designer inspired you to pursue it as a profession, and what in particular about the profession inspired you to ultimately focus your abilities on fine art instead?

    JASON: I did work as a graphic designer for a good while. I believe that part of my life helped me develop my use of color and a love for typography. I drew a whole lot in vectors (Adobe Illustrator) and no matter how much I did I could never get the same effects that I could by hand. It all started to feel somewhat stifling and I craved doing things by hand again after some time. As a designer I would also flip through tons of illustrator promo books which did influenced me to get more serious about painting.

    JL4CATCREEPER ON THE PROWL by Jason Limon

    POW: In regards to your timed release with POW: Catcreeper On The Prowl, can you tell us a little bit about the Catcreeper? Why did you paint him? What does he want with all those cats? Does he eat the cats after he catches them? :(

    JASON: At the start of this year I decided I would focus on stories of the paranormal to help induce a large amount of monsters or cryptids to be unleashed. In this case I had sketched out some ideas for a humanoid swamp creature and this is where it lead me. Really it is just thinking about things in reverse. If a cat decides to claw at a fish and eat it, does anyone care about the fish? I've had a few comments from people wondering why I hate cats. Some of the comments come across as being kind of angry. The truth is I've always liked cats since I was a kid and had them around growing up and still have a cat in our home now. The thought of a giant fish monster getting some revenge on cats is just funny. I wouldn't think that the Catcreeper would eat a cat, but only has lots of fun scaring and being a nuisance to them.

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

    CATCREEPER ON THE PROWL will be offered as an 11 x 14 limited timed release, signed and numbered by Jason Limon. This 3/4" thick print will be offered on bright white and retails for $100. CATCREEPER goes on sale on Monday, April 28th @ 12 pm, and continues through the week ending on Saturday, May 3rd @ 12 pm.

    For more information on Jason Limon, visit his website at: http://limon-art.com/

  • PHOTO(WOOD)SHOP: FOCUS, FRAMES, AND TEXT

    Welcome back to another action packed roller coaster ride of excitement that is the Prints On Wood's image effects editor! (Or Photo(Wood)Shop, as I like to call it.)

    In the past I've reviewed some of the more advanced features contained in our Image Effects Editor, but what about the simpler ones? To begin, let's access the Image Effects Editor. This can be found on the Create Your Own page after uploading your photo. Just click on the green button with a magic icon above your image proof that reads "Add Image Effects".

    Once again, much to the dismay of our readers, I will be using a photograph of myself. Yeah, I know. I look like a mix between Hugo "Hurley" Reyes and Rubeus Hagrid, but surprisingly enough, people get really uncomfortable about having their face plastered on the internet. Luckily for the sake of these hard hitting POW blogs, I have no dignity.

    Now that we've got our photo uploaded, let's have a look at three of them shall we?

    #1. FOCUS

    foc

    The image effects Focus tool (crosshair icon) is a little more unconventional than it's name would suggest. While most Focus tools help you sharpen the edges on a blurry or out of focus image, our version blurs your image in one of two ways to emphasize a certain point or space to your choosing.

    FOCUS

    The first of the two Focus options is the circular option (left). Selecting this option toggles an scaleable ellipses where everything inside of the circle is clear and everything outside of the circle is blurred, as you can see I placed around my fat Jimmy Durante nose. The second of the two is the rectangular blur (right), which works exactly like the circular option, just providing a scaleable rectangular box which can also be angled. This feature works excellent with busy images since it allows you to single out a particular space and create an optical illusion of sorts that pulls it forward while blurring the outside area to push it back.

    #2. FRAMES

    frame

    When ordering your custom wood print, we offer the option to print to the edge of the wood ("no" margin) or create a symmetrical border of empty space around the image ("yes" margin). Fortunately, we also understand people enjoy a wide selection of options... not just two. That's why our image editor features a Frames tool (Frame Icon).

    framez

    The Frame tool allows you to select an artistic border, offered in several different styles to best match the look and feel of your image. While the specific frame is entirely up to you, we suggest when a frame effect is applied, the image should be printed edge to edge ("no" margin). This is because the framing effect creates the illusion of layered depth.

