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Aaron Draplin Pop-Up Event at CO

2017 Oct by Mike Davis


The one and only President of Graphic Design is making his way to Minneapolis and will be hanging out at our very own CO Exhibitions for one night only! Stop by to browse a selection of Aaron Draplin's thick line-drenched art prints, pick up a t-shirt, hat, pack of Field Notes, or a copy of the indispensable Pretty Much Everything book. Plus, meet the man himself as well as the legendary Leigh!

We hope to see you at CO on October 11th!

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Our Kickstarter Thank You Party!

2017 Jul by Mike Davis



Mark your calendars... Thanks to your generous support, we hit our Kickstarter goal and you're invited to come celebrate with us! Come party with us at Can Can Wonderland on Friday August 11th. There will be mini golf, vintage pinball, food and drinks, plus music from DJs Mike 2600 and Shannon Blowtorch.

Did you contribute to our Kickstarter campaign? We'll have some of your reward items ready for you to pick up. Just cheered us on from the sidelines? No problem - you're still invited and we'd love to see you there!

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A Conversation with Jacob Bannon

2017 Jul by Mike Davis



Interview by Jenny Handke

Back in 2004,
Burlesque co-founder Wes Winship made his way to a Converge show at Triple Rock Social Club. At the time, Burlesque was finding its legs and building a reputation and had screenprinted the show’s poster, designed by longtime friend and BRLSQ collaborator, Aaron Horkey. Here, Wes saw firsthand Bannon’s way of marrying visual art with his music in a way that feels like they’re extensions of one another in complementary mediums. Between sets, the two were introduced and the rest was history. Jacob and Wes immediately clicked and the two eventually got to work on various projects, like “On My Shield” and “Year of the Hare.” In the last decade, Jacob and BRLSQ have joined forces, creating some of our most popular and fastest-selling prints, like Jacob’s 2015 FRAGMENTS series and art show at CO Exhibitions, a week-long, team-driven print and design project that resulted in more than 200 one-of-a-kind mixed media prints with the help of the entire BRLSQ team.



This Tuesday, July 11th, we’re doing it again and releasing two new prints designed by Jacob, “As Above, So Below,” and “A Rumble Beneath.” Both pieces passed through the hands of our team, where we combined a handful of mixed media techniques including spraypaint, splattered and dripped acrylic paint, and sanding to create bold and unique textures on each sheet of paper prior to screenprinting. These two prints were first debuted at Full Bleed, part of Roadburn Festival 2017 in The Netherlands, where Jacob’s other band, Wear Your Wounds, was performing. Working with Jacob has always flexed our creative brain, stretching what we thought was our capacity to innovate and deliver as a team. These two new prints follow suit in the Bannon-esque tradition of gusto and collaboration. As a tribute to our longtime collaborator, we dropped in with Jacob to get a glimpse of his creative process from his perspective, and a peek at what to expect next from the visual artist and musician.



B: Collaboration seems to be a common theme in your work that I've seen and heard. Have you always collaborated with artists and designers within the scope you do at Burlesque, or was that a new realm for you when you first started producing with us? Why did you decide to collaborate with Burlesque in the first place?

J: I approach creating art from a designer's perspective. If there are things that are within my wheelhouse that I can create, I go for it. If there are situations where collaborating with others makes the most sense, then I am all for it. I feel it is important to be flexible and work well with others. We all learn from one another and are better for it.



B: Wes and Mike light up about  having a hand in your creative process. It's not too common for artists to ask their printers to co-produce art. What's your take on collaborative work like this and do you work as closely with other designers/artists in other creative projects, including music?

J: I really respect the craft and execution of print making. It is an art form within itself. I feel a lot of artists do not give the printers they work with enough credit. It is their insight and knowhow that allow an incredible print to be produced. Wes and Mike are no exception to that. I should also say that I have definitely challenged them in regards to what is possible in print making. I’m always trying to push things farther than the previous project, and they are always game for that challenge.



B: Fragments sounded like a huge undertaking with an incredible turn out. What was that week like for you, and what was the motive behind that concept? What was most fulfilling about that week?

J: Fragments was an interesting experiment. It was a busy week of creating things. A lot of trial and error, and little sleep. Wes approached me with the idea some months before in a formal way. Prior to that, we casually discussed some sort of in-house collaboration where we could approach printmaking from a more fine art based mentality. It was a success for sure and I hope we can do it again down the line.



B: In Rungs in a Ladder you talked about an accident, which obliterated your knee. How did your recovery shape your persona, and how do you think dark experiences like that influence your art today?

J: That would be best answered by a therapist. At this point, who knows. I just pour what I have into making art and music, as well as promoting others efforts. I am very grateful for the art and music worlds and the platform they have given me.


B: What are some other big influencers -people, places and/or experiences- that have a hand in your process and style?

J: Directly Francis Bacon, JWM Turner, Pushead.
Any of the artists and illustrators active within the punk/hardcore/metal world when I was younger.


B: Your work is very theme-heavy. Lots of female subjects, silhouettes, female silhouettes, color and contained chaos. Even when you pair your music and your artwork, there's this sense of audiovisual harmony going on, like both mediums are just progressions of the other. Where do these junctions come from? Is there a hidden message or story behind the themes in your work, specifically the females and contained chaos that's in both your artwork and music?

J: The feminine form is a beautiful thing and the male form is a beautiful thing. I’ve used both in my work. I feel that they can tell a poetic story without the use of words. When I am creating work to be paired with music I do my best to marry the two ideas. With the end goal to have them compliment and enhance one another. I a lot of my work it collage and mixed media work. With that said I have hundreds of thousands of pieces of source material that I’ve used over time. As I build things they tend to take on a character of their own, with their origins being obliterated in the process.


