This past month instead of dropping a new item on the online store I decided to present them at two live shows first. They’re pretty sweet posters and they’ll soon be available on the shop. Can you spot them in the pictures below? If you think you know what they are, email me at email@example.com and if you’re right I’ll send you a little surprise!
Eastern Shore Fan Con
First up was the Eastern Shore Fan Con. This event is a mix of comics, video games, anime, and cosplay. It’s held annually at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
I’ve applied and researched a few conventions and for most of the artist alleys, you pay for a table or for two tables. I’m used to having a 10 foot by 10 foot tent for Sotare, so to condense everything down to the one table was a challenge. I did some research and saw that a lot of artists use cube organizers to display their work, so I stole that idea and came up with my table display.
I could not find any more wire cube organizers for purchase, so I had to improvise and buy a laundry rack to connect my two cube towers. The laundry rack was six feet long and I used velcro ties to secure it to the two cube towers. Then the Sotare banner was attached using a mix of tape and more velcro ties. All in all I was pretty happy with the booth set up. I was actually set up about an hour early for the event, which was awesome as it allowed me time to tweak my booth. Once I get more cubes I can tweak the design even more and make things look even better.
As for the event itself, it was pretty cool. Met some really nice people there, was introduced to some new artists, and made some friends. It was really great to see people who wrote and drew their own comics, a guy who was developing a video game, some unique fan art, and lots people who were having fun. All in all it was a good day. On the way home I got to cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at sunset- and it was amazingly beautiful.
Fenton Street Market
Next up was the 2015 opening day of Fenton Street Market. I was at Fenton about 6 or 7 times last year, so I’m pretty familiar with set-up and everything and have it down pretty well. I did want to switch things up a little bit and bring some of my spray art and other works with me to markets this year, so that proved to be a bit of a challenge. I drive a Honda Civic. So my tent, weights, tub of shirts, tub of supplies/posters/accessories, tables, chair, mini dolly, and art all have to fit in this small coupe. I was able to fit more in than I thought possible, which allowed me to bring some bigger canvases down to the market.
Market day was great, although pretty cold. There were some people out shopping, but not as many as there would have been if the weather would have been warmer. Still, all in all, a pretty great day. It’s always great to meet new people and get to know them. It’s really awesome to be able to make an instant connection with someone because of a similar interest. I was able to share the vision of Sotare with a good number of people. Lots of them were stoked about Sotare’s positive message.
I truly believe in the Sotare message. If you have a dream or a goal, really try to find a way to make it reality. This could be taking a big leap of faith and launching something huge. Or it could mean scaling your idea down to something you can test in a smaller market and in a smaller way before making it bigger. Whatever it is and whatever you want to to- go for it. Dream it. Plan it. Work it. Make it reality. The world needs dreamers. Part of what makes the world a beautiful place is it’s vast diversity. Is your idea a little out there? Good. It’ll be something new and fresh. Doesn’t mean people will flock to it right away. But over time you never know what will happen. In fact, you never know what will happen with anything if you don’t try. You could fail. So what? Try anyway. Success is just a series of failures that eventually leads you to the right destination.
Keep leaping forward. Things can be pretty dark in our world now days. Be the light in someone else’s darkness.
March is upon us and we are officially at the cusp of spring! Hallelujah! Pretty soon it’ll be time to crack out the skateboard, cook-out, enjoy short-sleeves, and bask in the sunlight. Personally, I’ve been itching to get out into a vendor market for Sotare. It’s always a great time of meeting other artists, introducing people to Sotare, and new experiences.
This month, we have released the “Zombie Joey” poster.
This 8 x 10 poster print is the perfect size for framing and putting on a dresser, bookshelf, or desk.
Get your “Zombie Joey” over at the store.
You can also get a “Zombie Joey” sticker in our sticker pack.
As the snow melts away and warm spring weather begins to roll in we will be pulling down the White Out Bundle soon. However, you will still be able to order up until March 27th. After that, it will be removed. Get yours while you can!
Make sure you get outside and enjoy the warmer weather this month!
This February I’m proud to announce a new version of the Chaos shirt, now available in white.
This shirt is bold yet simple. A solid blue design stands out on the crisp white shirt. Wear yours to stay a head above the rest when it comes to style and design.
The name “Chaos” refers to the state of the world in ancient times, as mankind regressed and degraded itself to the point of needing to start over. This shirt is a reminder of the progress we have made and how far we have come as a species.
In honor of winter and snow we are introducing the White Out Bundle.
All these great items for a ridiculously low price of $50 plus shipping.
Grab your White Out Bundle today.
Stay warm. Stay safe.
This project was a labor of love. Lots of time went into making my dream of creating a toy a reality. I’m very proud with how this art piece turned out.