    #3. TEXT

    TT

    While most custom photo prints don't normally include text, it's always nice to have the option available should you be interested in creating a wood print to be used as an invitation, a wedding / birthday card or to commemorate a memorable occasion. This can be achieved by selecting the Text tool. (Uppecase/Lowercase T icon)

    tex

    Once you've clicked the Text tool icon, a text box should appear on your image. Each text box includes a silver circle with 2 arrows in the bottom right corner and a black circle with an X in the top left. The silver arrow circle allows you to scale and rotate your text box depending on how your cursor interacts with it. Clicking and dragging on the silver circle while moving it diagonally allows you to increase / decrease the size of your text. Clicking on the silver circle and rotating it clockwise / counter clockwise allows you to angle your text.

    tex1

    If you look above your photograph after selecting the Text tool, you'll notice 3 buttons. The first on the far left is the Color Picker (Colorwheel Icon). To adjust the color of your selected text, use the slider on the right of the drop-down menu to select the desired hue. After landing on the color of your choice, mouse over the square on the left side of the drop-down menu to adjust the brilliance of your selection. Depending on your color selection, text can sometimes disappear or blend into your photo, so we recommend using a color that compliments your image while contrasting with the background.

    tex2

    After adjusting the color to best match your image, we can now change the font. To do so, click on the Font Selection button, found center of the top 3 buttons. A drop-down menu appears containing a font library you can scroll through. Text can add to or take away from the theme of your photo depending on your choice, so make sure your final font selection best represents the overall theme of your wood print.

    tex3

    Lastly, the 3rd feature of the text tool is the Add Text button, which does exactly what it says. If you're interested in placing additional bodies of text on your image, click on this button and a new text window will appear. Remember that if at any point you want to remove any text added to your image, simply click the black circle containing an X in the top left corner of your text windows.

    So what kind of text did I create for my dashingly handsome headshot?

    fff

    Come to think of it, that would make an awesome name for a punk band... I call dibs.

  • STUDIO NUMBER ONE ART SHOW

    Once upon a time, in the early 90s, Shepard Fairey took a stylized vector of Andre the Giant's face and combined it with undertones from the 1988 cult classic, They Live. 300,000 Obama posters later, Shepard is now at the helm of a pop-culture phenomenon that began when he mixed Soviet-era style with Punk Rock propaganda to form a little company called OBEY.

    S1"Sorry pal, we can't let you in unless you're wearing a Che t-shirt."

    Before Guy Fawkes masks were en vogue, Shepard was spearheading the urban revolution through screen-printing and repurposed imagery in an attempt to shatter the fascist chains of Capitalism in an easy to swallow format. No longer did you have to spend an entire afternoon using glitter and paste to make a sign you could hold on the corner of a busy street! No longer did you have to loiter outside of evil heartless corporations like Payless Shoes to get people to sign your petition!  No longer did you have to march around your local college while screaming unintelligibly into a bullhorn before Campus Police forced you to leave for not wearing any pants!

    S2The last time I saw this many beards and black jackets, I was in Fairfax.

    Thanks to the success of OBEY, now every teenage suburban radical could involve themselves in civil discourse by asking their Mom to drop them off at the mall on the way to soccer practice. By walking inside Ron Jon Surf Shop with a wad of money, they would shake free from the conformist stranglehold perpetuated by our totalitarian society by walking out with a t-shirt that featured an awesome design alongside a thinly veiled jab at our government. All the while making their parents scratch their heads and ask: "We gave you 40 bucks to buy that?"

    S4The DJ wanted to keep things old school.

    Now the lower class had a voice! Now the lower class had a movement they could get behind! Now the lower class had the perfect fashion accessory to compliment their camouflage cargo shorts and fedora as they nursed their red plastic solo cup at college parties! By bringing the power to the people one mini-mall at a time, OBEY infiltrated the velcro chain wallets of frustrated young men everywhere.

    S5Two pieces of art worth more individually than both of these men's musical careers combined.

    Actually, to tell the truth, I didn't go to this art show. Heck, I don't even really know much about OBEY... well besides the fact they produced the Joey Ramone & Andy Kaufman posters hanging above my bed (which look just as awesome as the art that was on display this past Wednesday at Studio Number One in Echo Park).

    S3Guy-To-Girl Ratio: ComicCon

    My boss and his wife went though. They're actually friends with Shep! Want to hear something cool? His team designed the Prints On Wood logo! (The good one, not the crappy one. I designed that.) Want to hear something even cooler!? Jesse from Breaking Bad was at the art show! YEAH BIII - uh - Buddy!

    S6Only one person at the art show was pleased over the DJ's preference for the Lego Movie soundtrack.

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: D*FACE

    As most of you might already know, Prints On Wood recently had the opportunity to collaborate with international street artist, D*Faceon his incredibly bad-ass limited edition wood print: Going Everywhere Fast, which sold out in 5 seconds flat.

    As we tried to synchronize our schedules to smooth out the details of his arrival, Prints On Wood was a Gravitron of insanity. At the time, we were in the midst of getting a handle on all the wooden signs needed for the 2014 Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival. Luckily D*Face was visiting the states to attend said festival which conveniently afforded us a small, womp rat sized, window of opportunity to get him in and out as quick as possible so he could enjoy the rest of his holiday.

