Saturday, December 31, 2011

Highlights of 2011

It was another interesting year! How could it not be? Things are always changing, growing, stopping, and coming and going. I'm so lucky to meet and work with such great people! Caroline, Megan, Barb, Tom Drymon, Amy Saidmen, Tom Goss, HEX, Gary, TROHV, Alan, Sarah, Romaine, Dave K, Peter, Renato, Bobby, Geran.  So many great supporters, patrons, friends and cheerleaders.

I end the year determined to grow, and work from experience. MORE tees, less prints, MORE cards, MORE freelance and maybe some photography mixed in!

I'm excited to go forward.  Here's to 2012!

2010 Highlight Post

2009 Highlights Post

DC Design House -- Early in the year I scouted out the new Design House living room that Barb was going to transform.  I was really honored that she commissioned two paintings from me to be part of her design.  The end result was GREAT, but it took me in another direction for Axis that didn't work out so well.


Axis Show -- My Axis project was to go up in February, but luckily it was pushed back a month.  I was really stumped about what to do, and made a big mistake with what I settled on.  a series of really simple colorful silhouettes printed with tempera paint on 30 x 30 wood panels.  looked good on paper, but not so much in the windows after we finally installed.  Blah!  The whole thing was a fiasco, start to finish.  Luckily Sue form Axis recognized the mistake instantly.  In less then a week hex and I installed 10+ different prints.  More me, and better overall.  It was rough going!  Hard to install, and tough emotionally.  But turned out well.  Great exposure and good will.  Most of all, experience for how to do things better.

Renato -- I met Renato in the spring, after placing rounds of new ads.  I noticed that responses through craigslist grew thinner, but managed to meet a few really great guys that I used for shirts as well.  Renato stands out from the guys in the spring.  A Brazilian guy who came to the US via Australia with his new wife.  All around awesome guy.  So friendly and handsome and enthusiastic about life.  Just rock solid.  We met up later in the summer, and had coffee after the shoot. A terrific memory, sitting on the curb, summer afternoon, talking about his brother's surf camp back in Brazil.  Such a great experience, working with great people.


Screen prints -- Early spring I also started making smaller prints.  I was thinking they might sell easier at Trohv and the studio.  I could sell them for less and they are easier to hang, to fit in people's decor.  Had some success, but not as much as I thought.  Still, a good evolution of my print work.

Another change -- more ties between shirts and prints content-wise.  I started doing more things with captions, and humor.  Very much like what I was trying to get away from early on after leaving bsur.  It gives me a hook, and I needed to recognize that and build on it.


Speakeasy -- I got an email from Amy Saidmen (speakeasyDC) about purchasing a few prints.  What a great turning point.  Eventually I began working freelance with speakeasy, and it's been a great experience.  New inspirations and outlets, and income.  I big deal that has lead to great things.  It all started in spring, with this initial design.

Trohv -- Things were going well with Red Tree in Baltimore (prints and tees first went into the store Nov '10), and I was really excited to be included in the their new (huge) Takoma store which opened in the spring.  The name for both stored was changed to TROHV.  Awesome stores, customers, and new opportunities.  It's been a great year with them, culminating in a banner Holiday selling season!

Swish Edition -- I was contacted by Scott Wallis of Swish Edition, and was invited to be interviewed on his radio show, plus he commissioned a print (flamingos) for their green room.  Being interviewed on the show was really great, and he was so enthusiastic about working on some things together.  The print turned out well, and was a lot of fun to work on.  All in all, a great experience, and great new friends.  Around this time I was also working on stuff for Tom Goss.  New shirts for him to wear on tour, and designs for him to print himself and sell.  A terrific partnership that just grew stronger this year.

Wall of Prints -- Mid City Artists Open studios came around again in the spring, and I decided to max out the wall with prints rather then just hang a coordinated few.  My collection of prints had grown leaps and bounds.  Too much actually.  The wall was fun to hang, and I've decided to keep the format going forward.  2 "walls of prints" since.

Peter -- I'm messing up the timeline, but somewhere in Spring / Summer I made the honey badger design, and shot it with Peter.  A great time to get back together, and got a bunch a great new pics for the site.  I love working with Peter!  And the design -- a big, huge hit!!  On another note, my whole underwear project took a back seat.  Need to pull the plug (regrettably), but think it's the best choice.

