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Clothing

June 28, 2005;/h3>

{     Secret Handshake Designs     }    

Designer t-shirts: Everybody's doin' it, but who's doin' it well? These days, you've got to be a little discriminating with your hard-earned cash. Thankfully, Secret Handshake is there to save you from the glut of samey-lookin' designs that have flooded the market as of late. Drawing from a pool of diverse artists and designers, they crank out small batches of really beautiful tees, guaranteed to put something fresh on your chest. Take a browse to see what they've got cookin', and you'll soon notice what makes Secret Handshake something special. Like the hunk of steak hanging from a fish hook on Greg Shirilla's design. That piece of meat is so well screened to the fabric it looks like it's about to jump off your gut and right onto the grill. While you're peeking around, take a gander at Tim Kerr's tribute to Sun Ra, or Brett Superstar's giggle-inducing image of a big-nosed guy in a tie, both pieces rich with embellishment and detail. Abby Friedman and Jeremiah Ketner err on the side of the cute with their contributions; Friedman's piece bears a very cool cut-paper-on-doodle-background feel, while Ketner's design looks pulled straight from one of his paintings, replete with adorably sour catchphrase. There's also a new design from Nevada Hill, all tentacly with skulls and laser-beams, that's sure to tickle your tee-spot. Or you can just grab a classic Secret Handshake logo shirt, featuring the image you see attached to this review. It's nice to see this crew mixing it up with some truly original material and a nice wide range of styles, especially since they've just really been under way since March. They may be The New Kids On The Block, but with designs this solid, I guarantee they'll be Hangin' Tough for some time to come....

     » SecretHandshakeDesigns.com

Film & TV

June 23, 2005;/h3>

{     Master of the Flying Guillotine     }    

master.jpg Jimmy Wang Yu is widely recognized by film buffs from the classic kung fu film The One-Armed Swordsman (and also from the Shaw Brothers' collaboration with Japan's Daiei Motion Picture Co. Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman). In Master Of The Flying Guillotine he plays a One-Armed Boxer who must face the master of a goofy decapitation device resembling a large bowl that is a deadly weapon in the skilled hands of the blind wielder. Upon receiving word that a one-armed boxer killed his two disciples (*events which took place in the film The One-Armed Boxer), The Master of the Flying Guillotine sets out for revenge. Meanwhile The One Armed Boxer is invited to participate in a tournament and agrees to go, but only to observe the different kung fu styles on display. As the tournament begins we are treated to some bloody kung fu fighting as different fighting styles are on display. The tournament comes to a halt when The Master of The Flying Guillotine shows up and beheads one of the contestants. As the chase continues The One Armed Boxer faces a long-armed oponent waiting for him and hatches a plan for a Thai boxer who is on his tail. But that's only the begining, he has to save some strength to face a Japanese warrior and set an even more elaborate trap for a heated finale. Master Of The Flying Guillotine was a huge grindhouse hit in America despite it's hokey low budget effects including the rather obvious arms stuffed inside shirts. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at Caffeine-Headache.net.

     » View trailer
     » Buy

Reading

June 22, 2005;/h3>

{     HI-FRUCTOSE - Issue One     }    

Crammed with more delicious goodness than a billion Hostess Fruit Pies, HI-FRUCTOSE is toysploitation at it's finest. Tons of luscious pictures printed in brilliant color on thick-stock pages, exclusive interviews with the ladies and germs behind the designs we've all come to love, and a refreshingly unique take on collectible toy culture make this less of a magazine and more of a hand-held bit of modern-day cultural anthropology. As a contributor my opinion may be a bit biased, but speaking as a fan of Pervasive Art and a true lover of toys, there's little that's not impressive about this first issue of HI-FRUCTOSE. This is largely due to the passion evident in every page; HF is hand-crafted by people with a true appreciation and understanding of toy culture. Imagine it as a fanzine crossbred with a coffee-table book, brimming with info and enthusiasm yet also picture-filled and slick-as-hell. In the world of toysploitation, HI-FRUCTOSE is something truly special.

     » Visit the HI-FRUCTOSE site and pick up a copy today!

