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Jul 24, 2007

Interview: Three from the Pocket Full of Monsters

[ Pocket Full of Monsters is a large distributed art crew of talented underground artists united through their mutual love of the creative process and the internet.   Vinyl Pulse recently had the pleasure to chat with three  'Pockets' members -- Arron Martin ("Angry Woebots"), Damon ("Peekaboo Monster") and Dean Bradley ("Mainframe"), about the crew, their art, and of course toys.  On top of that we tagged along for their live canvas painting for a charity benefit to support Cade, a 13 yr old brain-damaged victim of a drunk driver, at the Pinch (Newport Beach).

The three 'Pockets'  members are upfront about their love of toys and their desire to create them. Dean Bradley's Mainframe is now a vinyl figure from STRANGEco (dropping at SDCC) and Angry Woebots is currently working with STRANGEco on a figure. Live Painting is a big part of the 'Pockets' art. Five members of The Poket Full of Monsters Crew -- Angry Woebots, Mainframe, Peekaboo Monster, Phallic Mammary, and Tragnark will be showing their skillz with live painting at the SDCC Da Festicon party (7.26) sponsored by STRANGEco, Munky King and Vinyl Pulse.  And with that, here's the interview. ]

So why don't you guys introduce yourselves -- where you're from, and all that

Peekaboo Monster: Peekaboo Monster. I'm currently in Seattle soon to be in LA in September.

Mainframe: Dean Bradley -- Mainframe.  I created Mainframe, grew up in Orange County California and I'm probably here for the rest of my life (chuckles).

Angry Woebots:  Arron Matin - Angry Woebots. I was rock hopping between the West Coast and Hawaii but now I am based out of Honolulu, Hawaii -- the windward side of the island of Oahu.

Pocket Full of Monsters Crew

Why don't you tell me a little bit about the Pocket Full of Monsters ?

Angry Woebots:  [I was inspired after watching the Barnstormers doing time lapse painting]. I saw that -- together as a crew, I was like that's awesome -- instead of trying to build by yourself...  I knew alot of artists on Myspace that I met.  Its really weird casue this was like six years ago.  I was just talking and networking with people -- I saw their art online and I really liked it. I was moving to seattle and I wanted to start a crew called the Pocket Full of Monsters. I started running into people like Peekabo, Darvin Vida, Tsua -- we have so many people. At first it was just a Seattle based crew, but I was keeping in touch with Dean  two years before that.  It wasn't organized.

I started meeting people from different cities who were kinda doing the same thing.  I started networking online, getting into shows. My whole idea was that I didn't want to do this by myself.  For me it was fun doing it but I knew so many other talented people.   They were afraid -- not afraid, but didn't know how to network or didn't know how to talk to each other.  Just doing their own thing.   I got Peekaboo Monster, 2H from Seattle, Phallic Mamary from New York, Dean Bradley, and we were just friends online and things started to pick up and people started hearing the name.  It's kinda cool cause we really haven't been that close except through the internet.  Except for the west coast people we haven't even met. Just through online we got close, talking to each other. It's cool -- once the ball got rolling. I've seen everyone progress -- their careers progress.  Lots of us are doing things that are really commendable. Whether it be your own private business, your art -- It's a big life process, like learning.

Angry Woebots

Arron, the Pandas are now your main art focus.  You said you were doing a lot of different things before.  How did you start doing Pandas?

Angry Woebots: I started doing live paintings at slam poetry nights.  They needed an artist -- I was  really into it from doing live art.  Live art in front of people... that's cool.  I used to like to paint all kinds of other animals.  Burly animals, I like big round characters.  I painted a panda because I didn't have all the paint.  I was actually going to paint a grizzly bear but I really did just have black and white paint.  So I was like allright I think I'm going to paint a panda bear.  I painted it and someone bought it off me that night.  It was a once a month event.  So for the next event and the event after that I would try and paint different things but people would come up to me and say "I've been to so and so's house and I saw that huge panda,  you think I could commission you to paint a panda bear ?".

Back then I was networking with this guy Ian from Kicks Hawaii and he asked me to a solo show and it was probably 85% pandas and the rest were stuffies and random art I had hanging around my garage.  It was a one night show and I sold all my pieces.  I must have had like 98 pieces -- it was crazy, it opened me up.  I used to just give away art -- it was a fun thing. Whoa. It wasn't really about the money but it was kinda cool -- I could live off this and be happy, instead of working 9 to 5.  I started doing more panda shows and people just started digging it. 

They've changed alot over the years.  They are actually more angry now then they've ever been.  The old school ones were more cartoony and they lost their black spots.  They're all flared out and their fur is all spiked up and stuff. Some people are fans of the old style, some like the middle style, or the new style.  That's pretty much what I've been doing -- just the pandas. 


Dean, Have you always been drawing Mainframe?

Mainframe: I grew up on the border of Tustin and Santa Ana, California.  My mom's a fine artist.  She was always encouraging me to draw and paint.   So my whole life I've been painting and drawing. 

After I finished college I started working full time as a graphic designer.  I figured this was my one way to make money and be creative.  I didn't want to be a starving artist.  While my mom is a fine artist, my dad is a businessman -- graduated from Wharton, did fairly well -- we always had what we needed.  I dreamt of that -- having a family, being a provider.  So I didn't want to be a starving artist but I wanted to do something fun and creative with my career, so graphic design was definitely the right way for me to head.

