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Speartalks: eepmon

If we can trust what Wikipedia has to say on the matter, people born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey have it made. They are smart, quick witted, inventive problem-solvers, and they come with a side of sharp-shooting, horribly unfair skills– like the ability to absorb conversations happening around them, even while they themselves are heavily engaged in another.

Eric Chan, also known as eepmon, is a young, Ontario-based new media artist with enough experience under his belt to make much more seasoned designers quiver. He is also an enthusiastic member of that lucky Zodiac sign– and from what we can tell, should be, as he fills in its outlines to an intimidating degree.

Read up as we talk with Eric about his bright future, his studious (and very recent) past, and the exciting things that have been bridging his path from day to day.

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Speartalks: Public School

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Rebellion, in any form, has a few consistent characteristics. The color black, for instance, is a common accomplice, as are hot tempers, cool demeanors, and five o'clock shadows. However, the most important element to rebellion is the one thing that has nothing to do with its surface, and everything to do with its soul.

That thing is energy, and it manifests itself in art, words, sounds, and "“ we would argue "“ in the new men's fashion line Public School. Founded by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, two Sean John ex-pats, Public School embraces the attitude of young New York, utilizing the creative rebellion of the city's well-cultivated steam as its source of inspiration.

As Public School draws closer to its second season, it has become apparent that the line's expertly directed construction, touchable materials, and lust-worthy lines are here to stay. Join us as we chat with its two designers about their goals, their drive, and what it takes to make it all come together.

Joshspear.com: The way you describe Public School on the website is almost philosophical. Can you tell us a little bit more about the brand's approach to culture, energy, and change?

Public School: Everything we do is a product of the culture we are immersed in. Music, film, art and fashion – its all energy, energy that we use for inspiration and try to put back into the world through our product.

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Zeptonn

Jan Willem Wennekes, also known as Stinger, crafts a killer monster. Well, “killer” in its most docile, endearing sense — because the creatures of this Netherlands-based designer have always had more success drawing aww's than arghh's!

As founder of Zeptonn Lab, Stinger cranks out his unique style of design for clients like PlayStation, Popcling, and Threadless, as well as a solid variety of art, design, and online publications. In between those projects, this eco-conscious designer spends his time creating some of the best books you've ever laid claws on, including one of our all-time favorites, Stingermania.

Just in time for the release of his newest book, Black & White Freedrawings (site coming soon), we chatted with Stinger about his work, his education, and how he's using both to make his world a pretty wonderful place.

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Au Revoir Simone

From an organizational perspective — even a musically inclined one — the odds of finding three beautiful girls, all long-locked, well-worded, and in possession of keyboards, seem slim. The odds of them finding each other — that seems near impossible. However, on the off chance that that sort of thing might happen, it makes sense that it would happen in Brooklyn. And on the off chance that that sort of thing did happen, it goes to follow that the three beautiful girls would see something serendipitous in their similarities, nurture them, then do what all good Brooklynites with instruments do: form a band.

They call themselves Au Revoir Simone, and they call each other Erika, Heather and Annie. We call them ethereal, because we've been having trouble turning their music down since we first laid ears on the sweetly layered, abstractly energetic, and quaintly composed melodies. They all sing, write, and play each of the instruments their music requires. But most importantly, they fit together perfectly. Oh, and they make a killer batch of cookies.

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Speartalks: Joe Sorren

There are people in the paintings of Joe Sorren, but they’re not quite human. We have ways to relate — they hold instruments, they take pictures, they build sand castles by the sea — but there is something in them that is not like us.

I have always felt that the occupants of the world of Joe Sorren are more innocent than those in mine. Their hands may be the size of heads, their heads the shape of balloons, but in all of their twists and distortions, their eyes are sources of infectious calm.

Sorren’s work has appeared in publications as varied as Rolling Stone, Print and The L.A. Times, and is a part of many significant collections worldwide. Universally loved and lauded, you’d do well to be aware of the work of this Arizona-based artist.

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SpearTalks Roundup! (Click Away)

I was browsing around the site reflecting on how far we’ve come and couldn’t help but notice the wealth of inspiration and content we’ve got in the SpearTalks archives. So, I figured I’d round them all up for easy consumption. Whether you like fashion, technology, art, or just about anything else– with nearly 40 incredible interviews, there’s something for everyone thanks to our very own Carmel Hagen. Go, dive in, it’s just a click away.

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Speartalks: Chris Rubino

From the looks of things, Chris Rubino knows how to mix work and play. The NYC based designer, a 2006 ADC Young Gun and possessor of a shining list of lustworthy clients, hasn't abandoned his personal pursuits in order to achieve success. In between putting in hours for the big boys (Banana Republic, The NY Public Theater, and Uniqlo to name a few), Chris spends his time making museum quality posters for his favorite bands and jetsetting across oceans to display his artwork at solo shows.

Read on as we chat with this young whippersnapper about art, design, and all the stages in between.

Joshspear.com: Tell us about your personal history in design.

