screen prints

your moment of zen : illustration resources and whatnot

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New Poster: John Prine at the Warfield

Friendlies, 

it's always cool to get a phone call out of the blue from a record company. I got one of these calls a few weeks back from Oh Boy Records, John Prine's record label, out of Nashville, Tennessee. The fellow on the phone told me that Mr. Prine is touring for his new record The Tree of Forgiveness (get yourself a copy here), and he asked me to create an image for his upcoming show at the Warfield. 

He said something about a tree in heaven that doubles as a bar. I was thinking about a recent trip to a friend's property close to the Sonoma Coast, where we sat under this lovely old oak tree. So I used her as the basis of the sketch. 

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Here's the final below. I'm pretty happy with it. 

 Here's the final. 
 Here are some images of the printed poster courtesy  End Hymns  Printing Company.

Here are some images of the printed poster courtesy End Hymns Printing Company.

I have a funny history with John Prine; I was asked to create a John Prine poster for a Fillmore show some years back, and our band covers one of his songs that he sings with Iris DeMent. See the video for that song below as well as a cool little film about the new record.

Honey, we're the big door prize. x

Queen For Two Weeks: Book

Friendlies: are you sitting comfortably? Good. Let me tell you a story.

Back in 2011 (my, how time flies), Jim Winters and I set out to make a follow-up book to his artists' book Queen for a Day. Jim Worked up a set of coats-of-arms, and I did portraits of my favorite queens. We hand printed the whole shebang at Inky Oxnard Studios on Rives BFK and trimmed and glued the prints into accordion-folded books. Behold.

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On the left, my queens (interspersed with Jim's coats-of-arms) :

The B-52's. Siouxsie Sioux. Elizabeth Taylor from the movie Boom. Lynda Barry. Helen Lawson from the movie Valley of the Dolls. Pepper LaBeija. Rosalind Russell from Auntie Mame.

If you don't know who they are, then you haven't lived.

These are the colorful, talented, quirky, smart-as-a-whip ladies who inspire me to keep on making stuff every day.

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My thanks.

SOMEWAGS at Glama-Rama Salon

Friendlies, I'm very excited. SomeWags has been printed, prepped, and hung on the walls of the oh-so-pink-and-pretty Glama-Rama Salon and Gallery in Oakland. The opening is this Saturday night, October 17, from 6-9 pm. The address is 6399 Telegraph Avenue near the corner of Alcatraz. It should be a hoot. I think there will be a short set of music by our band Special Ghosts (featuring AJ Pinecone and Isabel Samaras), as well as some uke and singing by my nephew Kellen Wertz. Punch and Pie! This is a show of new two-color screenprints created with paper stencils under a big tent on my back deck. PRINTING IN HEAT AND WIND CHALLENGE: ACCEPTED. To see some snaps of the work in progress, head over to m'Instergrahams to see #somewags in action.

See you there?

xm

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somewags

Campout 11 Poster in the Shop! Plus HUGE POSTER SALE!

Friendlies, please know that the Campout 11 Poster for 2015 is now available for sale in the shop. Also! Also! AND! I just cut the prices of MOST of the posters in the shop by HALF. I need to make room in the flat files. It's gettin' crowded in there, and we have lots more posters on the way. So! Point your glowing boxes over to the shop, have a gander, and drop some coins. You'll be glad you did.

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Interview: Nat Swope, Bloom Press

This month's interview is with Nat Swope from Bloom Screen Printing in Oakland. Nat was kind enough to give us an interview (in between running his shop, teaching classes, and little league with his kid). Nat and I work on a few projects a year together for clients who need multiple prints, and he always does an amazing job. Q: Hi, Nat. How are you?

Doing fine, thanks.

Q: How did you first learn to screenprint?

My aunt Mary, who is an artist and art teacher, gave me a rudimentary introduction to it. I had already figured out stencils, cutting frisket, so screen printing made sense. A little bit later I got a job printing shirts. That's how I learned about production, on the clock. I didn't go to art school. I was into photography so exposing screens photographically was pretty exciting. This was the late '80's/early '90's so I caught the tail end of paste up before computers really came into play, which I always thought was helpful later on. Most art departments back then were still using copy cameras and rubylith. But the short answer is I learned how to screen print the same way you learn how to do anything: by doing it over and over again. The other thing that really accelerated the learning process was printing for other people. It led me down a lot of roads I would never have gone down had I only been doing my own work. Getting a glimpse into other people's processes has been invaluable.

Q: What about screenprinting gives you that special feeling inside?

Screen printing is a bit like assembling a puzzle and I like that. I like graphics and flat, clean color. I like paper. If things are going well it can be meditative and rhythmic. At this point though it's really about the people I'm working with. I've been lucky to work with a lot of people I genuinely admire.

Q: Can you tell me a few of your favorite clients?

Too many to name and I don't want to leave anyone out.

(book by Michael Bartalos)

Q: When a new client comes to you, what do you ask them?

