spring 2013

Monsters Ink: Announcing our May sketchXchange with Jolby

The 2013 sketchXchange roster has been packed with incredibly talented artists—and it’s only April. Well, we’re not letting up for a second! WeMake is happy to announce our May sketchXchange will be an evening with Jolby to discuss the process and creation of their newest children’s book, Monsters Under Bridges: Pacific NW Edition

Join us at the headquarters of our community partner, Sockeye, for an evening of sketching and inspiration from Josh Kenyon and Colby Nichols.

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, May 3, 2013

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE:  Sockeye, 240 N Broadway, Suite 301 (The Left Bank Building)

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a $5 donation is appreciated

REGISTRATION BEGINS:Friday April 26th at 9am

RSVP on Eventbrite

A lot can happen in a year! It’s hard to believe, but Jolby was our very first sketchXchange event way back in February 2012. Since then, the guys have been crazy busy and we want to hear what they’ve been up to. 

Jolby is a collaborative design and illustration studio based in Portland, Oregon. Founded by Josh Kenyon & Colby Nichols, the studio has definitely made its mark here in PDX and across the country. Their client list includes top brands like Disney, Intel, and Google as well as local favorites like Hopworks, Urban Airship, and XOXO.

We’re psyched to have you guys back for another sketchXchange. What have you been up to since the last time we saw you? What project was your favorite from the past year?

J: It’s crazy that it’s been a year! I feel like we’ve evolved a lot since then. When we spoke at the first sketchXchange we were doing a lot of illustration projects, but this last year we have been focusing our studio on taking more design work. We are doing a lot of branding work with a good mix of illustration projects as well. My favorite project was the branding we did for Brunch Box’s new restaurant (which opens in April).

You’re getting ready to release your next children’s book, “Monsters Under Bridges: Pacific NW Edition.” What can you tell us about it? Did you learn a lot about the publishing process after "The King’s 6th Finger" that was helpful for the new book?

C: Yes, our new book comes out on May 7th and we’re really excited for it to be out! The book is about the monsters that live under our bridges in the PNW and their unique habits and attributes. We got to work with our friend Rachel Roellke Coddington who wrote “The King’s Sixth Finger” and the book is being published by Sasquatch Press. I think the biggest thing we learned from our first book was how hard it is to sell and market a book on your own. 

J: That was the big reason for why we wanted to try working with a publisher on a title of our own. It was also great to have editors and people who really understand the children’s book market. It helped us shape the book better than we could have on our own.

A running theme through your recent presentations and workshops has been about collaboration. How do you collaborate when you’re sketching and developing initial ideas? Do you share everything you’re working on from the very beginning or do you take time to work on ideas individually before showing each other?

C: Collaboration is probably most evident in our sketching and conceptual phase. We really lean on each other to push the ideas and question what we are creating. There are times when I’ll sit on a sketch or an idea before sharing it with Josh, you know, until it’s just right. But, most of the time we share things immediately.

J: Every project we do, we start together. Even if it’s just talking about the project and then going off on our own to sketch, the communication is key for our process. We spend about 10 hours everyday together talking and working together. Then, we will go home and call each other to talk and show our ideas, too. We are always thinking about ideas and projects so collaboration and communication in our studio goes beyond what most people think of those processes. 

What do you do when you hit a creative block? Any tips or tricks for getting over that hump and back to work?

C: We talk, show each other what we are stuck on and see if the other can help us out of it. The two of us do this and our designer, Lea Loo as well. The three of us can stop what we are doing and just talk, sketch or help push the person that’s stuck. 

J: I would say that method works 90% of the time. Other times we do things like break boards, go get coffee, blast metal or just stop and joke for a bit (breaking boards is real life).

Are there any artists/designers/rad people who inspire you right now?  

C: Right now, I’m super stoked on this dude, Bee Teeth. I really like what he’s doing and his aesthetic. I also most recently finished a video game called Ni No Kuni by Studio Ghibli (a famous animation studio in Japan). The character and world design for the game were so good are really inspiring.

J:Geoff McFetridge is my ongoing inspiration. He recently spoke at The Walker Art Center and that talk has gotten me super pumped as of late. Also the chefs at Boxer Sushi. Might seem weird but the stuff that they are doing with sushi has really made me think about our work and how to push it. 

What advice would you give a new designer just starting out in the industry? Is there something you wish you’d known when you started?

J: Work really, really hard. This industry is amazing, but hard. You get out what you put in. Be confident but also willing to never stop learning. I wish we both would have taken some business classes, though. That side has been the hardest for us. I’m really glad that it has been the two of us being able to split the duties and learn together what it takes to run a business.   