I started working with Hurley at the very beginning phases.  Hurley's a big surfwear company.  Bob Hurley was the former licensor for Billabong USA.  He built Billabong, dropped the license and started Hurely.  They hit the fast track -- they had all the marketing, all the designers and all the sales in place.  It was a new fresh brand.  Coming out of college it was perfect timing for meI landed there and I started working ALOT.  I was enjoying it but I was putting in killer hours.  It was not uncommon to get in at 8 in the morning and leave at midnight or two in the morning. 

I ended up spending all my time in front of this computer.  I really started feeling my life was unbalanced and there was some sort of realtionship happening there. I started thinking about it alot -- "this is my partner right here".  I started doing a couple of sketeches of thse computers that had become errect/ stood up.  I did a series where I painted the Mainframe character over printed photos of plants, fields and jungles.  I was placing this computer character in a natural environment. The initial concept of Mainframe for me was Nature vs. technology, exploring the realtionship we have with the computer. People are using it on a daily basis and it's taken over jobs...  That was about seven years ago.  Over the years mainframe has been the vehicle for expressing myself.  There were times when you saw him in a war suit when I was  having alot of ego -- when I was on a good foot working with artists on battles / collaborations.  There's been times when his head was hanging low when I was going through my own personal stuff.

Peekaboo Monster 

What's up Peekaboo?  I'll be honest and say I'm not familiar with your art.

Peekaboo Monster
: I like it that way.  I was real ambitious at first.  As far as Seattle goes, it's really small so if you put in your work you kinda get noticed out there.  That's why I've been trying to do more in LA, because it's better for me. My style changes so much and I'm all over the place.  I'm not happy with what I do at the time and I always want to progress in how I do it.  I'm kinda glad I'm not too well-known  because it hasn't put me in my box yet to where I have to give people what they expect.   

I went to high-school in Montana and it put me in a box and I needed to leave.  So I went to school for design and I was like screw this, I don't want to do what someone tells me to do -- I don't care how much money it costs. Peekaboo was just an idea had because I was drawing characters coming out the corner of the page.  They were popping out of things.  They were never complete characters -- I don't draw legs. It's all based on half-circles.  Peekaboo was kind of the theme.  My inspiration was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and cartoons and toys.  My characters are kinda drawn like the turtles -- the head is round, the body is round.  I used to draw like that when I was five years old.  Simple shapes that you could build into more developed characters.  Now I'm taking that concept and trying to make things that are more developed and detailed.  I like being on the underground for right now.  There was a point where I really wanted it all and I took a step back and I was like, I'm just going to concentrate on my art and where it goes is where it goes.  You put in the work and you get the work out of it.

The characters are cute and furry, but edgy.  Alot of it is based on personal battles.  On the outside I may seem happy or complete but on the inside I just want to stab myself.  Or I feel like I'm choking and I need to get something out of my throat.  The birds are always part of my paintings. For the most they are crows.  In Seattle there are alot of black birds and it's gray.  They're always observing.  Whatever you're doing, whatever chaos is going on, these birds are chilling doing their thing, sitting on something looking at you do it. 



Have you wanted to do toys for a long time?

Angry Woebots:
Oh yeah.  I used to push my stuff animals that I used to make -- but that didn't work out.  I used to be really into plush.  It's a dream. Even before I started painting -- the thing that got me into the art scene was seeing the toys at Houston in Seattle.  The first time I saw the clay cut-out of the Futura toy at the shop -- I was like "What!?! Dude -- Futura's doing toys, that's crazy".  The Money Mark toy, the Mark Gonzales toy, all that stuff. I was like... all these artists I like are doing toys now.  I thought whoa... I would loooove to do a toy.  Seeing my character in a physical form would be awesome.

Mainframe: You can quote this.  If people think you got a toy on the market and you just made a million bucks, they are waaay off the mark.  I'm sure there are alot of kids out there that think "He's got a toy out so he must be ballin'". 

For me the (Mainframe)  toy is a dream come true.  This what I always wanted to do. I love it and whether or not I get rich off it I'm not concerned about that.  And whether or not I get famous on it, I'm not concerned off that.  Having that prototype sitting on that table -- that's all I needed. I made hand-made toys.  A friend helped me make the mold, we poured plastics in my garage.  Because the mold was carved out of foam, the toys took a foam texture.  I made fifteen of 'em and then I found out it was deadly to be mixing plastics in your garage. 

Live Painting

The 'Pockets' Crew is very involved with live painting from their benefit show @ the 'Pinch' to Da Festicon @ SDCC and the upcoming Sneaker Pimps LA event. 

Peekaboo Monster: We all like to do alot of live stuff. Alot of people are uncomfortable with that.  We'll invite people to do stuff and alot of times that's out of their element.  That's something we do alot.

Angry Woebots: 
I used to paint live in my ewok costume but that shit was way too hot.  Before I started doing pandas, I did all kinds of stuff like stuffed animals and sculpture.   I'm an underground super big star wars head, I love star wars.  One year I was looking at one of my stuffed animals. I was like dude... if I made that pattern big in fur... I could probably put it on... ya know.  I made it and I took a teddy bear head and I copied the pattern of it and I put it together.  And I was like holy shit, I look like a fucking ewok.

[We would like to thank Arron, Damon, and Dean for taking time out of their schedule to chat with us.  If you're SDCC-bound, be sure to check out their live painting for Da Festicon on Thursday, July 26th @ Basic Bar and Grill.]

Posted by Jack @ 11:35 AM in Interviews | Permalink  | Comments (3) |


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PFOM represent!

REAL GRAFFITI IS DONE WITH BRUSHES NOW A DAYS! and on canvas too forget walls!

these guys are hard as hell!

that brandt peters toy is hot. I want it!!!

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