I'm excited to introduce a new line of products available here at Beast USA. 3 different hand printed cards are officially available on this website. Like our shirts, they are hand drawn and printed using the finest american ingredients. I hope you enjoy!
I recently created a 6-color screen printed poster with artist/ friend Simone Thornton. The print is depicting a fantastical pool party made up of weird characters from our awesome brains! Simone was visiting from San Francisco and during her time in Milwaukee we collaborated not only on this poster but on the newest Beast USA shirt, Batch 13 (The Fish). You can find the poster here on Kickstarter for the next 39 days!
Simone and I went to art school together in Baltimore at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). We also studied abroad together in Wroclaw, Poland where we did some printmaking, fumbled the Polish language on a daily basis and tried some tasty Polish intoxicants.
In our final year at MICA we put together a student run organization called the Mustache Awareness Club (MAC). Our basic idea was: 1. to get money from the school for our club 2. to make hand-printed posters with that money 3. to staple those posters up around campus 4. to sell the extra posters to raise extra money for our group and 5. with that extra money throw a free blow out party for everyone at the school that came to the party with a mustache.
Every week we made a different poster propagating our club with ridiculous imagery and in most cases our weekly offerings didn't have a clear message (but that didn't matter because the posters were awesome). The uniqueness of the posters, the playful spirit they embodied, the care in which they were made and probably the fact they were free may have been some of the reasons why people quickly started collecting them. A few months after we started, we were finding that our posters wouldn't make it more than 24 hours before they disappeared from campus. So we started peppering the posters to the bulletin boards with as many as 30 staples. The heavy duty kind too!
Besides making posters, we set up events where we gave away packets of drawings, helium filled balloons and candy to people that signed up for our club. The more people that signed up, the more money we would receive from the school. We ended up getting about 500 members to our club which was over 1/3 of the school making the MAC the biggest club in the school's history (the previous biggest club was the MICA gun club).
We ended up raising enough money through our poster sales to rent a massive warehouse space off campus to throw that free blow out party we dreamt of in the beginning. We rented a killer PA system, hired some of Bmore's best DJs, got four half barrels of.. cough.. soda.. wink :). The party was shut down early but ended up being legendary. More than 400 guests came brandishing 400 cleverly displayed upper lip fashions. We probably will never know how close we were to getting expelled for our direct disobedience and misconduct as a school sanctioned club. The truth is, we were able to connect the student community together in a positive way with art and friendship.
We graduated 7 years ago and it's been that long since Simone and I made a print together. The "Pool Party" poster is one of the best things we've ever made together and I believe best is yet to come. Hopefully with this kickstarter we'll be able to fund future collaborations so we can continue to share our unique sensibilities and strange imaginations with people that also dig it.
Wow, has it been since September?! I'm to make an impromptu summer resolution to blog more. There's so much amazing stuff going on with Beast USA, it's a crime to let it fall through the cracks.
So today, CLAW CLAW Design Studio posted an interview about Beast USA. It was my first interview about the company which was quite exciting. It was a fun experience and I'm happy to share it will all you fine folks.
CLAW CLAW is a killer site if you're into sweet artists that are in the business of making rad work from inside their huge brains. That sentence goes out to my buddy Chad.
Special thanks to Ray and Shanon from CLAW CLAW.
This last Monday I made a hike up to Baraboo, WI to check out the Circus World Museum. The reason for the field trip was 75% hunting for vintage circus imagery, 20% fun and 5% cotton candy. I didn't really know what to expect and my socks were blown clean off almost immediately after arriving.
The first exhibition I saw was a collection of framed circus posters that dated back as far the 1800's. Most of the sweet circus propaganda involved men taming beasts, death defying acrobatics and the coolest typefaces I've seen in a while.
I took hundreds of pictures but here are a few...
The poster above depicts the late great Gunther Gebel-Williams and one of his many Bengal Tigers. I watched a documentary on this legendary beast master and his circus acts were UNREAL. The man taught tigers to ride on the backs of horses, leopards to jump through rings of fire held by the teeth of tigers and I even saw an elephant catapult him into the air flipping and landing on the back of another elephant. I saw it with my own eyes and it was still tough to believe.