Geran -- Also over the summer I met and shot Geran.  A really sweet and beautiful guy.  I had so much fun shooting with him, especially a bunch while he was doing tricks, in the alley no less.  Flips and kicks and handstands.  It was really fun.  I remember when we were first talking as we walked down the street I asked him what he did.  When he mentioned (really quietly) "tricking", I thought for a split second he meant "escorting".  Was relieved when we quickly cleared that up.  We shot twice, and when I contacted him again, he replied that he was living in LA!  All the very best to him.  He is gold.

Prints -- Printing in '11 wasn't as creative.  I made a few new winners, but there was a lot of reprinting, some commissions, and a bunch of duds.  I would usually get in a groove when the corcoran semester was ending.  Summer was tough because the open studio hours were cut way back.  Fall was a little better, but I was really busy with shows most saturdays
Mid City Caffe Show -- Early Fall I got a chance to show at Mid City Caffe.  Turned out they would close 2 months later, but it was a exciting opportunity after the missteps with them the year before.  I have good and bad memories of Hex and I struggling to hang the show while all the customers sat passively underneath us, in our way!  Trip after trip, hauling all the prints a block from the studio and up the stairs.  The walls were "hungry" and endless.  So much space--we ended up hanging almost 20 prints.  What a huge job!  Had some good sales and contacts out of it.  And sad to see it close just after de-installation.  Goodbye Mid City Caffe!  We liked you a lot!

Sidewalk Dogs -- Also this year, throughout the year, I started taking pictures of sidewalk dogs around the neighborhood, and posting them on Facebook.  A really fun project that always keeps me interested.  Slowed down considerably as winter hit, and other things became more pressing.  But fun, and something I plan to continue.

Greeting Cards -- In July / August I turned my sights towards Christmas, and cards.  I made valentines in February, and had good success--building from the year before.  Only problem was I wasn't happy with the printing and paper.  Late summer I set out to make improvements, and to design a whole collection that would coordinate together.  Had some ups and downs with designing and printing, but everything then fell into place!

Started with a collection of 9, then added 5 Holiday designs in December.  They were a big big hit.  Sold tons through very DIY outlets (shows, studio, stores, salon, online).  Excited to continue and expand the line!  And most of all, get them in more stores.  I think I have another hit on my hands.

Bobby -- Met Bobby late in the Fall, and he made a quick and lasting impression.  Lots of fun to work with, and love the pics we took for fun and for the site.  Hope to work with him lots this spring with new tees.

SpeakeasyDC tees -- not sure how this will work out.  We designed a small collection of shirts around the "I did it for the story..." theme, and sold them online and at open mics.  Still haven't found our sales groove, but I still really think it has a lot of potential.  anyway, wanted to record it as another project completed in the year.

Pandas -- Didn't work out as planned, but still were fun to do.  Another fun thing to record, late fall.

Temple Garden - In December Hex and I saved a bunch of plants from the Temple Garden, a community garden set to close this winter.  We transplanted a few convertible-fulls of perennials to a large tree box in front of my studio.  So excited for spring and summer.  To see all the plants flourishing again in a new place!!

 Studio -- I thought it would be a good idea to have a holiday show at the studio, so we managed to put it all together pretty last minute.  Another fun DYI thing.  This year there were a few - but one other that sticks out is Dog Days in August.  The year before I was so down on myself for not making the most of a great sales opportunity.  This year I did much better, selling tons of shirts and a few sale prints.  Another positive step.  Our holiday show was another good building block.

BUZZ -- Very late in the year I got the chance to show at Buzz Bakery in Arlington.  What a fun hip place.  It was a stretch to hang everything up very last minute, but Hex and I did it!  I'll never forget arriving at 11pm, unloading, and hanging until 12:30.  They thought it was best to do it when customers were away (ha-unlike mid-city caffe).  It's been another great success. Sales and good will.  Excited to see how things go with Buzz in 2012

Last but not least -- The Derrick and Romaine Show on XM radio.  Met through Tom Goss, and participated in their Holiday Stocking promotion.  AND was interviewed on the show in early December.  AWESOME response.  Orders for tees flooded in, and gave me the best December ever.  Loved being on the show, and it gave me a big rush of confidence.  A GREAT GREAT way to end the year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

more organized
more focused
more efficient
more positive
more charitable

2012 is going to be great
great day today.  brought erin a cupcake for her last day at bsur, caught up on shipping, shopped at Montgomery Mall (abercrombie is insane, other stores really empty of merchandise), then swung over to Trohv to drop more shirts.  Awesome to see Ben and Koli, and check in with them.  And Erin too.

