Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Music in the Soul- DDark Hip Hop/MC Artist talks with Song River

Following Ddark and his passionate spirit for what he does automatically drew me to his distinct persona, presentation, and music. A true showman, with the flair markedly all his own. It wasn't too long ago I finally had the chance to sit down and chat with Ddark about his journey, music and the influences in the scene over in the UK.

Song River: Ddark you were hungry from an early age to create.  Can you recall what it was that sparked this passionate beat of music in you?

Ddark: Well, I started piano lessons at the age of five, which I pursued until I got to secondary school, where I started rapping/mcing and producing music electronically. I also touched on a few other instruments; guitar, drums and a bit of violin, since then I’ve never really stopped making music its always come as a natural thing for me I love it. 

From a young age I realized people liked the music I was doing and I was glad to share it with them.”- Ddark

Song: Who is Ddark? Share a bit about you, your philosophy, your likes and dislikes? 

Ddark: I’m an artist from the UK whose grown up in London, a place called Hackney, which is not the most wealthiest, but has a lot of cultures there, so I’ve seen and learned quite a lot. My philosophy on life is to work hard surround yourself with people who are positive, and to do the things in life that you love... as you only live once, so you got to enjoy it.

Song: In your early years what was influencing your direction in the UK? What was life like for you as a kid? 

Ddark: In the UK they play all genres of music on radio, TV etc., so I was hearing so much that has really influenced my music and me as an artist. I take elements from all genres I like and add them to my music, in my own way to create my sound, and I'd say that’s what makes me unique. 

Life as a kid was cool had some good friends, good laughs and had music too, I've always been able to build up a good name for myself through my music. From a young age I realized people liked the music I was doing and I was glad to share it with them.

Positivity is the way forward.”- Ddark

Song: You are undoubtedly a master marketer.  Your music, your face, your motion is seen daily as you interact with your fans (new and old) via social media, website, YouTube, merch, email subscription. In today's global market, how important is it to hit all forms of internet media? 

Ddark: I think its important if you want to keep track of your fans. I like to have a connection with my fans and make sure they can get access to my music and releases easily so I try to make sure my social media is tight.

Song: You cover a wide range of eclectic music styles, do you have a favorite you prefer to do?
Ddark: I’ve always loved all types of music so I take what I like from everything and craft it into my own pieces, I don’t have a favourite, I appreciate it all.

Song: Has their been a progression you feel in the UK that reflects the 21st century in music? 

Ddark: Yes of course, there’s always progression, amazing music out there, you just got to know where to find it, there’s so many new tools now to create music its cool.

Song: Does your style, flow different you think from western interpretation? 

Ddark: (Pauses) Ya, I'd say I’m unique from everyone else that raps/mc’s in the western world. I’ve always had my own edge and am not afraid to try new things, some people get it straight away, some don’t, but being unique is the best thing you could do, as in the long run its what stands out.

Song: Your music contains a positive message somewhere within it,  as I was listening to many of your tunes I didn't hear social negativity and class warfare nuances. Where do you look to for this positive forward moving motion? 

Ddark: Well, I've come from a place where there’s a lot of negativity, but chose to follow my own road and still discuss some of my experiences and temptations at the time. Positivity is the way forward, if you want to have a meaningful life and for great things to happen in your life. I surround myself with great positive people, family friends, and my mind set is that way so I’m always positive. have to do a lot of things yourself to move forward.”- Ddark

Song: Why did you decide to do Harlem Shake, as I looked into its history it seems it has taken multiple veins of interpretation. Talk about your tune and video Harlem Shake. 

Ddark: I had done Harlem Shake before the dance and all the hype had even started. (laughs) If you look at the date it was uploaded you can see the evidence. I loved the beat, so just threw some hardcore rhymes on it.

Song: I watched your video from the Camden BarFly. You put on quite an interactive show, working on pulling in your audience (even though at first I am not sure by looking at the video they knew what to do).  How do you work an audience, and bring them into you- Ddark?