Reading

{     /     }    

slash.gifIm more than likely biased, since I have illustrations in the first three issues of SLASH magazine.. but I had no idea what/who I was really working with since it was a new rag and I hadnt seen a copy in print. Well.. I just got the first 3 issues in the mail (looks like 2 of the 3 are already sold out) and HOT DAMN this is a great magazine. You can tell looking at the first 3 issues that they are growing super fast.. from all black and white to some color pages in issue 3... the art direction is fantastic and easy on the eyes. The photography used, and art used (myself excluded of course) is spot on. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » Slash Magazine . com

Twelves

{     12 Hip-Hop Classics that All Sample the Same Damn Song v3.0     }    

(Bob James Nautilus edition)

1 EPMD Brothers On My Jock
2 Eric B & Rakim Follow the Leader
3 Eric B & Rakim Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em
4 Ghostface Daytona 500
5 Lord Shafiyq My Mic's On Fire
6 Main Source Live at the Barbecue
7 Organized Konfusion Stray Bullet
8 Poor Righteous Teachers Word is Bond
9 Public Enemy Anti-Nigger Machine
10 Run DMC Beats to the Rhyme
11 Slick Rick Children's Story
12 Ultramag Raise It Up

Interviews

June 21, 2005;/h3>

{     Interview : Nathan Jurevicius     }    

Nathan Jurevicius (most known for his Scary Girl comic and figures) has achieved global sucess and cult status in the world of illustration, animation and toy design. His toys are sought after, there is a tv series moving into production and yet he remains a really down-to-earth guy. Nathan resides in Melbourne, Victoria where he is constantly drawing lots and lots of pictures. Amidst all this productivity Nathan took time out to chat with Crown Dozen...

Interviews

{     Interview : Gary Baseman     }    

By Lindsey Baker and Adam Barraclough
No single person has done more to help define, progress and legitimize the current movement towards accessible art than Gary Baseman. He has left his mark upon an amazing variety of mediums, from the Emmy Award winning Teacher's Pet animated series and subsequent feature film to commercial illustration for corporate heavies like Nike, Chili's and Mercedes-Benz. His 'Dumb Luck' designer vinyl toy (produced by Critterbox) has taken the collectible market by storm, selling out left and right, leading to several other toy concepts in development. Amidst all that, he's still made time for internationally staged solo and group gallery shows, contributed illustration work to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and Time magazines and compiled and released a 350+ page book showcasing his work. He also coined the term 'Pervasive Art' and has remained on the cutting edge of this movement, helping to foster it's growth and contextualize it within the contemporary art world. Oh, and he also made time for this interview.

Interviews

{     Interview : Ugly Dolls     }    

Back in 2001, Sun-Min Kim forever changed the course of history when she sent her then long-distance boyfriend, David Horvath, a hand-sewn plush doll modeled after a little character he frequently doodled into the corners of his correspondence with her. The apron-wearing little fellow was named Wage, and he was the very first Uglydoll. Eventually, Sun-Min would bring to life even more of David's drawings, and what began as a huggable love-letter of sorts would result in a hugely successful line of plush dolls.

David's infectious character design has since been translated into several other mediums- from collectible vinyl figures and an upcoming video game release for Sony's PlayStation 3, to an animated children's TV program in Japan and an Uglydolls-themed show currently in production for the US. His insistence upon creative control over these projects has set new standards for creator's rights, and he has meticulously worked to insure the quality of the products associated with his design. And, as we discovered, he's a hell of a nice guy whose greatest professional joy thus far has been spotting one of his Uglydolls in the hands of a five-year old girl.

Interviews

{     Interview : Friends With You     }    

Everybody needs friends like Friends With You. The Miami-based design team has been shaking up the world of collectible art with their astonishing and magical plush creations for the past few years, and now they stand poised to unleash their work into new mediums, and to an ever-expanding audience. With their hand-made approach, their decision to work with non-traditional materials and the fantastic stories and themes that run throughout their work, Friends With You are more like a coven of three mad-scientist/magicians than they are simply a collective of like-minded artists. After a gallery show with fellow art-warlock David Choe and right before a trip to Japan so they can spread the FWY virus overseas, Melody, Sam and Tury took some time to answer a few questions for Crown Dozen.

Interviews

{     Interview : Fudge Factory Comics     }    

Travis Millard is the CEO of Fudge Factory Comics, a one-man pencil-shredding assembly line, pumping out some of the most strange and oddly rewarding illustrations, zines, books, and street art you'll see in this lifetime. His unique stories mainly revolve around this kid Brian, a neighborhood weirdo with mountain goat horns whom I won't go into here as it's better read yourself, and various other cats and birds that you would find wandering the suburban streets, kicking rocks behind Walmart, or jackin' suits down in the subway. Seriously, it's some very honest, really weird stuff, and thus great fun and well worth the effort of chasing down.

That said, after I endured my 3-year long week of fighting off what Travis skillfully diagnosed as the Avian Bird Flu, I got the chance to quiz the guy about higher education, the reasons for life, and his personal tastes in the finer things... but he wasn't havin' that at all, and gave us this instead...

Interviews

{     Interview : Kozyndan     }    

Crowndozen has long been a proponent of the work of kozyndan, ever since first spying their work in the pages of Giant Robot magazine. For those who don't know, kozyndan are an unstoppable team composed of (wife) Kozy and (husband) Dan. When these two activate their Wonder Twin Powers, they are able to create much more than a bucket of water and a purple gorilla- they transcend genre, mix media and forever blur the line between fine art and commercial art. There is a balance struck between feminine detail and masculine concept, and what emerges are some of the most compelling drawings and paintings you've ever laid your eyes on. It's not so much the complexity as it is the beautiful layering of images and thoughts upon each other that draws the eye back again and again to their work.