C: I would say the first thing to do is to stop thinking of work as “work” and your life as a designer/creator will become 1,000 times easier. We’re all really fortunate to be doing what we do everyday and teaching yourself early on to stay humble and work hard will support you until the end of time.

Thanks, guys! We’re excited to have you back for another round of sketchXchange and to hear all about the new book. 

As always, space is limited for this event so make sure to grab a spot when registration opens on Monday, April 29th at 9am

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, May 3, 2013

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE:  Sockeye, 240 N Broadway, Suite 301 (The Left Bank Building)

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a $5 donation is appreciated

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Friday April 26th at 9am

RSVP on Eventbrite

SAVE THE DATE, sketchXchange with Gary Baseman!

WeMake is proud to host a night of process, art, and inspiration with Gary Baseman—artist, designer, painter, animator, toy designer, and TV/movie producer.

FRIDAY NIGHT June 7, 2013 at The Hollywood Theatre

Meet Gary in person, be inspired by his work, and peep inside his sketchbooks! Like always, attendees will participate in an informal sketchXchange throughout the night.

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Gary’s  work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, and Rolling Stone; and he designed the best-selling game “Cranium.” He created the three-time Emmy and BAFTA award-winning animation series, “Teacher’s Pet,” earning him credit as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Entertainment named by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. The Los Angeles Times has described his art as “adorably perverse,” humorously playful and dark, childlike but often with adult themes. His fine art has been displayed in galleries and museums in Brazil, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, and all over the United States. 

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Proceeds from this event will help our continuing efforts to give back to the community by supporting arts and music education. WeMake Celebrates, an interactive party celebrating design, art, and the spirit of community, it will be the big bash at the end of Design Week Portland, Saturday, October 12th at Sandbox Studio.

This year we will also contribute to digital learning with Hollywood Theatre’s Animate It!, a program that teaches the basics of stop motion animation to at-risk kids. 

Tickets will be available for purchase soon via The Hollywood Theatre box office. More info to come! 

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RECAP—Woodblock Chocolate Discovery Workshop

Check out a few photos and video from our first (and delicious) discovery workshop of 2013, at Woodblock Chocolate. We had an incredible turn out and walked away with many tasty treats.

Many thanks to Charley and Jessica Wheelock for opening their doors to our community of makers, and for teaching us about the incredible world of chocolate.

See more photos from the event on Facebook and Flicker.

Photos by Ethan Allen Smith.

Video by Robert Woodward.

Thoughtfully Energized, An Interview with Adam R Garcia

Please join us for a night of inspiration and a look into the sketchbooks of Adam Garcia of The Pressure. His client work includes, NIKE, Target, Nickelodeon, Fast Company, Studio on Fire, Good Magazine and much more.

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, April 5th

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE: The Left Bank Project, 240 N Broadway

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a $5 donation is appreciated

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Friday morning at 9am, March 29th

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite

I got to the building he told me to go to, but then realized he didn’t give me a studio number, and he wasn’t listed on the directory. Made me think he was under cover or something. So I called him and in a moment he rounded the corner with a huge smile, very warm and approachable as always. Nestled in the basement under Barista in The Pearl is B1, the collective studio of Adam Garcia of The Pressure and a few other Portland creatives. The place used to be rented to some hip hop dancers, complete with a bar and dance floor. I loved the name, B1. Yes technically it’s the name of the storage unit, but cleverly it’s also the studio name, and a perfect metaphor for Adam’s philosophies.

We got right to the interview and throughout our time together it was clear that Adam was someone who thinks things thru, jumps right in, and absorbs everything around him. His warm smile is genuine, and he has a magnetic kind of energy that makes you want to get to know him…and so I did.

YPE

You do a lot of collaboration work, how many of those projects are real work or have gotten you real work?

ARG

I don’t know, to me it’s all real work whether you get payed or not, it’s all from the same pool. Overall it’s hard to quantify what works turns into other work. It’s the work, and hopefully the work is good and that’s the bottom line. The thing that makes me want to work with you, is your energy. You’ve got to be easy to work with, and professional. The easy to work with part comes from collaboration, and putting the ego aside to make something great and smart.

I recently finished the project The Good Stuff, a promotional piece for Premier Press. I designed the system and the identity, and art directed 12 different artists to create pieces that showcased Premier’s processes and papers. I had to be tactile with who worked on it. I pulled people with the same mentality about collaboration as I have. Even though most of the work was by other people, it was about having vision and the energy to bring those people together. It all comes down to energy—being open to the world and people.