Ddark: I like to talk to the audience, get them involved in the show, make sure everyone is having a good time. I feed off their energy and they feed off mine, so as long as I’m putting that out there I usually win the crowd over. I love performing live and being in front of the crowd, there’s nothing like it 

Song: You shout independence, in your creativity as you maintain control of each step you take.  What advice would you pass along to someone younger coming up? 

Ddark: To work very, very hard and that you have to do a lot of things yourself to move forward. If your not willing to do that, you can forget it. (laughs) Unless you get lucky and someone comes and does everything for you.

Song: You have a great singing voice, along with the ability to rattle words in a timely flow.  Can we expect a CD release soon? Tour to follow? 

Ddark: Ye, a CD is coming. I’m working on an album at the moment which is very exciting and I should be on tour early next year in the UK. Dates to be confirmed with a new single dropping then too.

My philosophy on life is to work hard surround yourself with people who are positive, and to do the things in life that you love...”- Ddark

Song: Tell me where the name Ddark came from?

Ddark: It actually came from a computer game the character is called, Dr. Dark and I thought that’s dope. I can use the Dr. part as a metaphor that I’m always in the lab creating music and fixing sounds, raps and rhymes together and the dark, but sounds dope. Plus when I named myself that, that’s when my music began getting a lot of attention, so it was meant to be. 

Song: Any other style/genre you would like to cross over and try in music? 
Ddark: Ye, of course I love loads of music, I will always fuse music together.

Song: It's a rainy Saturday avro at home... you pop into a record store.  What is it you decide to purchase?

Ddark: I’ll probably listen to a few records, try find something new that I haven’t heard, but I don’t buy physical records I buy on iTunes, so then I'd go on my laptop or phone and search for it.

To find Ddark:

Twitter: ddarkonline
Facebook: ddarkonline
Instagram: ddarkonline
Youtube: Ddarktv

Watch Freestyle/Comfort Zone:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Grey its a Reflective Quality and a Tune to Feel in the Heart. Interview with singer/songwriter/musician David Vitagliano

Does time cause us to reflect? Reflect back to memories that have brought wisdom through a touch of grey? Lessons learned, ponderer’s of pause, warm smiles fill the heart, and the legacy of reflection.

Interview with legendary singer/songwriter/musician David Vitagliano.

...Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining's got a
Touch of grey... It's a lesson to me...”
Grateful Dead Touch of Grey

Song River: How did you become involved with Dust Circuit Radio? Who were they? I’ve heard many tales about the station, and its heart, Ziggy. Many musicians recall it fondly with a warm smile

Dave: I got involved in DCR through my friend Jim Bachmann who is a fellow musician in the community. He had contacted Ziggy about doing his own show called the Rip Snort Radio Hour, which was awesome BTW. He told me what Ziggy was trying to do with local Indie Music and I was on board.

Song: Did you feel the call to community was just right at that time, or was it Ziggy who pulled it together at the right time?

Dave: Ziggy was a rare bird. But it was probably a combo of both. He could be dynamic at times, and fairly weird at others. The community was ready for it. It was just damn fun to both go up to Ziggy's and do a live show, which i did 3 times, or hear your stuff on the "radio" and know others were hearing it too, or to call in and have him interview you on the air. He had a lot of help too from the community especially with tech. His signal was great and you could not only get him direct on web, but through other services too like I Heart Radio. It was flawless, clear as a bell radio. But like I said, he had a lot of help tech wise, got lots of equipment donated, and people sending in checks to help fund web servers etc. I donated a few times myself.

Song: What is it a musician feels when they hear their song for the first time on the radio? For you personally?