    In the days leading up to his arrival, everyone inside the POW building was bouncing off the walls in a wild furor. "Holy Crap! We get to meet D*Face!", "Throw away those McRib boxes! D*Face is coming!", "Don't forget to flush! D*Face will be here!". Meanwhile, I was trying to keep it cool and prepare for our interview. I met David Schwimmer one time in a sunglasses shop on Melrose when I was fourteen, so I was confident I had the gourds to keep things professional and maintain my composure in the presence of a world renowned artist.

    While the artistic accomplishments of D*Face held my curiosity, if I was really going to get flustered over an interview, it would be with the Ramones (and all the cool ones are already dead). So I couldn't completely empathize with my co-workers who would grow more & more anxious with each hour D*Face's visit grew closer. I kept repeating "It's a just job. I'll be fine." to myself during a last minute YouTube cram session the morning he was to visit. I was fine... until I got 3 videos deep. That's when I learned D*Face grew up on a steady diet of Skateboarding and Graphic Design which made my ears perk like a startled cat. (A man after my own heart!)

    After that revelation, whatever D*Face had to say would most definitely hold my interest.

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    DD

    POW: When doing research for this interview, I noticed that you concealed your identity in many of your earlier interviews, but in more recent times, your face is completely unobscured. Is this because over time your particular brand of street art has become more accepted in the public domain? Or because you're so huge in the artistic community, there's no reasonable way to hide it anymore?

    D*FACE: Haha. I think it's more to the point that as I get older, it feels a little less convincing being this guy lurking in the shadows. It feels more relevant to be speaking about the work that I produce. Whether it be legally or illegally, it's nice to be able to be... not so much a "face" to it, but be able to talk openly about it as opposed to having to hide behind a shadow, or a mask, or whatever, which makes it feel less relevant.

    In truth, I do less illegal stuff than I've done in previous years so there's no one looking for me as such. They're looking for guys who are painting trains and causing proper criminal damage, which is the only reason why I hid my identity in the first place. I think it is what you said, that it's so much more accepted now than it was in the earlier days. People are kind of like... if you go out and paint a wall and say "Oh yeah, by the way, I'm this artist and I painted this." then they're like "Sure, go ahead. Paint my wall. Please!". There seems to be less of a stigma attached to it then there used to be for sure.

    I feel like it's less relevant for me to be hiding behind a shadow. It's more important to be able to speak openly about my work. The thing I don't like about it is I don't think it's relevant to judge my work on what I look like. That's always something I've been trying to avoid, which to a large degree is why I've remained anonymous. I'd rather you just judge my work on itself rather than what trousers I'm wearing or what t-shirt I've got on. A lot of my work critiques style and fame, so it seems to be slightly contradictory to then be like "Yo! Look at me! Here I am! Check me out!", which I have no interest in doing.

    DF_RREFLECTIONS by D*Face. Santurce, Puerto Rico, 2013.

    POW: You've stated that you were heavily influenced by skateboarding as a teenager. In your opinion, what was the direct correlation between skateboarding and graffiti that inspired you to jump from one to the other?

    D*FACE: Skateboarding and graffiti to me growing up always seemed to go hand-in-hand. When I was skateboarding and traveling to skate-spots in the UK, they always had graffiti. Skateparks were always built (certainly in the UK) in a fairly run-down shit area where nobody really cared too much about one being there. You didn't get them in nice neighborhoods because nice neighborhoods don't want kids hanging around there making a noise, so they were always in those areas that attracted that element anyway. So for me, skateboarding and graffiti were always kind of interlocked.

    I'd skate around and I would see graffiti. I would see tracksides painted. I would see the trains painted on my travels around London. That was always something I kind of grew up around, as I did skateboarding. A lot of my friends that I skateboarded with also used to catch tags when we were traveling around. When you're traveling from spot to spot, it would make sense to mark the territory you were at, so it started to become entwined. I started to paint my name (very badly) as a kid, but I was much more fascinated with skate graphics. That's the thing that would really inspire me.

    skate-dD*Face (left) in preparation for the Ridiculous Pool Paint Attack. (Photo Credit: Concrete Disciples)

    POW: Was there any artist in particular that inspired you? I know you mention Jim Philips a lot.

    D*FACE: Jim Philips, Vernon Courtland Johnson. The early days had lots of unknown artists, I still would have no idea who they are. In my head (because nobody explained it to me, or knew any better) I thought you had to be a pro-skateboarder, then you designed your own graphics. I hadn't really managed to figure out that really wasn't the case at all, and that these really one or two amazingly talented artists were producing these huge volumes of skate graphics. It wasn't until someone explained that to me did everything kind of go "Oh, ok. I don't need to be an amazing skateboarder to be able to produce skate graphics." That was kind of a weird seminal moment for me where I was like "Cool, I can actually do this." because I wasn't going to be a successful skateboarder for sure.

    d_realD*Face designed decks for Real Skateboards

    POW: Your artwork features a great deal of existing pop-culture imagery re-purposed in an artistic composition. How would you respond to people who think: "Oh, this guy is just tracing a bunch of pictures."?

