Saturday, January 16, 2010

Process/Review: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Seal is currently reading this book that she borrowed from a friend. Whether as a painter, a writer, or any kind of artist, we are constantly trying to communicate our vision. This book gives easy-to-read insight into why some ideas "stick" better than others and how we can use it to help us be more effective in our art. The two brothers Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book, have spent many years researching . . . why is it that we remember the latest fashion trend, or the workplace gossip . . . and urban legends, myths, and conspiracy theories spread faster than our memory of an important healthcare bill. This book is for anybody: an artist trying to appeal to a gallery, a parent trying to pass on an anecdote, a nonprofit trying to secure a grant. . .

You can find the book at any bookstore. I recommend used bookstores like Green Apple on Clement & 6th in SF.

Monkey + Seal know that successful branding is one of the most crucial elements of any successful business, so every little hint and trick helps. Especially as a collaborative creative team, Monkey and Seal have been struggling with our brand identity. While we each have our own distinct style (see below), we do try to keep our colors consistent for our promotional stuff, and we stamp our heads on everything and use the same font. However, in the next few months we are going to be developing more collaborative work - so keep your eyes peeled and good luck making things stick!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rough recipe - Vegan Hamburg Soup

So although the title seems pretty contradictory, Monkey + Seal got creative in the kitchen the other night and came up with this new tasty soup! While perhaps the photo doesn't really capture the full appetizing nature of this, we never cook for presentation, but for taste!

Monkey really missed French Onion Soup (one of his favorites when he ate meat), but after being vegetarian for the past couple of years, he hasn't tasted any in a long, long time. Thus, he figured he might simulate some of the pleasing qualities of the soup with this creation.

Since Monkey was trained in a Co-Op kitchen and learned how to cook by seasoning to taste, he never got the hang of writing down recipes - especially not exact quantities. So please bear with him as he (tries) to teach you how to cook this awesome vegan delight.

-4-5 cloves of garlic
-salt + pepper
-rosemary (or rosemary salt, yay!)
-vegan soy mozzarella
-1 big leek
-1 vegan beef patty (we used Morningstar Vegan Grillers)
-crap-load of vegetables (note: crapload is the technical term for a whole lot of stuff...we did a celerac root, a handful of chard, 4-5 small radishes, 1 large watermelon daikon, a head of broccoli, some carrots, and a small potato. You can really put whatever you want...think italian soups..)
-1 hamburger bun
-some pasta (1/4 to 1/3 pound of whatevs)

1. So in a soup-pot-thingy, boil some water and cook the pasta al dente (ie..almost cooked, but still pretty tough). Drain in a colander and set aside someplace. I'd also run some cold water on it so they don't all stick together.
2. Dump the water from the pot and dry it. Put some veggie oil in it and loosely chop the garlic cloves and leeks. Throw the garlic in first, let it cook a bit, then add the chopped leek. Stir so they don't burn. Once they're sorta cooked, add about 1/2 pot of water to the pot. Bring to a boil.
3. Chop the veggies (the smaller the quicker your soup will be done) and put them in according to how slowly they cook (the roots went in first, the leafy stuff later).
4. Season. Yes this is oversimplified, but you just take it as it goes. I used dried oregano and basil, and added about physically as much as the pepper and salt.
5. Let the veggies cook til they're as soft as you want them. Add in the pasta and turn down the head to medium (like a 3-4).
6. Tear up the hamburger bun into tiny pieces and mix them into the soup.
7. Slice the soy cheese into strips and lay them down on top of the soup. I kinda pushed them down just under the surface of the soup so they get nice and gooey, cuz I like cheese that way.
8. Once the cheese melts to your desired consistency, remove from heat, spoon into bowls, and serve!

The soup pot we make served two. Note that we ONLY ate soup for dinner (and an olive baguette from La Boulange) and also I am a ravenous beast that tends to have a hearty appetite. So, from what I've seen, if you're serving this as just part of a meal, then it can probably serve 6-8 small-medium eaters, or maybe 4 hungry souls.

Anyhoo, that's enough cooking with Monkey. Stay tuned for more art!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Screenprinting Squeegees!

So after a huge delay (that was unfortunately mostly Monkey's fault) he finally got his squeegees in. Monkey had previously been using the equipment at the Academy of Art, but now that he finished, he was slowly building up his collection of screens. However, he had forgotten that he needs squeegees as well, and the ones they sell at art stores by Speedball really just don't do the job properly.

So, he ordered some from Creative Screen Technologies in San Leandro (where he also got his screens) and due to a hectic work schedule, the squeegees were sent back to the manufacturer, then resent back = double shipping charge and an extra week and a half of delays.

On the good side, now all Monkey needs to do is get some heavy-duty screws for his clamps and he'll be back in action printing from home now!

Monkey is looking at a few options in SF to rent studio space, as having all the fancy equipment is nice, but at least he's made sure he can do it from home!