Dave: That feeling of hearing your song is amazing! Especially when people call in and request and you start getting fans you never knew. Like outside of family and friends and that was happening. I was selling more CD’s off my site. So in that I felt that my investment in the station was worth it. It was a cool time and I think a lot of us involved were really digging it. I think Ziggy would have liked it to become a job for him and maybe make a bit of a living at it. But sometimes he would get a wild hair up his ass and blow up and alienate people too. But he had a dream and It was a great dream, but artist dreams these days are hard. The neat thing was he really was starting to build quite a listener base both inside AZ and outside too. He was in enough markets on the web that it started to become a thing. And some of us artists tried hard to help it out. Bringing in our friends and more music for him to draw from. So when it suddenly went quiet one day and we heard he left his wife and ran off with some listener from the Midwest for like a month, we all felt like he abandoned us (not to mention his wife who we all liked). We felt like he fucked us. Lots of hard feelings. I still feel weird about it, but I wrote the song. I really didn't think I'd ever record it, but a fan said to me once that I should record it anyway as it chronicled a good time in life we all had. I did get turned onto some great music and made some great friends. Carol among them.

Song: This project "Grey" how does it reflect you David?

Dave:This project "Grey" is the real me. Squiddog has changed in the last year and become less "My Band" and more of a democratic process. Tim really doesn't like my singer songwriter side and wants me to write more upbeat lively rock songs. So the songs I will be recording with my son really
reflect the deeper side of me. My son and I joke that Grey will be my "Jackson Browne album". But at the heart of it these will be the songs I really love the most and that truly reflect me.

Song: Are you okay with where you are now, any regrets? Wishes? Wants? or maybe better asked... determinations?

Dave: I do have some regrets I guess. I wish I'd have played in an original band all those years ago in Tempe, instead of that Grateful Dead Cover band I was in. I did have fun through, I don't know. I did what I did. I wish I had more time now to dedicate to music and I wish I was playing more right now. I think that by summer we might start playing out again. Right now our focus is tracking and we can't do that and play live at the same time. For us with day jobs etc, it doesn't work. We have to get this record done. That is priority one.

Song: You are working on this project with your son, correct? How has he connected to your sentiment? Is it hard for your son, Joey, to relate or does he see the music and world much like his father?

Dave: My son is amazing to me. He has a unique balance of appreciating my music and what I've listened to, and new music of his generation. He is a scholar of music history and knows his shit about all the old bands but keeps current. He also is a great musician for his age. 

He still has a lot of growth yet to happen, but he is good enough on mandolin to play with anyone out there. He's got a great ear and is classically trained and knows more about music theory than I will ever know. I am proud of him and I support his decision to be a musician. We hope he will be able to attend Berkeley College of music. Listen to the DCR song. He played the organ and the mando on that, but more so, he recorded it, he produced it. That's cool for a 16 year old.

Song: Does the music world still have room for story tellers...even those of us who have a touch of 'Grey?'

Dave: Lastly, my dear friend Song River, I hope the world still has room for storytellers. With this Project Grey i am counting on it. I think everyone loves a good well told story, no matter how old, how young, or how Grey you are.

Social Media:

Sguiddog (band):

*For more information on interviews: CowGirlZen Song River: cowgirlzenphoto at g mail 

Supporting independent music tune in to The Hay Girls Show
Follow us on social media: The Hay Girls Show

We are always looking for more music -- Alt-Country, Blues, SKA, Bluegrass, Punk/Grass, R&B, Folk, Punk, Reggae, Roots-Rock, CowPunk, Rockabilly, Indie, Alt in pure forms and infusions. We are fiercely independent and play anything we pretty much just like, just please make sure it is of awesome, radio quality. Please send radio-awesome tracks to and thanks!- CoHosts Carol Pacey and Song River 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

There's Something Magical Just Waiting in the Cupboard... the Mind of artist
Jessica von Braun.
Interview Number Three in the Series of Women in the Comic Con Industry

I first met Jessica at an Amazing Arizona Comic Con a couple of years ago, and quickly became a fan. Purchasing several pieces of her works and sharing them with my own family. It has been fantastic getting to know her, not only as an artist, but as a mother, and friend. She and her good friend Emily Romano (interview coming later this year) have captured many fans in the comic con industry, as well as in the arts world. Here is a little glimpse into the life of an artist who rocks our world... She really holds a world of magic in her "cupboard" mind. Interview with Jessica von Braun. 

Song River: Jessica thank you for taking some time to chat with me today.Take a walk back through your childhood, in your earliest years... what was it about art that you used to help express many of your emotions? 