Can I see a file before we talk about cost and deadlines?

Q: What's your favorite kind of job to print?

Again, it's the people I'm working with that matters the most. I like seeing what gets them excited. Often the client is responding to something I'm not really thinking about. My concerns are usually technical. I'm in problem solving mode and the artist is usually operating on a more emotional, gut level--do I like how it feels?

Q: Is there a kind of image that is _not_ served by being screenprinted?

Well, it has to be designed with the medium in mind. It's a flexible process but it can be unforgiving. If you don't understand spot color and key line you're going to have a hard time. Not everything has to be simple spot and trap, like a coloring book, but if you don't at least understand those things you're in for a rough ride. Less is more. It's also a fine line between surrendering to the process and being particular about certain things. Choose your battles. It's good to aim for perfect but perfection is unattainable. And boring.

Q: I know you used to have a machine-run press, but you gave it up to focus on hand work. What about doing all your prints by hand appeals to you?

Autos are great and there is nothing inherently better about things made by hand. Part of what I like about screen printing is that it is mechanical and I do not fetishize the hand made. The machine just kind of turned my studio into a factory and I just didn't really like it. I have more room to maneuver in my small space now.

**

Thanks again to Nat Swope. If you want to see some of the work in person (and take some goodies home as well), visit Bloom Press (2310 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland) on May 3 during First Friday.

(clockwise from upper left: Steven Harrington, Will Adler, Nat Russell, PoorNo Graphics/Homer Flynn)

Subscribe to the Wertzeen

Friendlies: I'm attempting a little experiment over here. We (the royal we) have created a monthly inbox zine called Wertzeen. If you sign up, it will arrive, like a magic mist, in your email inbox. Once a month, and no more than once a month. It is a zine without the paper: a zeen. We’ll keep you informed not just of our illustrative scribblings and meanderings but also of the happenings of the Bay Area creative community. It will be good fun, and it means you no harm. It is free and easy. If this interests you, click on over to this page.

I'm posting issue #001 tomorrow, and I can't wait.

wzeen

xm

special ghosts at the burlington hotel

friendlies, our little uke band special ghosts (it's andy, isabel, and yours truly) is playing the burlington hotel on july 18th. if you haven't been to port costa yet, it's time to treat yourself. be sure to have dinner at the bull valley roadhouse before the show.

here's a flyer, and some images of isabel and i screenprinting little stuffed ghost pillows for sale at the show. thanks to bloom press for hosting.

xm

The Elsewhere Philatelic Society (this weekend)

Friends, There is an Elsewhere Philatelic Society event happening in Oakland beginning this Saturday. It is at the Naming Gallery, which is located at 335 15th Street. The gallery will be showing the Elsewhere Philatelic Society's various creations during these times:

Saturday June 7th - 11am to 11pm Sunday June 8th - 11am to 4pm Wednesday June 11th - 11am to 6pm

Closing reception: Wednesday June 11th 6:03pm-8:30pm at least, perhaps longer.

Please no earlybirds.

As mentioned before, on Saturday there will be gold EPS logo silkscreening starting at noon and on the hour. Bring a shirt or paper or something else flat and big enough to accommodate the circular seal (13 1/2" x 14"). Black works well.

Bring your shiny thing of great import. If you do not know what that is, you probably do not have one. The nook will tell you more, once it is up (which should be rather soon).

Bring a quarter ($0.25). There is a quarter disposal receptacle on display at the gallery.

If you have a cellular telephone, make sure that it is fully charged. If you have headphones, that would also be beneficial.

See you then.

the day lassie went to the moon poster : in the shop!

Dear Friends of Music, this is a project that I've been working on for a while now, and I'm glad to finally see it on paper. David Lowery from Camper Van Beethoven asked if I'd consider making the song The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon (one of my favorites) into a kid's book, and I thought it was a great idea for a poster as well as a book (the book is still to come!). Well, a bunch of hours of sketching, drawing, and printing later, here she is. Have a gander, and if you'd like, head over to the shop to buy yourself one. Printed with love by yours truly at Bloom Press in Oakland with the kind assistance of Nat Swope.

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xm

2014 calendars in the shop

Friendlies, the 2014 calendars are here & up for sale in the shop. This calendar is a collection of screenprints I've made since 2003. Also in the shop you'll find both the winter tour posters I just completed for the CVB/Cracker family. Enjoy!

Thank you and hugs: Carolee, Wayne, Isabel, Kristy, Nat Swope at Bloom Press. Big thanks to my sister Julie Wertz for making this happen every year, and to the fine folks at Lee Wood Press in San Francisco for the amazing printing job (as usual).

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xm

Campout 9 Poster Design

Hello Friendlies, Campout 9 is upon us. Here's the poster I just finished. Stay tuned for the printed version. This was a meditation on an upcoming birthday, on the death of the glaciers, on the old traditions and religions. Remember when rock and roll used to be dangerous? Apparently a 9 enneagram is "the peacemaker". That sounds good to me.

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xxm