That's it.  My look back at 2011 will have to be another day.  I think I'm just going to enjoy being lazy for now.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Up and down week and days.

Remi throwing up after eating chocolate on Monday, has led to sleepless nights, long mornings, work disruption, and a trip to Rockville (vet) this afternoon.  Adding in the holiday weirdness, and I feel strange, unproductive, frustrated, and blah.

Tomorrow is Friday, another weird day.  Hopefully Remi is better, and I can get on track.  Or feel better too.

Looking forward to my annual "highlights of the year" post.  Coming tomorrow probably.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Odds and ends day. Quick shopping in Georgetown. Binged on magazines at Barnes and noble. Sad to see the store closing. Big sale, empty shelves. End of another era. All that time spent filling time there, getting lost in the magazines and stacks. Lunch escapes from bsur. My little heaven. Sorry and sad to see it close down.

Met up with hexy, and lazed around. Baked some pies and watched too much sex in the city. Stomach "thing" still bothering. Waiting for it to pass.

Christmas in Rockville tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

This week just kind of drifted to a slow end. I was so so busy at the start, but things got done, shipped, emailed, and picked up. Piece by piece, I was able to accomplish a lot.

Dropped Tommy off at the airport yesterday, and that became the unofficial start of the holiday. Studio is quiet without him.

A few emails came in about delayed shipments. All I can do now is hope that all the shirts eventually find thier way through the mail traffic.

Feeling happy and relieved and sad. Done for now-but never really am a fan of endings.

All the attention goes to celebrating Christmas, baking with hex, last minute shopping, and resting through this mild stomach "thing".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Card Sale!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Frantic couple of days.  could have been much easier, but timing kept getting in the way.

Anxious to get over the hump, and onto some relaxation.  Tons and tons of shirts out.  Prints up, cards sent.

Bring on Christmas, or at least the weekend.  Or maybe I just should be content that the day is over!


All good, all positive!  Such a fantastic couple of weeks!  It's been a whirlwind keeping up.

Monday, December 19, 2011

burned out worn out tired dave!  Each day is chock full of high impact activities, work, emotions, concentration, stress.

After a super busy weekend on top of a crazy busy week and another really busy weekend before that, I'm tired.

Today wasn't that nuts, but having a still long to-do list is making me feel overwhelmed.

All will work out just fine -- I'm just in the weeds, facing another busy night at Buzz.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

another crazy day, but better.  A lot of progress on orders.  Finally got long awaited shirts, so it's just a matter of getting them out, which is going well.

Prints selling at BUZZ, which is really exciting.   BLADE QUEERY article out, which is great!  I feel a little exposed.  Or more exposed then normal.

What a great December.  I could never have imagined it.  Or it's what I dreamed of a few years ago...

step by step, I'm making progress

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

favorite shot of nate

another banging day.  Spent the whole day in one place!   my studio.  worked on shirts, tons and tons of shirts and orders, and the holiday illustration for integral.  Came out great!

tired.  glad the day is over so I can go home, satisfied.
Crazy crazy day!

9:00 am my parents Christmas tree fell over. Jimmy was sooooooo upset. I dropped everything, and hex and I went out to Rockville to put it back up. 2 hours later, back in dc.

Packed up tons of orders, got photographed for Blade article, then interviewed.

Off to post office, then back to studio to prepare prints for Buzz.

Packed up 20 prints, and prepared tons of cards.

Dinner with hex

Back to studio to finish commission drawing.

Home to grab postcards

Back to studio to meet hex to load zip truck with prints for buzz install (10:30pm)

Arrive at buzz (alexandria va) and unload truck.

Install 17 prints plus card rack at buzz 11pm-12:45

Back to dc to drop truck.