    D*FACE: Well, that's pretty much what I do. (Laughter)

    A lot my work resembles of what you would imagine to be a Lichtenstein or a Pop-Art piece, but this, Going Everywhere Fast, has got no reference to anything, it's a complete original to say. I use what is essentially is an understood art movement and make it fit for today's society, and what people understand, and what we've come to understand from the refuge of pop-culture.

    Pop-Culture was always meant to be a critique of consumerism, but then it ended up becoming a celebration of it, and for me, that doesn't have any relevance in today's society. We know what happens to that refuge.  We know what our conspicuous consumption leads to. We know what invade now / ask questions later becomes. This is what I'm really trying to do with my work, just sort of updating what's been done.

    popeyeconPOP EYE CON by D*Face

    POW: Earlier in your life, you held a job that was meant to be artistic, but ultimately ended with the feeling that it was stifling your creativity. You've mentioned that this particular occupation allowed you to acquire tools that you normally wouldn't have access to such as photocopiers, black and white color printers, and marker pens. Even though you didn't particularly enjoy that job at the time, it seems like it ultimately fostered your ability and drive to do what you were most passionate about.

    Do you feel that perhaps if you worked a different / non-creative position at the time, your ultimate outcome as an artist wouldn't be the same as it is today?

    D*FACE: I think that's a fair point and a good question. I often think about that because I obviously studied illustration, graphic design, and animation in college, and it was very creative and cool. There was a set brief, but it might've just been a word, like "inflatable" for example. Then you'd spend a month coming up with whatever you wanted to do. It was a very creative thinking course, and I think that course shaped me to who I am today as an artist unknowingly.

    What I got at the end of that was the need to work, you know? I had to get a job, I had to pay more rent. I didn't have any more money and I was keen to trying to apply the skills I'd learned. At the end of the exhibition, I got a couple of job offers in advertising / design agencies that wanted me to come in and work for them. I ended up taking a job at the smallest agency because I thought that it would get me in the quickest, and that I would learn the fastest as opposed to being a junior for a long time, and it did exactly that. It made me have to learn very quickly how to answer a creative brief, on time to a deadline, but still trying to retain an element of creativity to it and good thinking. It also taught me how to use the equipment and machinery in way that was proficient, and very quickly I had to deal with that. It was very interesting for a while because you're obviously developing your tools, your palette, but it did become very boring very quickly.

    That's kind of when I went back to my outside work, and my original work, that I'd been always interested in doing. I just sort of looked at it and thought I don't need to do just the creative brief, it could be my own project, my own thing. It didn't have to have any answers, it didn't have to have a beginning or an end, and that was kind of what I was looking for, so I just decided to do it on my own. So absolutely. If I hadn't been in that situation, then I wouldn't be who I am today.

    sohoD*Face doing line work for his mural on Lafayette Street in Soho. 2012

    POW: Even though you work for yourself now, do you find yourself still using the same techniques you learned during that time?

    D*FACE: Yeah, one of the first jobs I had was a very boring job separating artwork for screen printing. It was something I became very proficient at very quickly because it was something that had to get done. It's something that I now use all the time. It's something that for the most part, is hard to explain or teach somebody. It's just something you become good at through necessity. At the time I thought it was so boring and that I wasn't going to use it ever. Trying to use halftones and plain colors and knock things through to make the most out of a very little color palette. So that definitely shaped me to a large part of who I am.

    d_hoD*Face putting the final touches on his Soho mural. (Photo Credit: Street Art NYC)

    POW: As someone who's experienced a great deal of critical and commercial success, during your early beginnings as a graffiti artist, was there a specific point, piece, or project you worked on that made you take a step back and think: "Yeah, I think I could do this for a living." ?

    D*FACE: It was never really defined as that. It was much more open and organic and I think that is what's really important to remember. In the early days of doing this in 1999 up until 2005, there was no vision on being able to make any money from this. I used to do this thing called "Finders / Keepers" with a couple of other guys where we would make art and give it away. We were just happy that someone would take it! We were doing it completely for no agenda, whereas now if you wanted to start out, you could be a street artist instantly because it's already a defined culture, movement, whatever you want to call it. It just kind of pieced itself together.

    I was working full-time and I had to pay the bills. Slowly people were interested in my work in a way of: "Oh, would you sell me one of them?" and I'd turn them for next to nothing just so I could create. I then did a print release with Pictures On Walls which sold really well. I thought that was really amazing because I didn't think it was going to sell at all! That made me think maybe I could pay a month of rent from the sale of that. Maybe I don't need to work full time. Maybe I can do three days of work on my own stuff as opposed to having to work through the night, which is what I had been doing. So I just kind of stepped into that to the point of where I felt like I didn't need to do full time work anymore, or even two days a week, I could just concentrate on my own artwork.

