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  • Lori Nelson and Mab Graves @ Corey Helford Gallery

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    Recently, Los Angeles' Corey Helford Gallery opened a pair of really great shows by some of today's leading female artisans including friends of POW, Mab Graves and Lori Nelson. On May 28th, Nelson debuted a solo exhbition titled "Cryptotweens Are Like," while Mab Graves showcased a series of her recent works within a three person group exhibition curated by artist Caro.

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    On the topic of her latest exhibition "Cryptotweens Are Like," Nelson shares:

    “I am focusing on a parallel world with mythological and magical almost-human creatures experiencing very human feelings and in recognizable earthly situations. I am drawn to adolescents as subjects because, for a brief time, they necessarily inhabit a land that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but rather a thorny connective forest that all must stumble through. Forests, we all know, though dangerous and spooky, can also be quite magical. In my recent work, I strive to show my human and semi-human subjects, my "Cryptotweens", in a precise instance where they are occupying this middle place, at once vulnerable and yet also experiencing power for the first time."

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    Nelson goes on to continue stating:

    "Many of the “Cryptotweens” in this exhibit wear ecstatic expressions on their faces reminiscent of the innocents and saints of traditional religious art when a veil has been lifted and knowledge and divine power revealed. It is this dual aspect of innocence and knowledge that for me defines tween and teenhood. It's a look that is not easily described and hence the title for this collection, "Cryptotweens Are Like". In my mind, the ending for that unfinished sentence would not be a word but rather something unspoken like a facial expression or gesture, an “emoji”, if you will, describing just what it is to be neither here nor there. I wish to capture the fleeting moment before the child emerges from the forest and reality and selfawareness sets upon her.”

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    On sight, Mab Graves' latest three person group exhibition revolves around an outwardly obvious topic: FOOD-- and angry food at that. "The Epicure and the Furious Food" further highlights Graves' unique ability to add character and personality to a number of subjects.

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    Her ability to straddle the world of cartoons, anthropomorphism and fine art act as a rarity in today's global art market. More than a quirky illustrator sporting a gaggle of paint brushes and pens, Mab Graves is a young artist whose knack for creating unique and recognizable contemporary pop surrealist paintings is undeniable.


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    Be sure to take a gander at our interview with the artist conducted at the 2015 DesignerCon aaaand keep your eyes peeled on a NEW and soon to be released Prints on Wood x Mab Graves collaboration to be announced in the coming days. Find out more by staying tuned to the POW blog here, and by following us on Twitter and Instagram today.

    Mab Graves Talks Origin Stories and the Dream World with POW


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  • Mab Graves Talks Origin Stories and the Dream World with POW

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    Mab Graves is one of those otherworldly, super rare –  yet very much in existence – people who you dream about living in a cotton candy houses and communing with squirrels. She is whimsical, humble and quirky to the most cavernous depths of her bones, all neatly packaged atop a pair of boots and with a pastel pink swirl of hair to seal the deal. The talented and accomplished young ethereal illustrator sat down for a Q&A about origin stories, the dream world and plans post-DCon.

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    So Mab, you have two Prints on Wood collaborations under your belt currently, both of which are in our view here at DCOn. Can you talk about those two pieces and their content?

    "The Entomologist's Daughter" is the special edition piece we did with a run of 20 prints. It was actually originally for a show in Australia that I did;  the theme was 'wilderness.' In working on the piece, I wanted to incorporate forest elements of course, but it's called "The Entomologist's Daughter" because the idea is that she's the little girl of a father who is an entomologist, someone who studies insects. I imagine she spends her days befriending the animals and not being afraid of bugs, because I know I was.

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    I really liked bugs when I was smaller. This for sure progressed into me eating a bug at some point though. 

    I still to this day have a fear of bugs. I don't know why –  especially cockroaches. I live in the city and it's basically the bug of the city. But yes, I love the idea of this little girl who understood bugs in a way that I don't, and who has this lack of fear which I definitely do have. So I think there was definitely a lot of that feeling going into it; I also just wanted to paint a kind of romantic, really pretty, medieval-colored, little fairy-tale child.

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    And this piece ["The Feral Exodus"] was for a show I did a couple of years ago called The Runaways. It was basically the story of the land where children go to when they run away. Some of the runaways are more feral than others, kind of like a Peter Pan or The Lost Boys.

    They all look very determined. 

    Yes. Yes, they're all heading somewhere. They all have some place to go. I also wanted the land to be a little bit strange though. There's not a lot of green. The trees are bare. There's strange animals like spider rabbits and cats with two tails roaming.

    Your character seems to come out a lot in your paintings, where as some artists are a little more detached or ambiguous with their work. Do you take note of this when creating? Is it important for you to feel reflected back in your work?

    You know it's funny. Sometimes I'll meet artists and be like. . .'huh, i wouldn't have expected that.' With me, I'm absolutely a part of my work. Sometimes, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm the only one whose face I can get to stay still, so I like accidentally end up in a lot pieces. But yes, my work is so much a part of my life and my thoughts. Most of my paintings come from dreams or strange ideas; it's just so much a part of me. It's actually hard for me to let them go. If I didn't have to survive, I would probably keep all of my paintings.

     Essentially, if you could stomach it, no one would probably even know you do this.

    Oh and they didn't! That's the strange part.

    What's the story behind that?