Home in bed (1:37)

Tomorrow busy, but not like today!!

Good night

Sunday, December 11, 2011

dear dave,

great couple of days at the studio, hosting our first annual holiday show.  Cards and shirts continue to be a big success, which makes me super happy of course.

While hanging out I worked on my questions for the Washington Blade.  Excited to be in the paper for their Queery column  Not sure when it will run, but will keep everybody posted.

Hex and I went to the farmers market this morning.  Fun to feel all the holiday buzz.

Tonight:  Hanging my parents tree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

dave k

dear dave,

Holiday open studio today!  and it's quiet.  But that is to be expected at 12:42.  Things always pick up later in the afternoon.

It takes SO MUCH WORK to prepare everything in the studio.  Prints, shirts, cards, ornaments.  All require so much time to pull together, sort, finish, fold, package, label, price, display, hang.  I am soooooooooooo lucky to have Hex's help.  He can do the work of 5 people (happily).  We got here at 9, and he didn't stop until 12.  Not to mention all the baking last night, and sorting this morning at the apartment.  He is a dynamo.


Things are on fire here at branddave.  In the last few days I've exploded.  Orders, prints, shirts, commissions.  It's a little overwhelming but REALLY exciting.  I feel great!!!!!

and tired.  I could easily curl up and go to sleep.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I feel like Superdave.  It's like I jumped over a mountain.  Yes-of course things are not done-done - but soooo much further ahead.  This morning, as I got out of bed, I was miles behind.

not anymore!

I'm walking on air.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

dear dave,

blah!!!!  the past few days have been frustrating only for two reasons:

1.  I'm sweating thursday big-time
2.  I can't seem to get these drawings done

Flip side:  Lots of orders.  productive on other fronts.

I hate anxiety.  It paralyzes me.  Will be sooooooo happy when I move past it.


Monday, December 5, 2011

dear dave,

kind of tired.  Washed out.  Didn't do much today to make me feel this way, beside mail the rent check and order a ton of shirts.  Both emotional hurdles that require lots of mental energy!

Quick session at the corcoran produced (1) "meet the cast" print.  Probably not a good use of my time at all.  But whats done is done.

Mondays are always complicated.

Stressed out about:  radio interview thursday evening and holiday show over the weekend.  Everything else is doable.  Those two (unknowns) make me terribly anxious.


website orders picked up pace!  That is awesome.  Really great!!!

i miss summer

Sometimes it's a mistake to start talking to people, because then you have to be rude, and start ignoring them when they want to talk your ear off about anything that pops in thier mind.

Re: corcoran studio

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

dear dave,

it's been an interesting emotional week.  I got  a lot done, so I'm happy about that.  But I realize I'm spinning my wheels on a few fronts.  It's not a new revelation, but it's somehow come into focus more.  A few years back I was so focused on future future future.  All the potential.  At some point I've arrived at that distant point I kept focusing on, and am not impressed.

Dissatisfaction leads to change.  I need to make changes, and stop going into directions that don't pay off.  But how do I know WHY they are not paying off?  What if success is just and hour away?  A minute away?

A-ha!  The biggest change that needs to happen is in my head.  Success is what I make of it.  What I think it to be.  I am going somewhere.  I have done great things.  I've been happy with my work.  I've made other people happy.  I'm FREE.

Happiness is an option.  A choice.

focus on that!


My beloved hexy has a birthday this weekend.  I am SOOOOOOOOOO lucky to have him.  He is my everything.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

dear dave,


working late-- second night this week.  Lots of little stuff to take care of, and I need the extra time.

Drawing below is for xmas card commission.  Client wasn't so into the little dog, but I see it and smile.  She thought it could possibly be mistaken for a melting snowman.  It's supposed to be a little white dog with santa hat pulled over his head.  Ha - I really like it - but understand how it may look weird.  I'm just used to seeing this dog that way.  (wow, I'm over explaining all of this!!)

Anyway, rough night last night, frustrated with myself, and how a few things went.  Had a hard time getting to sleep.  I wish I could explain it all out, but that wouldn't be smart.  When all is said and done, they are my mistakes.  Too needy, too anxious to please, and not confident enough.  I need to learn from it all.

Positives:  my work was good.

December is here.  Christmas is fast approaching!