    It didn't happen overnight, it just happened very organically.

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

    Thanks D*Dawg! Keep it real esé!

    fist*FIST BUMP*

    For more information on the art and events of D*Face, please visit: http://www.dface.co.uk/

  • APP REVIEW: iDRAW

    app_title

    Vector art is somewhat of a touchy subject in the art community. Since most people's familiarity with computers comes from how they're portrayed on television, they naturally assume that anything artistic created on a computer was achieved through mashing key commands, as opposed to talent or skill.

    While I'll admit most amateur vector art looks a little too "noodly" for my tasteswhen used correctly, it can create crisp colorful illustrations. A perfect example of professional vector art would be POW's very own gallery artists, Ale Giorgini and Jazzberry Blue.

    ID1Left to Right: THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS by Ale Giorgini & OUTCAST by Jazzberry Blue

    Once you learn to hone in's and out's of vector illustration, if you're savvy enough, you can forgo sketching and create your art entirely within the realm of your computer, cutting your turnaround time in half.

    A few years ago when I first purchased an iPad, I checked to see if Adobe had created a vector based drawing program for the iOS since I do 99.9% of my work in Illustrator... unfortunately they had not. I then scoured the internet high and low for a proper substitute (i.e. typing "Vector Art iPad" into Google) and came across iDraw. At first I was a bit leery about forking over $9, but after seeing that the majority of iDraw's reviews were positive, I decided to take the plunge.

    While reviewing this app, I'm going to teach you kids at home how to draw Prints On Wood's beer drinking, bar brawling mascot, Owly the Owl! Let's get started...

    ID01

    Once you open iDraw, you'll notice several already existing images which serve as a tutorial on how to navigate through iDraw, as well as a few examples of vector art created in the program. To create a new image, click the Plus symbol in the top lefthand corner of the screen.

    ID02

    After you create a new image file, iDraw provides several backgrounds to choose from such as a lined paper background for a sketchy feel, graph paper & blueprint backgrounds for technical drawings, an image background that allows you to import photos from your camera roll, and finally, a blank white background. Since we're drawing a simple image to print on wood, lets go with the blank background so the woodgrain will be visible.

    ID03

    Now that we selected our background, lets adjust our art board for our wood print. I want my image to have a 1:1 ratio so we can print it on a square piece of wood. To change the dimensions of our art board, simply click the Cog icon on the top right hand corner of the screen.

    As you can see here, iDraw offers several different technical options to assist your drawing experience. Right now, lets just adjust the size of our canvas to  864px x 864px (or 12 in. x 12 in. for all you imperialists).

    Now that we got our square canvas, let's get down to drawing everyone's favorite anthropomorphic owl. First lets access the Pen tool. For those of you unfamiliar with a vector based Pen tool, this might take a little practice. When using the Pen tool in a vector program, you use points and handles intermittently to direct the shape and flow of your lines.

    ID2

    To use the Pen tool, click the Pen icon on the toolbar to your lefthand side. Then click your first dot and drag downwards. This dot is called an Anchor Point, the lines extending from your anchor point are called Handles. Anchor points are used to connect segments in a line, how you pull on your handles when creating anchor points dictates the shape and flow of the line. For our second anchor point, try to imagine the middle point of Owly's chin and click to plant your anchor point while pulling the handle to your right.

    Creating our anchor points / pulling our handles in a counter clockwise direction allows the line to curve into an oval shape. It might take a few tries (and a couple of swear words) to get the hang of the Pen tool, so take your time. Ultimately you want to draw Owly's skull / head in the shape of a sideways tic-tac.

    Looking at the image above, you can see that my oval is lopsided. Select iDraw's Direct Selection tool from the lefthand toolbar, it should look like an outline of an arrow (2nd icon from the top). The direct selection tool allows you to individually select anchor points and handles to adjust after drawing your line(s).

    ID3

    There we go, now it doesn't look as derpy. If you noticed, my line looks a bit thicker. When you have your shape/line selected, clicking on the Information icon at the top of your screen allows you to change the appearance of your selection. In this case I made the stroke (outline) thicker since I'm a fan of fat lines.

    Now that we got Owly's head drawn, let's move onto his eyes. Drawing multiple assets onto a single layer becomes a nightmare further down the road if you're working on a complex image, so let's create a new layer for his eyeballs.

    ID4

    The Layers icon is located on the top right hand corner of the screen and should look like a stack of papers. When you click on it, a little drop-down menu appears. Clicking on the Plus sign in the drop-down creates a new layer. Double clicking the layer's default name toggles your iPad's on-screen keyboard and allows you to change the name, which can be helpful when you have multiple layers and forget what is where. When more than one layer is created, iDraw automatically locks the unselected layers, which prevents you from accidentally selecting / changing something on a separate layer.