With two gallery shows just launched (see below) and a ton of projects in the works, we were delighted when Dan sat down to answer some questions. (Kozy was sleeping.)

Interviews

{     Interview : Jeff Soto     }    

Sifting through the immense amount of graffiti-influenced and so-called "lowbrow" paintings that we see these days, there is one artist whom has developed a style consisting of instantly recognizable icons, incredibly attractive emotions, and still completely approachable ideas, all wrapped up in some of the most incredible talent and natural instinct I have seen in recent years. Studying hard to become what he is today, and shaped by the pokes, jabs, and then soothing caresses of a hard-knock art world, his name is Jeff Soto and if you haven't been peeping his stuff already, take note because he is one to watch.

Jeff has already shown in US and European galleries, has commercial clients including Sony Music, Spin Magazine, and Morrow Snowboards, and is still as creative, prolific, humble, and hungry as he was when he first began. There's not much else to be said that isn't covered below, but I will add that honestly, if I could pick only one painting to hang in my living room, it would be Jeff's 'Turtle God' piece that I have included below. Yup.

Interviews

{     Interview : Rockin' Jelly Bean     }    

Rockin' Jellybean is an enigma shrouded in mystery, wrapped in a Mexican wrestling mask. As frontman for the band Jackie and the Cedrics, he has been shaking up the Japanese garage scene for years, and his love of rock and roll is only trumped by his love of the female form. When RJB puts brush to canvas, or pen to paper, what emerges are some of the most titillating and visceral images imaginable. Hot-rod babes, stoner girls and sci-fi chicks, all rendered in a style that is equal parts underground comic and pin-up cheesecake. He draws from a vast pool of influences, though his work is unquestionably his own.

Interviews

June 20, 2005;/h3>

{     Interview : Jon Moritsugu     }    

Without question, you know when you're watching a Jon Moritsugu film. Honestly, how many filmmakers, or bands for that matter, can you name who are so distinguishable that you can recognize them after just a few seconds of exposure to their work? Both in distinctiveness of style and independence of vision Jon Moritsugu is as close as I've come to seeing a John Waters in my generation. Like the noble Punk Rawk Indian using the bones, meat, organs, and every other part of the buffalo (sometimes literally), he's been scraping together 20 years worth of brilliant films which he's written, directed, starred, scored, and maybe most impressively, distributed. Trash like this only comes around every so often, so dear Mod Fuckers, Fame Whores, and Scum Rockers, if you want to know what everyone in "the future" is talking about, just go and buy yourself a Moritsugu film...today.

Toys

June 16, 2005;/h3>

{     DUNNY SERIES 2     }    

DUNNY MADNESS! starting June 16, series 2 of the Dunny line of platform toys is released to the world by kidrobot. These 3 bad boys (and girls) are decorated by 12 different artists/designers. Though 40,000 total were produced (2,500 of each design) there are also 'chase' toys that are very ultra rare, and since its a blind assortment, you have to buy a ton if you want to collect them all. These are going to sell out INSANELY fast, so if you are a fan, and slept on series one, stop by kidrobot before its too late. They go on sale 11:00 am (nyc time) and the opening party for the release will take place at the SF and NY kidrobot stores. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » Buy them at Kid Robot

Music

{     Devin Davis- Lonely People of the World Unite!     }    

devindavis.jpg You would think that an album titled Lonely People of the World Unite would be chock full of some sad bastard music..... however this is quite the contrary. Despite the title, the album actually seems to be a cure for loneliness. Lonely People of the World, Unite! will help you shake those blues away with a little help from some hand claps, horns and "na-na-na" choruses. Now that�s not to say there aren't any introspective stuff going on here, �Cannons At The Courthouse� opens with a plaintive Dylan melody and then morphs into a Pink Floyd psychedelia flavored tune all in a matter of minutes, complete with playful lyrics about smoking joints with Willie Nelson. Davis even veers into a little Bowie-esque heavy guitar glam flavored anthems like �Moon Over Shark City� and �Transcendental Sports Anthem�. Other highlights include the �60s flavored ballad �Sandie� or the piano blues rocker �Paratrooper With Amnesia�. Simply put, this Chicago native was born for one reason: to belt out energized pop songs...well as far as I�m concerned that's the only reason. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at Caffeine-Headache.net.