Jessica von Braun: From the very beginning I wanted to draw to make people happy, I was drawing for me, but my favorite thing was to give my art away and see people find joy in it. It seemed like such a simple way to make my grandparents or friends at school smile. As I got older I would draw to express things I was feeling that I either couldn't put into words or wouldn't put into words.  

Song: Do you recall your first box of crayons or markers?  What did they mean to you?

Jessica: I don’t remember my first set, but they were probably shared with my older cousin Jennifer who was our family’s young artist. She was five years older than me. I remember every day after school and all summer was spent drawing with her and making up games that involved drawing. When I got to an age where I could have my own art supplies it felt like I could do anything with them. I would spend every bit of allowance or birthday money at Michael's craft store.

Song: When you were developing your style, who or what influenced the development?

Jessica: I could say I am influenced by a lot of people…everything and everyone around me. As far as most influential to my style I would call our Margaret Keane, Edward Gorey and Tim Burton

Song: Are there other facets of art that you enjoy doing as well?  Any that you do to also make a living from?

Jessica: For a long time I sold cards that I had sort of scrap-booked…think of really crazy scrap-booking and apply it to card making. Sewing the edges, collage work, beads, glitter. I also used to sell handmade rings on Etsy, but now mostly focus on painting and drawing.

I have a digital stamp line as well as a rubber stamp line.

Also, I love building and designing train track sets for my son, which sometimes feels
like an art form all it’s own.

Song: Many of your characters seem to be off to themselves, in their own world. Some happy, some sad.  All a bit detached from this realm.  Do you identify with these characters you create in some ways? How? 

Jessica: I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of most of my characters and of myself. I often have felt a little detached from the world around me, sometimes it feels like I am walking in a bubble or a cloud.

I am often accused of looking sad and I don’t mean to be, I am just usually off in thought, as are my girls and boys.

Song: Do each of your characters develop their own personalities?  Do you name them? How alive do they seem to become?  Is their a story sometimes surrounding them? 

Jessica: Mostly all of them have names and stories, some longer than others.

Sometimes I get really attached when I have thought up something long for one of my characters. Some start out as doodles and move into story world, some stay doodles and are pretty to look at, but don’t have stories yet.

I love hearing other peoples ideas for stories based on my characters.

Song: Time to dig a bit into the daily grind if you would. You're a full-time mom and an artist.  When you began to walk down this path of art for a living- what where some of the greatest difficulties you faced?

Jessica: I was afraid of a lot. I was afraid of all the grown up stuff, making sure the kids had insurance, that we could make ends meet, that I could balance work and art and life.

Sometimes life takes over and I don’t get to paint or draw for weeks and I get a bit discouraged. I have a hard time self-motivating when I need it the most. I went into it full on almost 7 years ago and have never regretted the choice to do this full time.

Sometimes it feels like I never stop working, whether it’s answering emails, filling Etsy orders or organizing for a show, but it’s so much more rewarding for me than any other thing I have done.

Song: Has there always been family support for your business direction?

Jessica: Yes, I am lucky to have always been encouraged and supported in every choice I have made for this career.

Song: You are a wonderful mother, anyone who has spent any time with you sees this.  Do you sometimes bring your children with you on the road?  How difficult is that at times?  Do they adapt pretty well to coming, or do they prefer to stay at home?  Shed some light on how you balance being in business for yourself and caring for your family.

Jessica: Sometimes I do, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their school schedule. For SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) I alternate bringing one of my kids each year so they can see my parents, they don’t go to that show, but they do like the trip to San Diego.

For last years Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, my 6 year old made the drive with Emily Rose (fellow artist and friend) and I and hung out at our tables all weekend. He had the time of his life. He STILL asks to go back to Vegas to order room service!

I tend to work around their schedules. If I have a show I try to leave as late as possible, sometimes cutting it close to set up time. I try to fly home as soon as I can. I make sure that the time I am with them during the week and the weekends we have home are really fun and full of life.

Song: How many days of the year generally do you spend on the road?

Jessica: This year I am doing on average 2 shows per month, sometimes 1, sometimes 3, but mostly I try to have at least two weekends home.

