Friday, December 8, 2017

Art Posters Celebrate Our Amazing 59 National Parks.

59 Parks Print Series. Austin, TX.
59 Parks. Austin, TX.

Mondo just keeps CRUSHING it! This time with the 59 Parks touring poster show put on by The National Poster Retrospecticus, an internationally travelling poster show. Boy was this show fun! Although having seen many of these screenprinted posters at events like MondoCon, it was nice to finally see all the others that weren't available in my previous sightings. Needless to say I was stoked for this show and pumped to see a few other posters outside of the 59 Parks show, like Draplin's "Space Shuttle" (as seen below with DDC-166, my MondoCon 2017 pick-up).

Aaron Draplin's space shuttle.
FIRE! FIRE!


Deep Fried Frenz.
"A wizard, a videographer, and a comedic cyclist enter an art gallery..."

I invited my girlfriend and a few friends out to the show, including my homie Zero, fresh off the San Antonio taco truck and now biking through Austin with me. It was such a great feeling having my friends from different worlds finally come together and enjoy the night and each other's company amidst an amazing collection of posters.

My life is thankfully full of some really amazing people. Often these people exist as my friends independently of each other. I noticed this changes from your army of freinds who all know each other as you leave high school and then leave college. Your circles just get smaller and tighter and life keeps a small handful close to you, sometimes never overlapping but rather operating at different frequencies all together. And then sometimes the stars lineup for one night and we can all link up to enjoy some wonderful art together. What we like about each piece, what feelings they invoke within us, and so forth. Art shows with a lot of friends is always a great time. I'd argue even more than a night of boozin' collectively.

Lady Liberty. NYC, stand up!
Obsessed with the textures in some of these pieces. 

GANG GANG.
Poster gang.

NY to TX to AK.
Support the arts and support our public lands. #KeepItPublic

This show is easily one of my favorites of 2018. The amount of talent in these posters is so mind-boggling and super dope to see so many different approaches to landscapes and animals. On top of being such a great show, 5% of all sales from the 59 Parks Print Series will be directly donated to The National Parks Service in the effort to help them continue the great work they do preserving and protecting our public lands. Personally, I have been working on my own projects to celebrate our national parks and public lands with planned donations of my own and left this night with more inspiration to complete my series. Be on the lookout for that project early 2018.

Please remember that these lands were put here for us. For YOU. Definitely visit this show when it comes close to you and then make plans to visit one of these amazing landscapes so that you can see their beauty firsthand because no poster, no photo, no video, can accurately translate what these places are compared to physically being in them.

You just have to be there.

In the ever-changing and ass-backwards landscape that is politics, a recent presidential order threatens to significantly shrink two national monuments--Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante (both in Utah). Now more than ever, I urge you to visit these public spaces so that their importance can be experienced for yourself. So that you can experience their energy and beauty for yourself. If you are interested in joining the fight for keeping public lands public, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a great place to start.

Keep public lands in public hands.


Stay Creative and Stay Vigilante,
BLUE731.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Endless Inspiration of MondoCon 2017.

Retroband's MEATS. Austin, TX.
MEATS on deck at MondoCon 2017. Austin, TX.

This year I had the opportunity to return to MondoCon to check out some amazing work by an insanely talented list of creators. From Matt Taylor to Aaron Draplin to Unbox Industries, there was no shortage in diversity of amazing artists at MondoCon. Books, toys, patches, and a toooooooon of posters were all on display, ready to jump into attendees' eager hands. It's difficult to walk through the exhibit halls and leave without picking up some dope art or merch. 

Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything.
SOLID book for any designer or creator.

The man himself, Aaron James Draplin.
The GOAT, Mr. Draplin.

So proud if this dude. Aaron Moreno aka STNCL.07. SATX REPRESENT!
Whuddup Aaron! Whuddup MEATS!

MondoCon is an awesome way to be inspired and take that inspiration home to your own work. It's so cool to witness so many artists making connections with their fans and customers. This is easily my favorite part about cons--when you buy something from an artist you love, the creator will likely be the one selling it to you personally and take a few moments to chop it up with you. When was the last time your favorite camera company talked to you about your photography goals after you bought one of their lenses? As artistic as cameras [and other areas of machinery and electronics] are, the "art world" is just different. And this is why I love being a part of it, as a participator, as well as a patron. Making connections with people directly in relation to my creations is one of the most inspiring parts about making art, making things. I'm all for building bridges.

Francesco Francavilla killing it.
Francesco Francavilla drawing/painting on a poster for a fan.