    ID5

    Using a similar technique to how we drew Owyl's head, let's draw one eye first. Using the Pen tool again, draw 4 evenly spaced anchor points while making your best effort to pull all of the handles out an an equal length to each other in a counter clockwise fashion. This should leave you with a (lopsided) circle. Instead of drawing another one, let's just copy and paste the first one to save some time.

    Using the Selection tool (the arrow icon at the top of the toolbar), tap on our circle / eyeball. Once selected, tapping on the Paperclip icon at the center left of the screen opens the Edit drop-down menu. Clicking on Copy duplicates your selection, clicking Paste makes your duplication appear on screen. Now that we have our second eyeball on the screen, use the Selection tool to adjust both circles symmetrically on the opposite sides of Owly's head. Your drawing should resemble a pigs snout at this point (and still look kind of boring).

    Let's add some personality to this picture by drawing Owly's eyebrows next. After creating a 3rd layer for his eyebrows, use the Pen tool and start by creating an anchor point while pulling the handle upwards.

    ID6

    Draw a second anchor point to the upper right hand side, diagonal to the first anchor point, and pull the handle to your right. This should make an overhand curve.

    ID7

    Draw a third anchor point diagonally above the one before it and pull the handle down, resulting in the second half of your line curving underhand. At this point you should have a wavy line curving upwards.

    ID8

    Double tap on the 3rd anchor point before drawing the bottom half of Owly's eyebrow. Doing so makes a sharp point. You'll know that you have a sharp edge when the handle pointing upward disappears.

    ID10

    Using a technique similar to drawing the top half of his eyebrow, start at the 3rd anchor point and draw a 4th anchor point below the 2nd anchor point while pulling the handle to your left.

    ID11

    Finally, double tap on the first point to connect the line while making a second sharp edge.

    ID12

    BOOM! Now you've got your owl eyebrow(s)! On a related note, for those of you who are about to slam your iPad against the wall in frustration, keep in mind that I've been using illustrator for 10+ years, so once again, it takes a little bit of practice. Just be patient.

    Now that we've got Owly's eyebrow drawn, I'm going to draw some lines inside the eyebrow to give the appearance of hair / feathers / texture. First, let's switch our pen tool to only draw a stroke without any fill.

    ID13

    On the bottom left corner of the screen, you should see 2 circles, one that looks like a donut, and one that looks like a full circle. The donut represents the Outline / Stroke color, the full circle represents the Fill color. Selecting either one toggles a color wheel. Since I only want to draw a line, I selected the Fill color to remove it completely. This can be achieved by clicking on the black box with a diagonal grey line at the bottom right of the menu, doing so removes the fill completely. Afterwards, I selected the Outline / Stroke to change it to black.

    Now that we can draw only a black line, use a technique similar to drawing the top half of Owly's eyebrow and draw 3 lines inside.

    ID14

    Once you complete his eyebrow, toggle the Selection tool and drag your finger on the screen, you should see a blue box appear. Draw the box big enough to fit everything and take your finger off the screen. This should select the eyebrow shape as well as the 3 interior lines.

    ID15

    Once selected, click on the icon on the top right icon that looks like one rectangle overlapping another, opening a drop-down menu, then click on Group.

    ID16

    This groups your lines / shapes together, so that when we move or rotate this selection (which we're about to do), all of these assets travel and move together. Now with every piece of Owly's eyebrow selected and grouped, copy and paste a second eyebrow onto the same layer.

    ID17

    Once pasted, click on the Ruler icon. On the bottom left of the drop-down menu, you should see two arrows pointing away from each other with a vertical line in between. Clicking this icon flips your selection horizontally. Now with two eyebrows on the screen, adjust them using the Selection tool so that they sit right above Owly's eyes.

    ID18

    We're getting there! Now lets give our feathered friend some eyes and eyelids. Using the pen tool with only a black stroke, draw two opposing diagonal lines on the top of Owly's eyeballs to get the ball rolling on giving him a nice Bill Murray / Slacker gaze.

    ID19

    To draw his eyes, first switch out your Stroke and Fill colors so that the stoke is now empty, and the fill is pitch black. Then select the Elipse tool (the circle icon in the middle of the toolbar on the left) and draw 2 black circles in the center of his eyes, these will be his pupils. If you keep two fingers on the screen when sizing out your circle, it keeps the proportions constrained allowing you to create a perfect circle. After doing so, switch the fill color to white and draw two smaller circles in the top right of his pupils so that he has a twinkle in his eye.

    ID20

    This is were I thought I was going to copy the eyelid lines and use the duplicates to cut off the top of the pupil so they look like they're behind the eyelids, using the Pathfinder tool. Unfortunately iDraw's Pathfinder tool works a little different than Illustrator's.

    What is a Pathfinder tool you might ask? Lets access iDraw's version of this tool to go over it.

