summer 2014

Recap—sXc with Illustrator and Poster Designer Dan Stiles

On a rainy spring evening, it was a packed house at Tillamook Station to hear the talented Dan Stiles talking about his illustrative process, designing for print, and the poster design culture. Dan brought posters, fabric, and book designs showcasing the variety of clientele he works with and how he applies his distinct style to an array of concepts.

It truly was a treat interviewing Dan and learning about his career!mTake a look at the recap video and check out more photos on our Flickr page.

Many thanks to Ethan Allen Smith for photographing the event, Robert Woodward and Spencer Groshong for the recap video, and music by Podington Bear!

Pizza Friday—An Interview with Tom O'Toole & Thomas Bradley

Our July sketchXchange features two local young guns, Tom O’Toole & Thomas Bradley.  Both are illustrators, designers, and all around creatives who moonlight in their spare time as Pizza Friday. Their collaborative work is candid, humorous, and often type driven—with a little mischief thrown in on the side for kicks.

We hope you will join us for this special sXc with Tom & Thomas as they share with us their sketchboks and inspirations, and if your attending ICON8 come have a drink and draw with us!

When: Friday, July 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm

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

Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

Cost: $5 suggested donation at signup

Registration is now open!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Space is limited. Be sure to register early!

I love visiting studios of the artists we feature. The studio of Pizza Friday is not your average place, well maybe it is in a Portland way. Their studio is tucked away in the the 100+ year-old John Deere Plow Company building now know as the Portland Storage Company. Yep, a you-store-it building that also masquerades as art studios on various floors. Pizza Friday is located on the 7th floor and the freight elevator heading up is an experience all on it’s own. Once there, unit 7K stands out in a bold statement true of those behind the door.

I’ve known Tom for many year’s, but this was my first time to visit with Thomas and learn about the work they do together. Sitting side by side I could see how one compliments the other and although they are different there are many similarities—their names, their profession, and their history and influence in graffiti art.  

YPE How did you come up with the name Pizza Friday?

TB I think it was a combination of words that worked really nicely together, it evoked a sense of fun. We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously to begin with.

TT We have always had a similar sense of humor and have always talked about stuff typographically— we like good words, not because of their meaning but because they look good together or have certain connotations that we like. There was some conversations floating around on other words, but then it was oh fuck, Pizza Friday! That’s great. 

TB We made sure that we didn’t want this to have anything to do with pizza physically…but actually the first few meetings we did took place on Friday and pizza was involved.  

TO Everybody seams to have personal antidotes that are positive when it comes to Fridays and pizza. It’s just kind of a win win.

TB I would much more gravitate towards the vibe of Friday than pizza personally because Friday is wonderful but it also brings to mind a celebration. In the graphic design industry a lot of us work that 9-5 or more, Friday is something to look forward to.

TO Also pizza. Everyone has memories of being served pizza in elementary school on Fridays. Shit, you get pizza on Friday and you get the weekend.

YPE How long have you been Pizza Friday?

TB/ TO We’ve been doing projects together for six years. The first project we did together was a wedding invitation and then the collateral for Dig A Pony. We call ourselves an art gang because it’s a way of being less formal than being a studio or a company. It’s more organic and not that official. We just like to work together.

YPE How do you work full-time at your day job, then go to the studio to work afterwards?

TB Sometimes it’s great and other times we can’t be bothered to do it. There are only few occasions when we have to come in to get shit done. 

YPE Do you use the studio for other things beside design projects you’re working on together?

TO Yes, we both do personal projects and freelance work on top of all of our other “rent money” jobs. We also collaborate on projects with our other studio mates. We’ve done projects that involve apparel, products, and random shit. We work on the space together and also use it as an afterparty to hang out with friends sometimes.

TB Sometimes we just come up here at night, get weird, drink beers, and carry on.

TO That’s what the fog machine is for.

YPE How do you guys get projects together? Do you create projects to do?

TB A lot of times we will be asked to contribute to an art show or one of us will be asked to do something and it will end up being a collaborative piece because we’ll just talk about it together, then end up making it together.