The first step in making the toy was creating the clay sculpt. I’m no expert in sculpting. Nevertheless, that was not going to hold me back from making a toy. Since it had been years since I even tried to sculpt anything and did not know sculpting techniques I did a lot of research. I was reading, watching tutorials online, and practicing. There are lots of really great sculptors out there with time-lapse videos of their work. There are also resin toy makers who have blogs and post about works in progress. All of this creates some great learning material!
I used copper wire, frame hanging wire, and some tin foil to make the base of the body. Then I began layering clay over top of the wire and tin foil. One thing I would do differently is wrap more tin foil around the character, especially the arms and tail.
To create Joey’s face inside the mask I added a few different layers of clay. First his hair was cut out and placed in the right spot. Then his kangaroo hood was added in.
It took a long time to get his shape right and to make him as smooth as I wanted. I would work on the sculpture on and off for weeks. As he came together more detail was added. I was able to add ears and arms, and make the feet look similar to the drawing.
Some of the last bits to be added were the patches, stitching, and his eyes. Then I used clay softner and a paintbrush to smooth him out and take out lots of his imperfections and get him looking the best possible.
Since I worked with Super Sculpey, I could bake him at home using the oven. Once baked, I sanded him, patched him up, and baked him again. By this point, about a month had passed since first working on the sculpt.
For around eleven months the finished sculpt stood on my desk. I had to learn how to make the silicone mold and cast resin. From reading through numerous blogs, I knew there was a risk of breaking the sculpt during the mold making process. I created a dummy version of Joey really quickly, just to use for a test silicone mold. I wanted to ensure that the Joey I spent hours and hours crafting wasn’t going to be compromised until I could master making a mold.
This was a good call, because the first mold did not go so well. Not enough mold release was used and it ended up as one big block of silicone. Which in turn broke the test Joey into three pieces!
Taking some mini figures I had in the office, I created some test molds with them, experimenting with how much mold release would be needed, and even testing out Vasaline as a release agent. Both of these worked. So I hot glued the test Joey back together and created a test mold for him. I wanted to see how the resin would flow into the mold, and where potential air bubbles would be formed and all that jazz. This time around it worked.
Finally it was time to make the real mold of Joey. I was a little nervous about making this mold, so I took my time. In the end, everything turned out well. The only problem was that Joey’s tail broke when getting him out of the mold. I’ll have to figure out how to fix this for the future when the time comes to make a new mold.
I started making some test pulls, figuring out how the plastic worked and how the mold itself would be to work with. It was awesome pulling the first warm toy out of the mold.
The final hurtle in the creation of Joey was painting him. I didn’t realize that using mold release would make it practically impossible to paint him until I had three pulls and was trying to paint one of them. The paint would not stick- no matter how much I washed the resin. I tried priming with everything, including car paint primer, and nothing worked.
So I did more research and came across powder molding. With this information in hand I began using baby powder as the release agent, and Krylon Fusion for plastic as a base coat. It worked!
Lastly was the process of painting by hand all the details in Joey. It was a lot of fun mixing up some custom colors and watching him come to life! It was a painstakingly slow process, but well worth it to see the finished toy. After each resin figure was finished being painted I would seal them by spraying multiple coats of clear matte lacquer.
That was the end of my thirteen month journey, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I have more resin figures on the way and I hope to continue exploring this art form for years to come.
Joey makes a great addition to any indie toy enthusiast’s collection.
If you have any questions about making resin toys or any thing relating to art- hit me up in the comments section or shoot me an email.
Last fall just seemed to fly by! Heck, the whole year went fast. 2014 was a great year for Sotare. We launched in December of 2013 and in 2014 headed out to vendor markets, created some new shirts, and broke out into different forms of art. By the end of the year the vision for the Sotare brand was really starting to come to fruition.
One of the highlights last year was participating in Hagerstown’s Downtown Movement in November. During this event, lots of businesses open up temporary pop-up shops in the downtown. For two weekends in a row I was able to join the Gifted Market, a place for artists and business consultants to have booths and mini-stores. I transformed my space to include lots of paintings, shirts, toys, and posters. It was awesome to see what everyone liked about the brand. The spray art was really popular, so I may even add some to the online shop in the future.
To launch into this year a new shirt, “Chaos”, has been added to the shop.
Chaos in available in black and is screen printed on a Gildan tee. Grab yours over at the shop for $14.99.
This year I’m hoping to release some new posters, new shirts, new toys, and some more exciting things. And we will of course have special bundles released throughout the year. I really want to stay committed to bringing you good deals on art and clothes, and it’s been a lot of fun putting the bundles together. I still have some blogs waiting to be posted, and they’ll be here before long. It’s been a cold winter here in Maryland, so while I stay cooped up indoors I’ll be working on this year’s releases. Stay warm!