    ID21

    Click on the overlapping rectangles on the top right and select Combine at the top of the drop-down menu. What you see above is the Pathfinder tool. This tool is used to combine or divide shapes that are selected in unison. I thought clicking Divide would cut my overlapping selections where they converged, but when I selected the eyelid lines and black circles to do just that, the eyelid lines would disappear and my black circles wouldn't slice.

    ID22

    I know I probably lost 90% of you when I mentioned this app cost $9, and another 9% of you bailed when it came time to draw the eyebrows. As for the remaining 1%... you rock!

    Just between you and me, I circumvented this issue by using my duplicated eyelid lines to draw full shapes. THEN I used the Pathfinder tool to cut the pupils! THEN I cut and pasted my sliced pupils back into my drawing!! THEN I deleted the leftover shapes!!! THEN I SWITCHED THE FILL TO BLACK!!! BOOYAH!

    ID23

    Where were we? Oh yeah, now that I adjusted my black circles to look like inset pupils in the most convoluted way possible, lets draw this fuzzy freaks bird beak and get this stupid App Review / "How To" over with. If you've followed this jumbled mess up until this point, your skill level in iDraw should be Wizard, so I don't have to go into detail anymore for you to know how to do anything (deal with it). To draw Owly's mouth, just draw an upside-down tear drop and a curved line on the right side for a smirk.

    ID24

    I can't tell if he's laughing at your for spending so much time reading this, or laughing at me for spending so much time writing it. Probably both. Finally, select the skull layer (remember that part of the article from 3 hours ago?) and use the Elipse tool to draw 3 circles for Owly's Mickey Mouse face-mask outline thingy.

    ID25

    Now select all three circles and merge them together using the Pathfinder tool and switch the fill to white and the stroke to black.

    ID26

    Now your done! Not if you're me though. I hate myself just enough where I feel like I need to add more to this Turd de Force. I mean, why stop now!?

    Owly

    Look at that smug bastard, he probably just punched the Paul Frank monkey in the face. But how does he look on wood, hmmmmmmmm?

    ID28

    Great! Now the review.

    RATING

    Yeah... it's that cool. Best $9 you'll ever spend. Seriously.

    I love vector illustration, and I went looking for the closest thing I could find to Adobe Illustrator on my iPad. While the actual name of the app itself might trick you into thinking it's banking on the whole lower case "i" prefix fad that most apps and gadgets use to sucker people out of money, I assure you this is the closest app with dignity you'll ever get to Illustrator. Best part is there's a desktop version of iDraw to use on your Mac.

    I highly recommend this app to budding young graphic artists. While most of you might not have the ends to fork over $400 for a legitimate copy of Illustrator, iDraw is a great, affordable way to get familiar with the incredibly steep learning curve that vector art requires. iDraw also allows you to export your images in a professional, universal format, such as PDFs, SVGs, PSDs, etc, as well as allowing the ability to set the DPI of the image so that you can print is as big (or small) as you like, should you choose to output a raster version of your work.

    While $9 for an app is a bit steep for most people, it's a measly pittance for those wanting to learn how to create vector based illustrations all wrapped up in a fun intuitive mobile app.

    For more information on iDraw for the iPad and Mac, please visit: http://www.indeeo.com/idraw/

  • COACHELLA WOOD PRINTS

    If I told you I put on a neru jacket and danced around in a kilt after drinking 12 beers when you asked me what I did this weekend, you'd probably recoil in disgust while clutching your valuables. If I told you I did the exact same thing, while adding "... at Coachella." at the end, then you'd probably just roll your eyes and think I was some sort of pretentious jerk with rich parents.

    C1

    What is Coachella you might ask? Well, if you're Vanessa Hudgens, it's an excuse to spend thousands of dollars on clothes that make you look like you were thrown out of a moving Volkswagen by a bunch of renegade hipsters into a Plato's Closet parking lot.

    C2

    For the rest of us, it's an annual musical event held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Running strong for the better part of 12 years, Coachella has snowballed into a pop-culture juggernaut where everyday normal people (like Steve Ballmer) can rub elbows with a digital hologram of Tupac. (I'm still waiting for a digital hologram of Freddie Mercury.)

    C3

    This annual event marks a momentous occasion for Prints On Wood. Not because we can afford tickets to go to Coachella, but because we get to experience the next best thing... a relaxing month long flurry of printing wooden signs for the event!

    C4Not Pictured Above: The Descendents

    That's right, in addition to the standard throngs of people who think the Ramones and the Misfits are a brand (and not a band), this year, our wood prints will also be in attendance at Coachella! Sure, it might not be as exciting and glamorous as Katy Perry glowing from a light glistening of sweat in her revealing summer outfit, but... aw hell, there's no point here. I just wanted an excuse to show a picture of Katy at Coachella this year for all you greasy neckbeards!