B: What should people expect to see in your work debuting on our website on July 11th?

J: A number of collaborative pieces that were created by myself and Wes.
Kinetic artwork that expands the idea of what is possible through the world of printmaking.



B: With that, what kinds of projects are you cooking up these days? What's next for you?

J: I released a 300 Page art book titled “Dunedevil” recently. It is mainly abstract work and experiments that I created over a weeks time in a dune shack in Provincetown, MA. I also released an experimental album of the same name as a companion piece to it all. I am in the middle of a large project for my own band, Converge. I hope to have that finished up shortly, then on to the next project.

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Thanks Jacob! Don't miss "A Rumble Beneath" and "As Above, So Below" when they arrive in our online store on Tuesday July 11th.

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A conversation with MAST

2017 Jun by Mike Davis



Interview by Jenny Handke

If you’ve paid any mind to BRLSQ over the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely caught wind of MAST, the graffiti artist / renaissance man of illustration / Mechanical Animal Style Technician whose new print just landed in our online store. The New York-based painter recently paid Minnesota a visit to paint live at Soundset 2017, and while he was at it, MAST (AKA indeliblefunk or, more formally, just Anthony) debuted his newest illustration, Alphabet Aerobics, at the Cold World show in our CO Exhibitions gallery. We asked MAST to produce an alphabet print for the show and the final product was something totally out of left field: a funky, poppy, hip hoppy visual rendition of everything between A and Z. We caught up with the artist to talk about his process, his background and why he loves to go berserk with his work, like the 30'x90' mural he’s currently working on (!).


B: When were you first introduced to graffiti?

M: I got into graffiti when I was a young kid. For as long as I can remember I was aware of its presence in NY growing up. The highways were thoroughly bombed and the trucks travelling in traffic were also heavily painted. As a kid in the back seat of the car and walking around NYC it was always something that captured my curiosity.


B: Clearly the (il)legality of the art didn’t steer you away, but why did you pursue it?

M: The mystery was always so alluring. Who was doing it? How were they doing it? Why were they doing it? Seeing graffiti first hand and exploring locations like behind buildings and under bridges on the train lines always excited me. You never knew what you were going to find. At the time I was searching for graffiti as a kid there was a lot to discover. Discovering intricate pieces and characters in these places only fueled my passion to find more and learn how to paint my own.


B: Was there ever a question as to whether you would pursue if full time?

M: As a kid, its what you do, I was too young for a real job and I had this graffiti thing I was captivated by. As I got older and had to own up to my responsibilities graffiti still remained a part of my life, but I was forced to manage my time with it.



B: How has street art and graffiti shaped other creative projects of yours?

M: I gained a lot of skills and developed a personal style through graffiti. It’s an aesthetic that has influenced my professional design/illustration work and vice versa. Its another lens in which to view composition/color and content through.


B: What was the transition from graffiti artist to creative artist like?

M: It was a very gradual transition for me in the sense of producing fine art that was informed by my illegal work. It's hard to take something that you do on a large scale and distill the parts that are essentially your flow or izms and repurpose them in a fine art setting. I had started doing graffiti letters on canvas and it just doesn't work. Give me a wall and some paint and I'm like a fish in water. Finding my voice in my fine art has been much more challenging.


B: What was your creative process like when you first started graffiti, and how did it change -if at all- as you developed your style?

M: For me It's all a matter of working through problems. Challenging yourself, making mistakes, being frustrated and wanting to improve. My illustrative work is something I'm really trying to work on and develop. It was a bold move for me to start working on the Alphabet Aerobics print and I dealt with a lot of creative roadblocks and frustrations in the process, but it was also great to work through them.



B: My first introduction to your work was your newest piece, Alphabet Aerobics. I was told that you were just asked to make an alphabet print, but then you took it way beyond the scope that BRLSQ had imagined and it turned out fantastic. Do you always tend to expand the creative limits/get extravagant with projects?

M: I'm definitely into pushing the limits, and really giving work the time and attention it deserves. For me it's been a lot about not being afraid to try new things and experiment, accepting some mistakes along the way as part of the process.






B: What's your start-to-finish process like now?

M: Once I have an idea in my head it can take a while to work out on paper. I spend a lot of time on building a story. Once there's a story to the work I can play with it. I can spin a lot of ideas off that general story or idea. For Alphabet Aerobics I based the illustrated letters off of the idea of the Blackalicious song of the same name. I would create a rhyme about every letter that painted a visual picture of that letter. One of the more illustrative examples would be the letter H. You have Heidi with the hefty hooters high on hydroponics hollering "hey honey" under holiday holly having a Hefeweizen. Each letter has its own alphabet rhyme that informed the way they were illustrated.

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You can grab a signed + numbered copy of MAST's new "Alphabet Aerobics" print right here in our online store.

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Cold World art show at CO Exhibitions

2017 May by Mike Davis


Memorial Day weekend is almost here, which means Soundset 2017 is almost here, which means another great art event at CO Exhibitions is almost here! We're proud to announce COLD WORLD, an art show happening as an official part of the Soundset 2017 weekend.

Come check out some new paintings, limited edition prints, and more from the artists who'll be painting live at Soundset. Meet the artists and get familiar with their work before watching them get busy at the festival!

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook.

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BRLSQ x Dark Clouds MN

2017 Mar by Mike Davis

When Minnesota United football club played their debut Major League Soccer home game this past weekend, United's support squad, Dark Clouds, wanted to show off a brand new gigantic banner. For this new hand-painted banner, also known as a tifo, Dark Clouds hired Burlesque to create a fresh design that celebrated the team's history as well as some Minnesota state pride.

Here's Mike Davis' final design as well as a shot of the tifo in action!

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