Song: What is life like in the day to day routine when all of you are home?  When and what time does work fit in for you? 

Jessica: I wake up every day at 6:30 AM  and take the kids to school at 7:30. I am home and working by 8 and I work and run around doing groceries or anything else that needs to be done till 2 PM. From the time I pick them up till 2 I try to not work again until after they go to bed. I reserve the evening for painting if I can and try to be in bed by 11. 

Song: What has been your greatest challenge as a business woman and artist so far?

Jessica: Sometimes people seem really surprised that I do this for a living, that I travel and am away from my children at times….even though my male counterparts do the same.

My mother traveled for work just like I do and was ALWAYS busy on the road and has always been a prime example of how a hard working Mama could be a strong business woman and still be every bit the mother her children need.

Song; What has been your greatest accomplishment/blessing as a business woman and artist so far?

Jessica: Just the fact that I am still doing it!

Song: You have just been approached by a young person at a comic con.  Some times we believe that  artists must have made it over night to success.  But we all really know there is a process. They are asking for you advice on how to be a part of this industry.  What do you tell them? 

Jessica: Just never stop, don’t give up, don’t stop drawing and share your work even when you are afraid. 

To follow Jessica von Braun or find out more information on ordering:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Have a Dream and It Cannot Be Silenced!

As Martin Luther King Day approaches, let us give pause...

Where are today's great orators?

Freedom of speech today exists, because of great people like King, Gandhi, Churchill, Pericles, Webster, Lincoln, Kennedy, Mandela, Reagan, Jabotinsky, Douglass, Barbara Charline Jordan, Eleanor Roosevelt, and so many more.

A oration that brings about a movement is not based upon whether we agree with the words spoken, but upon the manner of which they are delivered. In fervor, in passion, in solidarity of heart and soul.  A reverberation of sound, that leaves the thought process, enters speech paths, and passes over vibrating vocal chords to ears... ears eager to either receive or deny. It is a neurological bomb exploding and an orator's words ripple across the masses sending shock waves around the world.

What is it we are trying to say?  Where is it we are trying to lead?  How has our journey delayed our process, in the smattering realm of apathy giving way to nothing more than fodder? Shall we ingest the muck, or shall we find our own voice, and lead a new path?  Let us lead, but let us also be tolerant of other's ideas, thoughts, words... there is room for variances, and they do not need to be labeled my friends.

It is up to us. Each of us.  

Burning of bibles, banning books, silencing Paris... is that what today's oration cowers itself to?  Is it?  Think about the speeches of old, go back and listen to their impassioned cries, hear the words, envelope the beating heart of the voice and its power to change this world for good as we reflect this Monday upon a speech that began simply by stating..."I have a dream..."

I know I do, and it cannot be silenced- Song River

I Have a Dream Speech

#martinlutherking #ideas #freedom #freedomofspeech #oration #dream #eleanoroosevelt #lincoln #mandela #gandhi #reagan #truth #speech #dallastexas #atlantageorgia

Monday, January 12, 2015

Leather and Journaling: With Owner of D' Leslie Post

In this continuing series on entrepreneurial women in the pop-culture industry who travel through out the year attending Ren-Faire's, Comic Cons etc... we stop for a moment to chat with Leslie Post, creator of fine leather journals that are made in honor from the original known methods of workings, and bindings.

Journaling: With Owner of D' Leslie Post

Song: Last time we spoke you shared with me a little about how you came to be interested in the craft of book making. It was quite a journey for you. How did you go about first deciding on this old world craft, then going on to learning the process? (If you are comfortable, please go ahead and talk about your military background a bit, how this interest came forth, and how it is now your full time business.)

                                                                                                                                                  Leslie: I began journaling in high school, mostly angst ridden poetry as most teenagers do and found it to be a great outlet for my thoughts and feelings. After high school I joined the military and took up journaling my experiences during this time.

I was a military police investigator attached to CID (Criminal Investigation Dept) on the Drug Suppression Team. For obvious reasons having a social life was very much curtailed so spent most of my personal time reading/studying subjects from feminism to mysticism. My writing at that time was more about exploring and "connecting the dots" of the various subject matter I devoured.