    C5That is until I got an intimidating phone call from Getty Images. ;(

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    For more info on the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, please visit: http://www.coachella.com/

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: TOBE FONSECA

    If you've cracked open an Urban Outfitters catalog lately, you probably already know that Beards are kind of a big deal right now. As a dirty old man, I remember a time when having excessive facial hair was looked down upon by both women and potential job employers. Back then, having a beard symbolized how much of a Salty Sea Captain / ZZ-Top Guitarist / Wandering Vagrant / Hasidic Rabbi you were.

    These luscious locks of chin hair were not grown my friend, they were earned. Seeing a man with a beard meant that he had an important life story to tell. Unfortunately, beards have become more of a fashion accessory and less of a status symbol. But legend has it that one man in recent times earned his whiskers through performing noble deeds, rolling up the sleeves of his plaid shirt, and looking like an all around Boss... that man is Tobe Fonseca.

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    tf

    POW: American television portrays Brazil as a magical land full of bikinis, beaches, and beautiful people. When I asked my Mom if this was accurate when she visited Rio de Janeiro, she said that it's completely different in person (but I think her opinion might be a little biased because she wants me to marry a nice Costa Rican girl), although I noticed when looking at your artist profile, you appear to be an incredibly handsome dude (but my opinion might be a little biased because we both have awesome beards).

    As a Brazilian native with intimate knowledge of this wonderful country... is my Mom a big fat liar?

    TOBE: LOL! I don't remember another interview that made me laugh so hard in the first question! Good start! Brazil is a really big country, so we have this side full of bikinis and "caipirinhas" and all the beach vibe but we're diverse. Here where I live there used to be tons of Germans and Italians imigrants so we are a bit different. Here we prefer beer, wine, reading books next to the fireplace (yes, I live in the south so It's really cold here in the winter, it even snows). So It's the main reason to have a beard! And - as we know - beards are awesome, everyone should grow one! Except my mom, and probably yours too. Well, you get it!

    tf1MONDAY by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: A great deal of your portfolio has a very strong musical theme, showcasing artistic representations of instruments, album covers, and musical notes. When illustrating, what type of music (or bands) would you say inspire you the most during your creative process?

    TOBE: To be honest I'm not much eclectic, I don't hate any kind of music but I have my favorites and I stick to them like forever. Gavin DeGraw, Birdy, Gabrielle Aplin, Keane over and over. I have no problem in listening to some other artists but those, year after year, are still in my playlist.

    tf2LISTENING TO MY SONG by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: When visiting your profile on some well known Print On Demand sites, I noticed that even though you have several successful submissions, there's literally hundreds of designs you've submitted that didn't seem to resonate with voters (even though they're all really cool). How do you keep from getting discouraged when dealing with the submission process when there are times when you put in so much, and get back so little?

    TOBE:  Because with time I learned to have a process. I create a design and I know that even if it's good, the site may not have space for it in that time, so I have to move to the next site. Sometimes it is hard when it gets an awesome score, but it doesn't get picked...But when you send a work for a site like this you have to understand the mechanics. I know about 50 sites that pick works like this, so... Persistence is the key.

    tf3TOOTHED SABER TIGER by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: As a freelance artist with a long list of impressive clients, what advice would you impart with younger Graphic Designer's apprehensive about taking the plunge into self-employment?

    TOBE: Create. Show your work in every place you can, make contacts with other illustrators and create as much as you can to stay sharp. To be honest I'm still figuring it out but It's a good base.

    tf4CHOICES by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: What's up with all the bears and cats? Is it because your kind of furry yourself?

    TOBE: Hahaha, probably! I have a cat called Tiger and he is always around so It may inspire me. My dad has an impressive beard so I think it's a family thing.

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    To learn more about Tobe Fronseca and his sweet beard, visit his website at: http://cargocollective.com/tobefonseca

  • GALLERY 1988: 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW

    g19881

    If you're near Melrose this Friday (April 11th), then we suggest you stop being lame and swing by Gallery 1988's 10th Anniversary Show: The Subtle Art Of Pop-Culture. This show is going to be so cool, all of our friends are going to be there, and by friends we mean our POW gallery artists!

    We highly recommend seeking out the art of Jimbot, Cuddly Rigor Mortis, Megan Majewski, and Ruel Pascual. We don't know who or what they've painted, but my money's on some sort of quasi-offensive picture showcasing our most beloved cartoon characters doing something questionable! :O

    After indulging your eyes on this all you can eat visual feast, I highly recommend a visit to Pink's and pamper your insides by ordering one of their world famous chili-dogs. Who knows, if you're lucky enough, you might just end up seeing Brad Pitt getting kidnapped. (They also got veggie-dogs for all you weirdos.)

    For more information on this event, please visit: http://nineteeneightyeight.com/

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