TO There’s not really any hard and fast ways that it happens. It’s either somebody will come to us and want Pizza Friday to do something or someone will come to us individually and we will want it to be a Pizza Friday project. Or it will be one of our own projects and we just talk about it together so much that it will end up being a collaborative piece. We tend to do that often. Bouncing work and ideas off each other. It always ends up being a collaborative process even if it doesn’t end up being a PF production.

YPE Is that across the board for commercial work and fine art work? Are you mostly doing fine art or both?

TB We try to blur the lines between both when we get the chance. For instance, this weekend we just painted a massive mural for a client and that was a combination of both.

TO That was flexing fine art muscles for a commercial project which is obviously the most fun way you can combine the two.

TB We love finding excuses to get paid to make art and dick around. 

TO If it can come down to making letters and illustrating things and doing non-linear layout and graphic design we will absolutely do it. 

YPE What do you have to do to become a member? Is there an initiation into the art gang?

TO You just have to be our friend and want to do work with us, and we want to do work with you. All of our studio mates are honorary Pizza Friday members even if they are not on our website. 

YPE Have you ever thought about quitting your day job and doing this full-time?

TO We came to the conclusion that this is supposed to be the fun stuff—maybe it’s what our business model is.

YPE Yes, only work on fun stuff. 

Tom O’Toole’s full-time day gig is at Cinco Design where he works as a senior designer. His clientele includes working with VANS, Nike, and Cover Oregon to name a few. Thomas Bradley is currently working as an independent designer. His clients include NEMO, W+K, Roundhouse, Nike, Plazm and more.

Together they are Pizza Friday! They work on fun stuff that is type and illustration driven. Be sure to check out their shop for your Pizza Friday swag.

Some photos courtesy of Pizza Friday.

We hope you will join us for this special sXc with Tom & Thomas as they share with us their sketchbooks and inspirations!

When: Friday, July 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm

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

Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

Cost: $5 suggested donation at signup

Registration is now open!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Ink, Paper & Magic—An interview with Pinball Publishing founders Laura and Austin Whipple

Written by Chloe Miller

Housed in the cheerful yellow building on the corner of SE 10th and Grant is Pinball Publishing, a design, print and manufacturing facility, and home to Scout Books. Scout Books are customizable, pocket-sized notebooks that have taken on an array of forms – you’ve probably seen the 33 Books series at your favorite wine bar or bottle shop, or picked up a pack of blanks for your own doodles and grocery lists. Pinball also has an editorial design branch called Good Ink, and is home to Outpost, which produces custom screen printed wooden signage.

We’re excited to be taking a field trip to visit the Pinball team on Thursday, June 19. We’ll tour their facility, learn about what they produce and see our custom WeMake Scout Books being bound. Our summer workshop will start at the Commons Brewery for a quick tour and beverage, and then continue around the corner to Pinball. Participants will contribute a drawing which will be part of a collaborative cover on the books we take home!

Date: Thursday, June 19

Time: 6 to 9 p.m.

Registration begins at 5:30 at the Commons, located at 1810 SE 10th

Place: 1003 SE Grant Street

Cost: $20, includes custom Scout Book

Registration is open now, and space for this workshop is very limited.

How did Pinball get started?

Pinball Publishing grew out of our desire to be involved in our own design projects from conception to final printed manifestation. We were editing and designing a Literary Journal called “eye-rhyme” in the early 00s and wanted to print it ourselves. This desire to make our projects happen led to the investment in letterpress equipment, which then led to the commitment to leasing a commercial storefront on SE Clinton Street where Pinball was born. We’ve recognized this pattern of combining excitement and tangible commitments in our evolution as company. We call it the Project Practice. Pinball is really a series of ongoing projects, all rooted in the pairing of design and manufacturing.

What are your educational/creative backgrounds? When did you get involved in print?

Austin has a BA in Graphic Design from PSU, and I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Willamette University. I took graphic arts classes and journalism in junior high, and that was the extent of my “formal print training” until I took a letterpress class after college. Austin took on many print projects during high school and college, and taught himself screen printing, letterpress printing, and eventually offset printing, while studying graphic design. We got involved in print together when we bought our first two letterpresses and paper cutter, and started making projects.