I continued this practice after I left the military and when I was living in CO I really desired obtaining a leather bound blank book for my studies. 

This was in 1990, well before the internet, and had no luck in the Denver area of finding such, SO I decided that I would make my own.

For about 8 months I borrowed every book I could obtain from the public library on all sorts of binding techniques and then one day sat down and crafted my own journal.

Made a few for friends, did a few small craft shows and then was encouraged to purchase booth space at the local Renaissance Festival. My first year was in '92. By '95 I jumped off the cliff, quit my job, and decided to take my bookbinding passion from hobby to full time career which took three more years, but that’s another story!

Song: How is leather overall to work with?

Leslie: I LOVE working with leather! I started out the gate with leather as my primary material. Over the years I have experimented with clothe, etc but really don't enjoy it. For me being self taught.

I did not allow myself to be confined to the traditional methods/techniques and materials and have experimented quite a bit over the years eventually developing my own methods and techniques with materials available to me locally and within my budget therefore creating my own style.

Song: Even though you tried other materials, why is it leather seems to be the chosen material?

 Leslie: I do experiment and continue to, but always fall back to leather. It just works for me! In fact, some years ago after being asked by several vegans to craft books not of leather I gave in and did.... they were beautiful, done with tapestry type material and I received quite a few compliments on them, BUT never sold one. I don't think my heart was into it, so it didn't have the energy that my leather books do. I ended up giving them away and now say no when asked to do that.

Song: Is there a certain grade you have to purchase to be able to work on  it as you do?

Leslie: I do not use traditional bookbinding leather. I use three different weights (thickness) and I like my leather to be soft and supple not stiff and 'boardy' like other binders use.

Song: Are there special tools required?

 Leslie: Not for me. I made my own equipment due to not having the money to invest in fancy bookbinding equipment. I always thought that one day when I had the money I would purchase bookbinding equipment but my simple binding frame and presses I made from scrap wood back in the day has served me so well I have no desire to purchase a fancy equipment. I have no machinery other than a leather sewing machine for the edges of some of my products. Other than that all my tools are simple leather hand tools... once again, goes back to experimenting to achieve the effect I am going for.
It would seem depending on the tool work, size of book, etc... that each leather book would take various lengths of time to produce. What is the approximate time on your larger leather bound books that have tool work done on them?
Depending on the binding method, hand laced or hand stitched, and amount of detail  it can take up to 3 or 4 days before I finish a book. Not all labor, there are many steps involving gluing and I have to allow time for drying before proceeding to the next step.

Song: What have been some of your favorite requests to create?

Leslie: All of them! Just when I think I have a favorite I receive a custom even more challenging then the last and it becomes my favorite and so on.

Song: Do you also make the paper filler? Can they be refilled?
Leslie: My hand laced bindings can be refilled. I started out only crafting hand stitched bindings but had so many people wanting refillable that I had to come up with something. There were "refillable" journals out there but in actuality were covers for a manufactured book. I wanted to do something totally different. When books transitioned from scroll form to book form as we see them now one method of sewing was side stab where the book block was drilled with holes from top to bottom and stitched, think Japanese binding. I wanted to create a book not a cover that could be refilled but in a standard size so I came up with the hand-laced method in which the paper was 3 hole punched and could be easily replaced not only with the paper I offered but any paper found at an office supply store. The method of how I laced the books was solely my own.

Song: What is it about our own personal journals that we hold to?

Leslie: This is so subjective I can only answer for myself.

My journaling helps me to clarify and categorize my thoughts (my monkey mind) into something that makes sense. I really don't do daily journaling of my day to day activities.. most of my journaling takes up a thread of something I have read, and I explore those thoughts and how they relate to other aspects of life. In retrospect, I am a self taught scholar constantly note taking on an eclectic array of subjects.

Song: Where did the name for your business come from?