    I'd just always been told that being an artist is not a job and that it's not a good way to make a living; which is harsh, but true to an extent. I'd loved drawing and painting my whole life. I was just working as a bartender and I'd get off work and I'd go home to this little house I was renting which had a room upstairs that was always closed and it was just full, floor to ceiling, with paintings.

    Someone I knew found out about it and let a gallery know and they came and then did a show of the work. Things kind of took off. No one had seen my early work or beginning work, I was just kind of out of the closet as an artist at that point. This was about seven years ago.

    I'm from Indiana, so on the coasts, you have so much more of a scene and a culture. I didn't do a whole lot on line; I was just surviving and working. I didn't realize that there was this world happening, like this really healthy thriving scene where real people were actual artists.

    I used to be very afraid of [that idea] and being myself and would be very professional with what I was posting online. Now, I've gotten bolder and braver with sharing my personality and myself and people seem to really connect.

    You mentioned a lot of your paintings deriving from dreams. Do you always remember your dreams? What's the Dream World like for you?

    You know what, I don't always remember my dreams; but i do know my dreams are really funny. I wake myself up like three times a week laughing. My husband will try and wake me up, but I'm just totally preoccupied and laughing while trying to remember what the dream was about. But when I do remember dreams, it'll be of deep importance with a lot of symbolism and a lot of weird strange things. I'm also never myself in dreams; I'm often not even in them, just observing a story. Also when I dream, I'm a male. I'm a boy. . .in like all my dreams, which someone told me meant that I was a boy in a past life.

    Super bizarre, Mab. What do you have coming up after DCon. 

    I have a solo show in Philadelphia in April that I'm working on that'll take place at a gallery called Arch Enemy Arts and in May, I'll be back out here for a three-girl show at Corey Helford Gallery. I'm actually legitimately booked until 2018. I was hoping to take a vacation next year and I looked at my schedule and I basically can't; like i don't have a week.

    I'm so grateful though. In three years I could be bar-tending again, you never know.

    Keep up with Mabs on her Instagram linked in here, and stay tuned for more print releases to come.

  • POW x DesignerCon 2015

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    This weekend, the POW team soaked up our fair share of art appreciation and positive vibes while in lovely Pasadena, Ca attending the third annual DesignerCon.
    DCon brings together the who's who in the worlds of custom art, illustrations, apparel, miniatures, and all around exclusive finds. With over 70,000 sq. ft. and over 300 vendors to explore, this event is a yearly MUST for anyone intrigued by the design trade.

    2015 brought an all-star lineup to the convention overall, but the energy was well-felt over at booth #512. Several of our favorite artists came to hang out and sign prints; the roster included Mab Graves, Jermaine Rogers, Buff Monster, Camille Rose Garcia, Luke Chueh, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, Bioworkz, Joe Ledbetter and Jeff Soto.

    Over the two-day event, wood prints found new homes, laughs were shared, good times were had, but also photographed; and since photos are totally worth a thousand words, see below for visuals of DCon 2015 and be sure to check back soon for updates and interviews with Buff Monster, Mab Graves, KMNDZ, Jermaine Rogers and more!

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    Joe Ledbetter graced DCon with this wall installation, where a team of POW 1 of 1 prints hung out for the weekend. Below, see work from Ron English (left), KMNDZ (center) and Buff Monster (right).

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    Throughout the course of the event, KMNDZ live painted, shaping up a sweet tribute piece centered around some of our favorite characters and their original illustrator's noteworthy designs. Can you spot any?

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    Fans lined up for a chance to get a doodle from Mab Graves as soon as she entered the booth. The intoxicating, humorous and welcoming demeanor of the artist adds volumes to her dreamy illustrative appeal. Worth noting, the Indiana born artist's backstory into the art world is about as surreal as her paintings. We've got the proof.

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    Photographed here: Rock illustrator and man of many-a-positive vibes, Jermaine Rogers signing. prints of "The Exchange." Below, a look at his 1 of 1 large format print titled "Frida and Vincent."

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    Photographed here: Ron English's "Stormtrooper Grin."

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    Put Buff Monster at a booth for an hour with a Sharpie in hand and the people will come. After his signing, the busy man of melty talents sat down for a one-on-one conversation about his brand new book, the Renaissance era and why he paints melty things. Get the insight here.

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    Over Dcon weekend, Camille Rose Garcia talked art and inspiration with fans while signing prints, note pads and copies of her various books. With titles ranging from Tragic Kingdom, The Saddest Place on Earth and her latest, Mirror, Black Mirror, she brought the magical gloom in the most ingenious of ways. Filled with all-telling creatures, inquisitive spirits and a sense of macabre intrigue, her work is some of the most easily distinguishable in the dark arts.

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    Painter/designer Luke Chueh took time out to attract some star attention. A favorite of many intrigued by the areas of "lowbrow" pop art, he is beloved for his "Hello Lukey" reiteration among many other minimalist adaptations of familiar images.

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    Hundreds of these little guys found new homes over the weekend, with one of POW's biggest giveaways having taken place at DCon. Snapping a photo of the POW booth, posting it to Instagram, then tagging and hashtagging @PrintsonWood is all that was needed to talk away with one of these Jeff Soto owl prints. DCon attendees were given the opportunity to grab a print, then take it right behind the POW booth over to Jeff's to get it signed. Convenience at its finest.

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    Photographed here: 1 of 1 "Ornate Elephant" by Bioworkz. View all of Bioworkz work available through POW here.


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