Where did the idea for Scout Books come from?

Scout Books are pocket sized books and notebooks made with 100% recycled papers, vegetable based inks by the talented Scout Books team. We have a retail line and also offer customization through our “make your own” ordering process.

The original idea for Scout Books came during a research and development session in the winter of 2009. We were prototyping and testing print items that could work well with our equipment and take advantage of our favorite papers. We had been avid fans of chipboard since day one of Pinball Publishing. We knew that notebooks were experiencing a renewed popularity with the rise of Moleskine and other brands. We thought the world might like an option that was easy to customize and 100% recycled. As a business model, we knew from first hand experience that offering infinite variety with print formats, ink and paper options could lead to manufacturing headaches. So we wanted to have a fixed format to offer that was tested, flexible in application and efficient. We wanted guidelines.

Photo credit: Hannah Snow

We started sharing the initial samples (designed by our staff) with our friends and clients, and the business of Scout Books began by word of mouth. We added a dedicated website in 2010, and growth has been gradual over the past five years. At this point the business of Scout Books has overtaken our shop, and we now focus 90% of our time on Scout Books, and the other 10% on our custom sign business, Outpost and a few custom projects. Finding our focus was the best thing we could have done as a print based business.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a photographer for the National Geographic, and also a travel agent. Austin wanted to be a veterinarian. In some ways, we do get to those activities in our adult lives, which is funny and great. I typically book all the travel for the Scout Books team, have recently taken a bigger role in the photography needs for the business, and we have nine animals at home (3 chickens, 3 cats, 2 goats, and a new dog).

Why is Portland a good fit for your business?

Portland has a wonderful quality of life, and offers us infinite inspiration from the creative community. We have many talented friends and clients rooted here, and their successes have fueled our success and vice-versa. We’ve been assisted with grants, training opportunities, and loans over the years by many of the institutions in Portland, such as RACC, Literary Arts, Mercy Corps Northwest, The PDC, SBDC, and local banks like Albina. All of these resources have contributed to our ability to grow and thrive.

How do Scout Books facilitate making?

In my opinion, the best part about Scout Books is that people can “make their own” either through designing the artwork and content and having Scout Book manufacture the project for them, or by using our DIY line and customizing it with stamps, screen printing, letterpress or other methods.

Here are links to Case Studies showing all the amazing ways our clients use the Scout Book format.

Scout Books are fundamentally tools for encouraging and capturing creativity and ideas. It’s important to draw, write, sketch, and doodle with a pen or pencil on actual paper. Scout Books are the perfect companion to the creative process.

People say “print is dead”, what are your thoughts on this?

We don’t think that print is dead, but it’s certainly an industry in transition. We feel fortunate to have grown each year, and work hard to find new ways to make print relevant in a changing world. I think printing companies that are successful in today’s marketplace have been creative and nimble, and found ways to use the internet to their advantage.

Our goal with Scout Books was to augment the digital world with physical objects of lasting quality and usefulness. We created a simple ordering process that gives easy access into our Portland, OR based manufacturing. We print, bind and ship Scout Books using all American-made, 100% recycled papers and soy-based inks to our friends and clients worldwide.

The tangibility and beauty of print ensures its continued relevance, but its role and importance has shifted dramatically.

What do you make in your “free” time?

Right now, Austin’s building a wood working studio in our back yard, he’s also making dandelion wine, rose petal wine, and wild start bread. I’m growing a garden, making preserves, pickling, and taking photographs. We have two daughters, ages 5 and 8, and with them, we love to make messes.

Thanks for your time, Laura and Austin! Looking forward to visiting you later this month. Join us for an evening of paper, ink and magic!

Date: Thursday, June 19

Time: 6 to 9 p.m.

Registration begins at 5:30 at the Commons, located at 1810 SE 10th

Place: 1003 SE Grant Street

Cost: $20, includes custom Scout Book

Registration is now open.