Friday, July 2, 2010

Alien/ation - A Hyphen magazine/Paper Hat Production Art Riot Extravaganza!

Hey-ho everyone! As you probably know, Monkey + Seal also does business as Paper Hat Productions, which is our event organizing company. We're honored to be collaborating with Hyphen Magazine to put on their first ever Illustration show! Check out the details below for all the juicy info. We hope to see you there, and we'll be having a little table there with some of our stuff, as well as a bunch of new work on the gallery walls. Definitely say hi if you're able to make it!

ALIEN/ATION: An Illustration Show

Ever read an issue of Hyphen magazine and wondered about the amazing illustrations on print? Who is the artist and what was their inspiration? Hyphen magazine has partnered up with Paper Hat Productions to bring you a group show of game-changing illustrators and painters from all over the states in an Art Riot Extravaganza! Live painting! Drinks! DJs! Cupakes! If you miss this, you'll be kicking yourself the next day because this show is that special.

Saturday, July 10th

5:30 pm - Artist's Reception (free!)
7:00 pm - Art Riot Extravaganza

Space Gallery, 21+
1141 Polk St., San Francisco

$5 at the door
$15 includes a one year Hyphen sub (50% off!)

First 25 paid guests @ 7:00 pm get a free copy of Hyphen magazine + limited edition mystery swag

Danny Neece
Eve Skylar
Jon Stich
Jorge Mascarenhas
Joseph To
Kim Herbst
Rick Kitagawa
Rob Sato
Yoko Furusho

Participating featured artists

B-Haul (Dirty Dishes, Tasty)
Gordon Gartrell (Dirty Dishes)
Vegan cupcakes by Black Orchid Bakery

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Having an Online Presence

image: (c), image used without permission, but you should definitely check out the site - awesome comics!

If you want to get your work "out there" (and presumably viewed by lots and lots of interested parties), in this modern era of the internet, you have to have an online presence. If you google yourself, are you on the first page? Hopefully you are, but if you aren't, that is a goal you want to start working on.

Now you don't necessarily need to have your own website, but it's definitely ideal. However, if you don't have a handy-dandy web-editing program like Dreamweaver, you start talking html, php, xtml, etc., etc. and that gets costly either in education, time spent learning it, or paying someone to create your site.

Assuming you don't have the resources (yet) to build your own site, there are a lot of cool portfolio sites out there, but they don't offer a lot of customization. There's Coroflot, Carbonmade, deviantART, Behance, and many more, so definitely check them all out to see which one floats your boat (or create a portfolio on all of them - most of the big ones are totally free). You can also (less ideally) put your work up on blogger and keep it exclusively as a portfolio site.

Or, you can go to Escape from Illustration Island and check out this handy dandy tutorial to make your own portfolio site using Wordpress to make your own site. I highly recommend it, and wish that we would have read this before we built To give you a head's up on what we're eventually planning, we are going to eventually migrate to a wordpress-based site where our portfolios, blog, and shop are all nicely integrated into one big site. So if you can jump on the bandwagon of fancy wordpress users now, it's a great time to get started.

You also want to make a Facebook fan page for yourself. Ask your friends to like it and once you get to 100 fans you'll be able to get your own url! Snazzy, plus you can use it to send our messages to people who you know are interested in what you're up to!

We also highly recommend keeping a blog. This way your audience can learn more about you, and hopefully through interaction, you can learn more about them. Blogger, tumblr (great if you like short posts or just photos), and wordpress are probably the three biggest blogging platforms that we know of, but there are a lot out there.

Really, the most important lesson to take away here is that it is all about finding your audience, and the only way to do that is to put yourself out there. In whatever form works for you, make sure that you are putting yourself and your art out there, as you are doing a disservice to everyone by not sharing your unique, personal expression with the world!

Any other good venues to explore? Please share 'em in the comments!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rejection = Not so bad = Try again next time

Like most of us, there have been times Monkey + Seal have been rejected. Many of these times, it's not the end of the world. Even if you have been rejected, there's nothing wrong with rejection as long as you are using these setbacks as learning experiences to better your chances next time.

Monkey really wanted some Academy of Art University recognition, and the annual Spring Show is the best of the best of all student work. It is a juried show, with a jury that consists of both Academy faculty as well as outside professionals. Monkey, when he first started at Academy, decided he wanted to win Best of Show at one of the Spring Shows. He would have three chances to make it.

The first year, he submitted a portrait of Seal rendered in charcoal. Looking back, there were a lot of small technical mistakes, and those slight mistakes are the difference between Spring Show material and good student work.

The second year, he submitted a bunch of illustrations, paintings, and a screenprinted multimedia sculptural work to the Fine Art and Illustration departments. Out of a total of 10 pieces submitted, he again didn't make it.

The third and final chance, he submitted seven illustrations, a screenprinted book, and three paintings. One illustration made it, and his screenprinted book made it as well.

Monkey considers himself to be fortunate that he got anything in such a highly competitive show, but at the same time, he failed at winning the highly coveted and prestigious Best of Show Award. And this was it. After graduating, there would be no more chances of making it into the show, as only students are allowed to compete.

Monkey could have gotten depressed about the fact the failure, but instead he realized that his style of painting would never win any awards in a school that promotes classical realism. After some retrospection, Monkey really wanted recognition from an authority figure - and AAU happened to be the most authoritative figure at the time. So, Monkey has revised his goal - he'd now much rather focus on being featured in Juxtapoz, which is much more of his style, rather than trying to get a school that promotes a non-Monkey style to fall in with him.

Seal was recently reading a blog entry about Aaron Hartline, Woody and Buzz (Toy Story) animator for Pixar.

"The day I saw Toy Story was the day I knew I wanted to work for Pixar. Well, it ended up taking me 14 years to get my dream job. For a long time, I had a board so full of rejection letters next to my desk that they were literally falling on the ground because the pins couldn't hold that many papers layered over each other. But after a mile long of rejection letters, many demo reels, interviews that didn't pan out, and countless hours in front of a computer working on the next thing that might get me into Pixar, I'm actually animating a Buzz and Woody." - Aaron Hartline, Animation Tips & Tricks.

Keep in mind that no matter how bad you think it is, there's always a second chance, and many more after that, whether you can see it or not. As an artist, you have to constantly try and try again - rejection and failure are unfortunately a part of the livelihood of an visual artist. The thing is, you can't take it personally and you can use these as learning experiences as ways to step up your game.