Another cool part my visit was checking out all the elaborate circus wagons.
I believe the collection of circus wagons in the museum's possession is over 200. There weren't that many on display but there was definitely at least 50 from all over the world.
I can't say enough about the great experience that I had at the World Circus Museum. The collection of circus posters, wagons, photos and other objects described to me a wild world of great imagination. The whole time I was there I just imagined being child in a small rural town in the middle of America and seeing the circus for my first time and having my life change dramatically in that moment.
This was one of the most inspiring museum experiences I've ever had in my whole life (it probably helped that I went on a monday and there were only 5 people at the place). Mission accomplished.
It feels like ages since I've crossed the state line of Wisconsin for an adventure. This past weekend I broke my traveling dry spell and found some excitement and relaxation in the old stomping grounds of the 1904 Worlds Fair. The reason for the trip was to rep Beast USA at the second annual Printbangerz Ball hosted by the world class artist and printmaking bad boy Tom Huck (founder of Evil Prints).
I arrived in St. Louis on Thursday just in time for happy hour with St. Louis homies, Amanda and Tanger. After some hugs and some beers we hit the town. The first order of business was checking in at the Evil Prints studio in the downtown. As I checked out the new Evil Prints digs I drank a ceremonial PBR tallboy. I finished it in the car on the way to dinner because it's totally legal (which I still can't believe).
After some amazing tacos, hot queso dip and a 3 pig burrito it was time to make some Beast USA buttons!
Cheers! There is nothing quite like making buttons and drinking New Glarus Spotted Cow on a Thursday night.
Friday was a day of sight seeing, artist lectures and free bowling.
I don't usually go out of my way to see zoo animals but St. Louis has arguably the best zoo in the country. I was told this before we entered and boy did it live up to the hype.
Sea lions and penguins.... Yes!!! The lions, jaguars and the rest of the big cats were all sleeping unfortunately. There faces will look sweet on a shirt someday.. cough, cough, batch 8, cough.
So Saturday was the big event. It was the Printbangerz Art Market at the Atomic Cowboy bar. We were told to arrive at 11 to start setting up our displays for the noon opening. I arrived just before and made myself helpful by setting up tables for the 40 or so artists that would be arriving before noon. One of the organizers hooked me up with a table in a shady spot for helping her with the set up. It was in the 80s without any cloud cover so the shade was priceless.
After I set up my table I walked around so see all the other vendors. There was so much amazing art everywhere and everyone was so nice to talk to. Unfortunately for everyone there were probably less than 50 people who came to check it out during the day. I still had fun and managed to sell enough shirts to pay for the trip.
When six hit, it was time for all of us small timers to make way for the big wigs who had tables during the night time festivities. There were a bunch of bands booked for the evening and the PBR was flowing like it does. The event got pretty sweet in the night time. Great music, a bon fire, tattooing and tons of awesome artists. I stayed until about 11 before I ran out of gas. Before i left I bought two sweet posters gig posters by two of my favorite bands.
I didn't originally have high expectations for the Printbangerz Ball but it turned out to be an amazing time. Meeting so many amazing people was for me the best part of the whole weekend. Thanks to Amanda and Tanger for putting me up in your amazing house. Until next time.
From now until August 31 I'll be showing work at the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee's Third Ward. The exhibition is titled The Beast Within: Images of Animals in Tattoo and Contemporary Art and I'm honored to be one artists in this amazing group show curated by Fred Stonehouse.
Check out this link for more info.
watercolor, screen print and graphite
watercolor, screen print and graphite
I don't know about you but I've always wanted a shirt with multiple Bald Eagle heads floating in space. This month my dream (and maybe yours) will come true with the release of Batch 7 (The Eagle Heads). 7 glorious domes of baldness with beaks coming soon.
Batch 7 will be available online at the end of the month. Stay tuned for more updates on facebook and twitter (@beastusashirts).