Chris Rubino: When I moved to New York right after graduating my portfolio was full of paintings and clips of bad abstract animation. I was lucky enough to find a job in which I was told "we can teach you how to design but not how to draw." I made a bunch of bad record covers, a good friend and discovered typography. Over the next few years I was given great opportunities with a couple higher-end design firms until I felt very ready to be on my own. Seven years later I am still sitting here, hopefully moving forward.

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Speartalks: The Little Friends of Printmaking

JW and Melissa Buchanan are the husband and wife team known as The Little Friends of Printmaking. Known for their God-like mastery of screen printing, their brightly layered imagery, and their quirky sense of humor (take that, douchebaggiezz!), this Milwaukee-based pair is cranking out posters and collecting high fives faster than you can say "zesty gazpacho."

Because we're big fans of concert posters (like any average league of flailing hipsters), we scored ourselves an interview with the arty couple, and wound up wondering if we were in the right profession. Read on to learn why these two ink slingers are living the dream.

Joshspear.com: Can you tell us about your personal backgrounds in printmaking?

Melissa: I've been making prints since I was a teenager "“ I started in high school; woodcuts and etchings, mostly. Because printmaking was my main jam, it only seemed natural to study art at the University of Wisconsin where they have a historically great printmaking program. I would talk them up more, but I'm holding out for an honorary masters degree.

JW: I don't have quite the background that Melissa does. I did some screen printing in high school. Screen printing was not something they taught as an art course. Instead, you had to go through a tunnel under the street to a completely different building out back by the auto shop, and then into a room that smelled like acetone and was filled with very dangerous-looking equipment. I enjoyed it but it didn't make a huge impression on me. I didn't make any more prints until I was in college. I had originally gone to the UW to study sculpture, but once I was there it seemed obvious to me that it was pointless to study anything else but printmaking at that place. I must've picked up a trick or two because I seem halfway decent now.

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Speartalks: Aaron Rose

Several months ago, we about lost our crap when we heard that Beautiful Losers "“ the museum exhibit-turned-most brilliant coffee table book ever bound by mechanical means "“ would soon be joined by another extension of arty rectitude. Beautiful Losers, the documentary, would relate to the book and exhibit by way of subject matter, but would differ from the previous installments through one defining characteristic: The punk, skate, hip hop and graffiti subcultures it traced would take the literal form of the men and women that led the movement.

Now, over six months after we started getting excited about it (and several years after the film's creators starting working on it), Beautiful Losers, the doc, has arrived. Thanks to the hard work, creativity, passion, and rule breaking of the same group of individuals who drove this creative crusade, the film was enthusiastically debuted and received and at this year's SXSW.

This August, Beautiful Losers will open in theatres nationwide. We feel strongly that our readers should go see it "“ because we're of the opinion that this movement is more significant than most other things the past thirty years have given us "“ but since we know you're a rebellious bunch, we brought in someone else to spread the word. Readers, meet Aaron Rose; artist, writer, curator, co-editor of ANP Magazine, owner of Alleged Gallery, and the man driving the Beautiful Losers trilogy.

Joshspear.com: Can you walk us through the history of Beautiful Losers, from the exhibit up until now?

Aaron Rose: It started as an exhibition that opened at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati in 2003. The book (catalog) was released as the same time as the first exhibition. Since then, the exhibition has traveled throughout the US and is currently touring Europe. It will open in Madrid this fall. (more…)

SpearTalks: Andrew Hyde for Startup Weekend

Up until a few weeks ago, there were only a few words that I associated with startup companies. One was “balls,” another was “brains,” another was “heart attack.”

There are elements that lead up to those associations, first and foremost being that I was probably in diapers when I was initially exposed to startup culture. My father, an entrepreneur to the core, would be on his gigantic cell phone spitting stress into the mouthpiece; I’d be strapped into a car seat drooling into the mangy mane of a Cabbage Patch Kid and even then, I swear I was thinking, “F*&$ this, dad, I’m going to be a writer.”

However, if things had been going then like they are now, there’s a chance that the words that I currently associate with entrepreneurialism might have formed differently &emdash; maybe even in the shape of “addictive,” “creative,” and “thrilling.” To a great extent, this can be attributed to the Internet, and to the now increased rate at which new concepts can become tangible products. However, to another smaller, but potentially as powerful extent, this can be attributed to Startup Weekends d i.e., 54 hour-long, high-intensity events dedicated to melding minds and starting companies.

We chatted with Andrew Hyde, Startup Weekend’s Boulder-based founder — and brand new community manager for Techstars.org — about the now globally occurring events, but never really found the answer to our main question: When &emdash; and how in the hell – did startups become so much fun?

Joshspear.com: Tell us about your history &emdash; how is it that you love entrepreneurialism so much?

Andrew Hyde: I remember learning how to count money from my favorite teacher, an elementary school volunteer of 40 years, Nellie Zook. At the end of the lesson she said that when we all started businesses, she would be our first customer, to check on our money counting skills. That stuck with me a bit. (more…)

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