RAAAAWWWR! LOL.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop!
S/O to the Industry homies.

Thanks again to the staff at Mondo for allowing me to come make some photos and see some pretty amazing work. I definitely left here with new inspirations and some cool merch to boot.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Live From The Stage: Ms. Lauryn Hill & Nas - Pt. 2

Nas. Austin, TX.
Nas performing for the PowerNomics Tour with Lauryn Hill. Austin, TX.

There's something aesthetically pleasing about black & white imagery that gives off a much different feel from color. For myself, making black & white photos produces a great challenge in focusing more on the technical aspects of an image that can easily be lost in color. Shooting in this manner forces me to pay heavy attention to light and shadows when composing images. Although I always shoot in color, often in many of my photos I compose them in such a way that I know will translate into the black & white vision I see in my brain. These photos from the Nas and Lauryn Hill show a couple weeks back are prime examples of manipulating light over color. These images are a bit heavier in power and emotion versus my color set from this show. I hope you all enjoy a more artistic and classical approach to the show.

Cheers!


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Chronixx.

Chronixx bass player pumping in the lows.
Chronixx had a great live band.

Fuck 'em.

Nas, forever Illmatic.

Nas performing live at COTA.
"If hip hop should die before I wake..."

The great Lauryn Hill.

Miseducation.
L-Boogie in the house.

Lauryn Hill's backup singers doing a great job.

Ms. Lauryn Hill crushing it in Austin.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fractions.

This line ended with a sick pole jammer. Austin, TX.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Live From The Stage: Ms. Lauryn Hill & Nas - Pt. 1

Ms. Lauryn Hill. Austin, TX.
Lauryn Hill crushing it at the Austin360 Amphitheater. Austin, TX.

La-la-la-laa...

It doesn't get much more legendary than this. Two absolute icons in the hip hop game came together for one of the biggest tours of the year. The incredible, powerful Ms. Lauryn Hill and one of hip hop's biggest influences, Nas, stopped through Austin to bless us with the light that only these two can bring. Witnessing either of these MCs perform is a rare sight itself. But seeing them both on one tour (that isn't a festival) is about as rare as any OG streetwear collaboration you could imagine. When I got news I would have this opportunity, I was absolutely floored.

OG-triple-OG, Nas.

Ether.
Legendary.

After the opening performers, the energy in the photo pit was rather palpable. I was pretty calm for the entire night right up until the lights began to dim and Nas was introduced. Like most hip hop for myself, I found Nas pretty late in my life. I grew up on heavy metal and rap. Hip hop was introduced to me toward the end of high school and is an entirely different genre that [I will argue with anyone] is not parallel with rap, regardless of any similarities. They're just different. Nas is a pioneer that helped define the genre for what is is--pure, raw, and intellectual. Not to say rap doesn't have individuals who approach the mic in a similar way, MCs are just a different breed in comparison to most rappers.

If hip hop should die before I wake...

Watching Nas perform was interesting for many reasons. I am always amazed to see who still has it as these musicians and I grow older. Nas hasn't lost a step. Albeit my first time seeing him live, it was easy to see that Nas has not lost his fire in age. He still has that grit. And he seems to have a lot of fun on stage while still delivering that punch fans are used to on wax. I knew this was a rare opportunity going in, so I made sure to make plenty of moments to witness this OG with my eyes rather than just through my lens. As a photographer in a photo pit, it's easy to get lost behind the viewfinder and miss the magic of a performance. I took a few moments to just watch Nas show us why he is a legend and why he is just so damn good on the mic.

Ms. Lauryn Hill's band gears up before she hit the stage.

The goddess, Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Enter Lauryn Hill.

A brand new challenge was presented to me prior to this show; although we were going to be given access to photograph the show, we had to photograph Ms. Hill specifically from the back of the house only, which meant I needed a telephoto lens. BRAND NEW territory for me. I'm used to street shooting more than anything, favoring wider lenses that force me to get closer to and interact with my subjects. As I began photographing more concerts on a professional level, I stayed rather close to the same focal lengths I have on the streets. So this was going to present new obstacles as I didn't have time to rent something and learn it; I had to figure out the nuances of a telephoto on-the-spot. Couple that with the nerves of photographing someone as historical as Lauryn Hill?--challenge accepted.

Great visual show.

Speechless.
Powerful L. Boogie. 