Leslie: I was reading a book on the history of Britain and read a passage on the "divine right" of kings... it was an epiphany moment. I had been stumped on a name for weeks, nothing felt right. As soon as I saw those two words I knew that was my biz name. I changed the spelling and made it look more old English, because I thought it looked cool... sort of regret that now because a lot of people can't remember how to spell it correctly which does lead to problems.

(laughs) Oh well, live and learn!

Song: Each summer you take off across the United States, do you sell your wares at various comic cons across the US, where?

 Leslie: Yes I do. Currently, my yearly schedule starts off with AZ Renaissance Festival from Feb to March. My next big shows are Phoenix Comicon and Denver Comicon, end of May and beginning of June. I take off all of July to concentrate on crafting inventory and then I trek across the States to my home in NH to visit my family, and also vend at Boston Comicon.

Then, I make my way down the east coast visiting family and friends occasionally picking up small shows. I return to AZ in September. I have added Tucson Comicon and Fan Fest to my schedule. Other than that, here and there pick up a smaller show for pocket money and sell my wares on Etsy.

Song: Do you take special or custom orders?

Leslie: I do. My website is for customers to pick and choose all features I offer for me to custom craft to order to fit all desires and budgets. My Etsy shop is for crafted inventory ready to ship.

Unique Handcrafted Themed Leather Journals, Sketchbooks, Covers and More!
Medieval, Renaissance,Celtic, Pagan, Steampunk, Pop “Geek” Culture, and Western!!!

My Etsy Shoppe

Friend Me on Facebook and Keep Updated
on My Newest and Latest Designs and Products!

For more information on journaling at the art google search Journaling.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Spawn to Deadpool- Interview with Garage FX Creators

A little of this, a little of that... and looked what 'spawned' forth! Garage FX Creators took some time out of their busy schedules as they prepare props and costumes for Amazing Comic Cons and other ventures of 2015 to talk with us today... and wow, this is going to be some year!

Thank you Guy for taking some time out to share with me yours and Jason's, well really the entire both sides of your family, along with friends and neighbors... your excitement to take well known Comic Book Characters and create extraordinary works of wearable art, props and fully animated icons including... cannon sheep ala Deadpool? As I understand the genesis of Garage FX began with a character named, Spawn? How did creating and your day jobs connect to produce this 'spawning?'

Garage FX: Our very first creations were Venom and the Predator. They came about because I wanted to go to the Emerald city Comic-con in Seattle. I contacted my brother-in- law Jason and of course he said yes. Then we decided to make costumes. Our second costumes were; Gunslinger Spawn (me) and Ninja Spawn (Jason). Our Spawn suits were very popular and we even received an invite from his brand manager Joe to go talk to the man himself, creator of Spawn (And tons of more characters) Todd McFarlane. He was a complete gentleman. He talked to us for quite a while. He gave us a lot of cool things. And we gave him a blown up picture of us (in costume) with his full size Spawn character.

What was the response like when you first showed off your creation?

Garage FX: When we went to Emerald city we were not sure what to expect. We were overwhelmed. We were surrounded by hundred's of people wanting to take pictures with us. We were given our own security to follow us around. It was mostly for safety and to prevent us from blocking the fire exits and keeping the traffic flowing through the convention. We were excited just to be noticed.

What was your family's response?

         Garage FX: My kids thought I was a big nerd. My wife said, “you can do what you want, but don’t tell anyone we are married” She was only half-way joking. Today things are much different. It is a full family business.

You took those early days, found a niche, and the creative juices for props, and costuming began. When and how did you choose the name, Garage Fx?

Garage FX: Garage FX was the logical choice. It took us awhile to come up with it and we did try other names, but we settled on Garage FX, because it is what we do and where we build.

Life has her ways of having people's paths cross. When I met Jason's family a year ago, did you two, let alone your families, have any idea where this was all going to lead?

Garage FX: We always “dream big,” but honestly this took off really fast and got much bigger than we expected. We love doing this. Thanks to a wonderful lady named Song River we were introduced to Jimmy with Amazing Comic-cons. 