     » Listen/Buy

Toys

June 13, 2005;/h3>

{     FUNKO - Spastik Plastik     }    

FUNKO's Spastik Plastik line has been a bastion of fun and wacky character design since it's inception, and this latest series is no exception. These little guys have so much personality they don't need no stinkin' articulation, and you don't have to feel guilty about not playing with them because, well, you can't. They're simply meant to sit there and look great, and that's exactly what they do. Standing roughly 9" tall, these beauties come packaged in a clear plastic display tube with original artwork backgrounds/inserts. They just ooze animated charm and it's easy to imagine each of them as the star of their own sleazy, cheesy or just slightly deranged cartoon. Their designs riff off everything from hot-rod and lounge culture to old-school animation and the just plain weird. (fer instance, one of my faves- Pulpo the Pirate Squid.) And at under 10 bucks a piece, they're ready to start popping up all over your toy shelf.

     » Buy Senor Gomez and others from ningyoushi.com
     » To see the entire FUNKO Spastik Plastik Family

Reading

June 12, 2005;/h3>

{     U&LC     }    

U&lc magazine (upper & lower case) was a graphic design / typography magazine published by the ITC foundary for 25 years. Its purpose was to promote the ITC foundary family but also to promote good design. Many issues were designed by guest designers/studios. For most of it's life it was a free publication, and its print run was huge. The magazine had a huge influence on the design world, and as type/design technology changed, the magazine grew with the trends. Over the years a ton of valuable topics and talent were covered, and if you were lucky enough like me to grow up in a graphic designing family during the 90's, going back and looking at old covers/articles of U&LC, their influence is obvious. For those of you that have never seen a copy of the now out of print magazine, U&lc : Influencing Design & Typography is an important resource in understanding how graphic design has evolved over the past 25 years. Those of you/us that have only been a part of the industry for less than 10 years have no idea how dramatic of a change it was, when the industry as a whole had to adapt to things like... a .. computer. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this archive of the best articles and covers U&lc ever printed. Its a big book and there is a lot to absorb. You may learn a little bit about good design, but you will also learn alot about a legend in the design world. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » Buy it...

Toys

June 10, 2005;/h3>

{     Good Wood Gang!     }    

Friends with you have proven themselves experts in cute stuffed toys. Now they come correct with a series of absolutly amazing hand painted wood toys. Thats right.. wood. Sure vinyl is cool, and getting a limited edition vinyl toy always makes the collector feel special. But what could be more special than a hand painted, basically one of a kind (though in an edition of 500) toy that you get to put together and make your own? Im lucky enough to have obtained a "sweet tooth" (the one in the front of the picture) as a pre-release.. but you can expect this series to hit the shelves begining of July. KidRobot (LA) will have them July 7, and Giant Robot (NY) July 8. I cant express enough how lovely these are in real life. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » Friends With You
     » Kid Robot
     » Giant Robot

Music

June 8, 2005;/h3>

{     The Perishers - Let There Be Morning     }    

"Weekends", the lead-in track on Let There Be Morning, could very well be the soundtrack to my life as of late. Laced with a gentle sort of dolor, it lays bare the modern working-class malaise inherent in being chained to a soulless day-job while constantly dreaming of the escape to personal freedom that comes upon clocking out for the weekend. The ability to deal with this sort of real-life dilemma sincerely and genuinely is something The Perishers manage quite well throughout Let There Be Morning. In many ways, this is the "album for the everyman" that Coldplay's Chris Martin wishes he was still capable of writing. Comparisons between The Perishers and Coldplay are well-grounded, as they traffic in fairly similar brands of emotionally-driven piano-rock, though lacking multi-million dollar success and movie-star wives, it's a bit easier to swallow The Perishers' tales of everyday strife. They also exhibit a bit less flourish and pop-appeal, and while that may keep them from going platinum it might also keep them well-grounded enough to insure that they can continue to deliver such honest sentiment.

     » Buy it...

Reading

June 3, 2005;/h3>

{     Horror Series     }    

Horror series is a book of 600 original drawings self published by Joshua Rickenbaugh of Knewseen.com. The book is only $10 and staying true to Joshua's mission to provide affordable art to the masses, each copy is signed and numbered, and comes with 10 original drawings (the ones featured in the book.) Its hard to describe this book.. because its so uniquley Rickenbaugh, that if you arent familliar with his work already, one flip through this and you'll feel like old friends. This book makes a great addition to any collection and buying a copy helps support the artist directly. You can pick it up from Josh's site, the Drama's site and You Work for Them. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » knewseen.com
     » thedramastore.org
     » youworkforthem.com

Reading

June 1, 2005;/h3>

{     WARNING     }    

plain and simple, WARNING is a book filled with pictograms from around the world, depicting different warnings. from signs that show you how to keep your baby alive, to signs that show you how to keep your hands attached to your body.. this book is a really great resource. wether you are doing research on info graphics for a project, or you are trying to figure out whats the best way to explain to someone how to avoid being mangled by a forklift, WARNING is a really fun and inexpensive book to add to your collection. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » Buy it...