When I first heard Lauryn Hill, it was well after the Fugees and I'll be honest, I didn't even know who the Fugees were at the time. I just new this woman had an amazing voice with a raw MC delivery unmatched by any other. Lauryn Hill paved the way for many female MC's and is a pioneer in her own right because of her musical pursuits and accomplishments. Strong women like this help open up many doors in once male-dominated industries. Through years of putting in creative work, paying dues, and not putting up with anyone's shit, Ms. Lauryn Hill made more than a name for herself--she cemented herself in the rich canon of hip hop history.

As I watched and photographed her show on this night, I couldn't help but stop and realize how fortunate I was to finally catch her live, let alone with my camera. This is about as rare as it gets. I want to always remember how fortunate I am in and outside of this brand. Awake & Moving has given me so many opportunities that vary, and this one certainly stands out among many of them. I will be sharing another, more artistic set from this show next week.

Getting more and more impressed with bands' visual portions of their live shows.

Thank you, Ms. Hill.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Photoshop Acquires Kyle T. Brushes with A Massive Update.

BLUE731. Austin, TX
Technically, still a WIP, but overall just about done.

In the summer of 2016 I purchased some pretty amazing digital brush sets for use in Photoshop from Kyle T. Webster, an award-winning illustrator and arguably the top gun in digital brush creators. Thanks to my buddy Sven who put me on game a while back, I was blown away with the tools I bought that are awesome in quality, super inexpensive, and also easy to use. A combination that doesn't happen often in any field. 

Fast forward to today where Adobe has acquired KyleBrush.com, bringing Kyle along as part of the Adobe team. This is HUUUUUGE! Working directly with Adobe is going to open up an entirely new realm of possibilities for Kyle and his digital brush creations and I am stoked to see where this goes. Adobe is always changing the game and expanding what we can do as creators, so I know this acquisition is going to be monumental. This new venture also includes these brushes as part of your Adobe CC subscription. You're welcome.

The image above was created using a hand drawn image I inked and then imported into Photoshop. From here I blocked some flat colors out and then laid my textures down through a mix of Kyle's brushes, some stuff from True Grit Texture Supply (a phenomenal set of tools for any digital artist), and some other Photoshop techniques I've learned and taught myself over the years. I found an old sticker of one of Ashley Wood's pieces that I used for inspiration in colors, trying to limit my color palette more than I normally do. This brought a new challenge to my digital colors and presented an experimental piece in the process. Mixing techniques and tools in search of harmony is no easy task, but I am happy how this one turned out. I created three colorways with a slight 3-D effect on the inks that can be seen on the Awake & Moving Instagram, @awakeandmoving. I want to add type to this as well, so we'll see how the finished piece pans out.

To all my digital creators, please check out these brushes once they start rolling out in Adobe CC, I guarantee you'll love them.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Live From The Stage: BANKS at Emo's.

BANKS. Austin, TX.
BANKS commanding the crowd.

There's never a shortage of music here in Austin, TX. Damn near every musical act you follow has either played here or will before the end of the year lol. Small time, big time, Austin welcomes musicians from all over the world to showcase their talents to the most willing and appreciative crowds. I've had the pleasure of seeing so many great acts here over the past ten years or so. Thankfully, in the past two years (give or take), I've also been able to photograph many of them.

Goddess.

In 2014 I stumbled across someone who performs under the name BANKS. There are a lot of bands and singers I can easily recall the exact moment and place I was when I first heard them. With BANKS, I do not have that memory. Chalk it up to an aging or overworked mind, I simply have no idea how I found this amazing voice. But I do know the second I heard her sing I was hooked 100%.

This is what it feels like.

BANKS banging out the power of music through voice.

Her first record Alibi is an amazing piece of art. The deep tones in the production of her music compliment her moody vocals quite well. I often find myself in a trance when I have this record playing through my ears, transposed to quite the eclectic spaces of my mind. BANKS' music is very emotionally driven with a very powerful delivery that is sure to touch something inside if you are willing to let her in.

The Altar.

Warm Water.

BANKS performs at Emo's in Austin, TX.

BANKS played an amazing set to a crowd who sang along with every song. Her stage presence is just as strange and entrancing as her music videos are. This is a bold statement, but BANKS can easily be the Madonna of the current generation. I guess that may be left up to debate (and to the short attention spans we seem to have today). Nevertheless, BANKS delivers a solid performance on wax as well as on stage. This show was one in particular where I did not mind a flood of red light throughout the venue. This is often an extreme pain in the ass to photograph, but it was so reminiscent of Alibi that I just soaked it in and enjoyed the show. If you were there, you felt the power in these moments and if you weren't, I hope these images do it some justice.

BANKS performs with dancers.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.