Jimmy is a real down to earth man that likes having Garage FX at all of his conventions The comic-con crowd is an awesome group. They are always fun and it’s exciting to see them come into our booth and take pictures with our weapons and mannequins that we have put our past costumes on. We have the biggest photo op station around and the best part is it is free.

AmazingArizona Comic Con came into the picture in 2014. Have you found a home in the realm of comic con's?

Garage FX: The Comic con crowd is a perfect fit for the Garage FX group. We work all the time creating new projects and costumes so people can come and enjoy themselves. Even though we are a small piece of a large puzzle we feel we fit in nicely.

Your experiences with Amazing Comic Con in 2014 (Las Vegas, Houston) opened doors for others to see you talents, and to even be asked to do some special ventures. Can you talk a bit about some of these?

Garage FX: We have been asked to make a lot of Zombie props. They are used for paintball facilities in Texas. We are currently making some things for Amazing comic cons that are based off Rob Liefeld weapons I am building a fully functioning sheep cannon that will shoot t-shirts and really anything, Jason is working on a 6’ assault rifle. 

We are also trying to get the “well zombie” (zombie in a well) put together as a display since the Walking Dead cast is usually at the Amazing comic-con shows. We are also working on a few really cool props from the Lego movie. They will be ready for this February Amazing Arizona Comic-con and will be another photo-op station.

Are there certain aspects each of you focus on, example: one is better at the drawing out blueprints, another carving, etc... or do each of you share and cross over to create?

Garage FX: Even though we all can do the creating and fabricating we sectioned it off into tasks that we are strongest in. This keeps everyone working and things flow much smoother.

What have been some of your most interesting creations, challenging?

Garage FX: Our fan favorites have been the TMNT which was also our most interesting. We created the Spawnettes and they were extremely popular too. The most challenging was putting together our kits for the weapons and helmets we make. We have it down to a science now, but we had to learn a lot by trial and error first.

Do you, Guy, have a favorite character in particular? Anyone that you yourself would like to create, as the possibilities are absolutely endless?

Garage FX: I really don’t have a super favorite character, because I like them all both heroes and villains alike. I like the story lines based around them and really enjoy the fact that technology has now caught up and we can watch them all on the big screen.

I have always wanted to build a huge 7-8’ robot costume based off of Todd McFarlane robots. So maybe someday that will happen.

Share with us some of the projects you are working on for 2015, special ones?

Garage FX: We currently are working on the design for Jaeger suits (Pacific Rim). Some characters based off the game Elflandia. The zombies and zombie weapons and Liefeld weapons. We are currently negotiating making some Halo gear and weapons for a small movie that will be filmed in 2015.

What are you bringing Amazing Comic Con so Amazing fans can be ready to explode with anticipation?

Garage FX: We plan on bringing all that GarageFX has created. This is our home turf so we plan on bringing everything. So, you will see all our past costumes set up with back drops and weapons so anyone can come and take pictures. We will be bringing the TMNT to Amazing ArizonaComic-con. The sheep cannon and big weapons will be there, and we will be doing panels explaining how we do what we do.

The investment side of building props and purchasing tools has to be quite extensive. If someone was just starting out what would you recommend they begin with?

Garage FX: Starting the way we did. Just use household items in place of expensive special effects materials. We would look up what the pros use and find the equivalent material in a much cheaper form. We would cut up used plastic buckets for armor and E.V.A. foam for weapons. I look at garage sales and Goodwill all the time for items to use. This is the best way to create and not go broke.

What have you learned Guy from this experience yourself, as a family, and as family/friends working closely together?

Garage FX: The best part of GarageFX is that it is a family business. We travel together, we work together. We create together. This is a great business for family bonding. When we go to conventions we see a lot of families bonding and fitting into the atmosphere that you can only find at Comic conventions. 

I have learned that if you want to make something you can. If you want to be recognized for your creations you can. This world of comic cons has room for everybody, and is an excellent outlet for creativity.

If someone is interested in purchasing your creations, and/or taking classes how would they reach you?

You can reach us at:

And soon to be on YouTube with how to videos.

You can also find Garage FX at the Amazing Comic Con's in 2015

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