This little monster is smiling, small, and looks very lovable. But don’t be fooled by his outward appearance. Inside, Akumu is a vicious monster. If he doesn’t get his way or becomes angry he attacks in the most viscous of ways.
Akumu is a hand-made resin figure. He is hand-cast, hand-painted, and hand-finished. Because of the handmade nature of this art piece, each one will vary slightly from the photos shown.
This December (and maybe a little longer) we are offering the best bundle this year- The Christmas Bundle.
This pack includes three shirts, a canvas belt, a sticker pack, and some surprises. Make sure you pick one of these bad boys up!
This first year of running Sotare has been a blast, a lot of work, and a lot of fun.
If you haven’t heard already, I would like to announce the the Organized Chaos Bundle.
This is the first of monthly bundles to be released this fall. Every month we will be introducing some great deals, which will be available for a limited time. With a stagnant economy, everybody needs to hold on to as much cash as possible, and this is my way of helping you save some cash while still being able to pick up some new clothes and art.
This bundle includes A New Beginning shirt, Organized Chaos poster, Organized Chaos belt, Organized Chaos key chain, a button pack and will include some random bonus items.
Grab yours for $30.
All items are available now exclusively at iamsotare.com.
This September I am proud to bring you “Promise“.
The rainbow is a symbol of promise, a symbol of hope, a symbol of trust. The rainbow is a reminder of a cataclysmic change from years ago.
This vibrant, colorful Sotare shirt is printed on a cotton Gildan tee, available for $14.99 a shirt.
Promise is available in both black white colors. Wear yours with style.
Also, there is a new kangaroo in town- the Organized Chaos Mega Bouncer.
This kangaroo takes it’s name and style from the Organized Chaos line of paintings, posters, and accessories.
This is a large version of the Classic Bouncer toy, measuring at 7 inches tall.
Grab yours while you can for $15.
All items are available now exclusively at iamsotare.com.
How has your summer been? Mine has been kinda crazy, so sorry for the lack of updates. This summer seemed to just fly by in a wink.
In June I mangled my foot up badly while skateboarding, so the majority of my summer has been without skating. Any Marylander knows, you gotta skate while the sun is shining and the weather is good- which isn’t for long because fall rolls in quick, winter drags on, and the spring is rainy. So now I’m working my way back into skating, hoping to be able to attempt my first eight stair this fall.
I was able to be a part of Fenton Street Market three times this summer, and DC Meet Market in July. It was great to meet some new friends and get the word out about Sotare. When there aren’t people stopping by the booth, I’ve been using my time to sketch out new ideas, and plan ways to make the booth even better. It’s been beneficial to connect with other vendors- especially those who are also indie clothing brands.
I’ve also been using the summer to finish up some new pieces which will be released over the course of this fall! New shirts, three new toys, new stickers, and new buttons. First release of the fall comes September 5th!
I’m also proud to announce that from now through the end of the year we will be introducing monthly bundles. These bundles will only be available for a limited time, so snatch yours while you can. This will be a great way to get shirts, posters, toys, and other items at a lower cost. So more things for you for less money. I’ll be including surprises with each order, including some handmade one-of-a-kind items, and some of them are looking pretty sweet. You never know what you might get with your order!
Currently we have the End of the Summer Sale going on, where you can get three shirts and some other items for $50.
I also spent some time this summer getting Sotare a proper lookbook. Me and my brother, Matt, went out and shot a bunch of pictures. I assembled them into a pretty sweet catalog. I’ve been posting some of the pictures on Instagram (@iamsotare) and Facebook. More will be showing up on the site, too.
I also approached a local store about carrying Sotare, which would be the first ever store to carry the product. I plan to hit up more places starting next week. I hope that something comes from it and Sotare can spread. Do you know of any places where Sotare would be a good fit? Let me know- and if the store you suggest decides to carry Sotare I’ll send you a little bag of goodies!
Also, I have a pretty big behind the scenes blog about the making of the Joey resin toy coming soon. So check back here in a few days. Sorry for the long update- but it’s been a while.
Enjoy the rest of your week! What’s been the best part of your summer?
Joey, our mascot, comes to life in the form of our first resin toy!
Standing 3.75 inches tall, this little guy is sure to be a favorite addition to your toy collection.
Each of these figures are hand cast with solid resin plastic. Every toy has been hand painted, bringing out the detail of Joey and his kangaroo costume.
Because of the hand made nature of these figures, each one will differ slightly and have it’s own unique bit of character.
This first edition is limited to five pieces. Grab yours while you can!