YPE

Tell me about your old graffiti days, did you use to do graffiti?

ARG

Yes, in the late 90’s—the whole hip-hop universe. I was a rapper and a promoter, and used to throw a lot of events. I was a breakdancer as well, my life was dancing. That’s all energy too.

YPE

You got to get up to get down.

ARG

Agreed. It’s all performance and exuding energy and that translated directly into design.

YPE

I have a soft heart for graffiti, it’s expression, how its evolved as a movement and art form. It influenced me to become a designer.

ARG

For me, in the design world I want to be involved in, the aesthetic of graffiti is not relevant, or would I like to introduce it to my work. I have evolved but the energy is still the same. I think what I learned from it was being part of the culture and community, it’s really aggressive and hard—people are incredibly critical. There’s always people starting. Those that are good, are good for certain reasons. It’s the consistent quality of work, pushing boundaries, and being good to people. There is something to the community and the hard critical culture of it that has translated to everything else I do. I don’t do it anymore, but I’ve learned from it.

In 1999 Steve Powers wrote the book, The Art of Getting Over. At that time there was this idea of getting up in graffiti—putting your name in so many places. He talked about the idea of getting over, and being original—pushing boundaries and doing things other people weren’t doing while being present all the time. I still think about that.

YPE

It’s the same rules for design.

ARG

Yeah, it’s not about getting over yourself—the idea is if you choose to play the game, in the community and the culture, there are certain kinds of rules. It’s like branding—What’s your USP as a human being in this community, what’s your story, how are you distinctive? There are a thousands of freelance designers out there, how do you set yourself apart and still be true to yourself and your clients. It’s like getting over. It’s a balance.

YPE

So you read a lot?

ARG

Yeah I read a lot. I read a lot of different kinds things. Right now I’m reading, How Music Works, by David Byrne. I’m also reading Blaise Pascal, Human Happiness. It’s from the 17th century, it’s all about happiness and brutally true things about being a human. I also read a lot of magazines.

Have you read, A Brief History of Thought, by Luc Ferry? It’s about the history of philosophy. He talks about the fear and says there are two ways people overcome fear in their life on a broad scale. The big fear is mortality, the other is the fear of leaving a legacy.

YPE

Do you believe in leaving a legacy?

ARG

Yeah maybe, it comes back to energy, sort of. I think a legacy doesn’t need to be an object, but energy and stories. It can also be children, thoughts or one kind act.

YPE

I love talking to you about life stuff and perspectives, they are so relevant to who we are as designers, and what influences us. What has influenced you as a designer.

ARG

I love studio’s that are multi-disciplinary. A lot of people might say you need to be specific, you can’t be a generalist in what you do. That just bores the shit out of me. I don’t think I could do it. When someone gets to your site and see’s a wide variety of work, and then you can talk about it and position it in ways that are palatable to them, they’ll understand you. I do a wide variety of work, because I have a wide variety of experience.

YPE

What’s the majority of your work? Mostly illustration, graphic design? What do people call you for?

ARG

Different relationships call for me for different things. At Nike, I’ve done some illustrations—T-shirt stuff, hand lettering and visual identity branding. For Target I’ve done illustration and art direction for motion design. The work I do for the agencies in Philly and New York is a mixture of type design, logos, and high level brand concepting. Then there’s local work for people and small businesses and my super fun personal projects and collaborations.

YPE

Your busy, busy with work but still maintaining your personal projects?

ARG

Yeah, that’s why I’m doing this, so I can create the work I want to create. Every single project I love. I don’t want to take on projects that I don’t want to work on ever.

Please join us for a night of inspiration and a look into the sketchbooks of Adam Garcia of The Pressure. His client work includes, NIKE, Target, Nickelodeon, Fast Company, Studio on Fire, Good Magazine and much more.

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, April 5th

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE: The Left Bank Project, 240 N Broadway

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a $5 donation is appreciated

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Friday morning at 9am, March 29th

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite

RECAP—sketchXchange with Adam Haynes at Nemo Design

It was a great time visiting Adam Haynes and Nemo Design for last months sketchXchange. Adam’s work is amazing, with such terrific detail! We were all blown away by his NIKE 6.0 series and his technique for creating these epic pieces. THANK YOU ADAM AND NEMO for a wonderful night of inspiration.

And thank you to our new media man Robert Woodward for this awesome video too!

You can see more photo’s here via Ethan Allen Smith.