Sunday, November 30, 2008

the first zine is almost ready for release

...but I don't want to give away too much so here's a bit of an update to hold you over.

First, for those that are unfamiliar with these amazing booklets, a zine is an inexpensive booklet that is self-produced and distributed. The content, materials used, overall design, and who you distribute it to are completely up to the author. Although zines are simple and generally made of inexpensive materials, they can certainly be as simple or elaborate as you'd like.

As for my zines, I've spent the last couple of months fine tuning the concept and creating the content...enough content to get me through the first two zines anyway...which will be prose, poetry, and some custom artwork, along with a few surprises per edition that I won't reveal yet. I've also worked through the materials and constructed a few dummy copies to get the production process finalized.

I'm still working on the composition for the inside of the zine as well as some smaller production issues for the content; overall, it's looking as if the first issue will be ready in January 2009. Although my zines will be inexpensive to produce, they will be a little time consuming to make so I will limit production to 25 per issue with a different issue coming out every two months. Each zine will cost $3.00 U.S. and will be sold through my Etsy shop ( These details will be subject to change within the first six months as I work through any problems that arise as the first batch goes out. I will post announcements on Twitter ( and in abstractLatte prior to each issue's official release date.

For now, there are no images to show because I don't want to give away too much but shortly before release of the first issue, I will post a sneak preview. Until then, I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

informal excercise for fun and creative discovery

Among other types of content within my journal are creative excercises. Below are two examples that I keep up with on a regular basis (both pages are work-in-progress).

a page of scribbles...
one scribble every day or every couple of days, adding color
at random moments

quotation marks...
I add different styles of quotation marks, again adding color
at random moments

© 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"A digital dilemma"

I think it's interesting to think about the catch-22 that is digital fine art photography.

Everyone has access to cameras and photo production, which means the people who couldn't afford to be professional photographers in the film era can certainly have their shot during the digital era. That's a good thing. Unfortunately, the mass reproduction aspects of digital photography means pricing the work becomes a delicate matter since a lot of people can take their own shots, print them from a docking station, or upload them to a digital opposed to purchasing one print from one digital file that someone else made.

Where does this leave professional fine art photography?

In my opinion, selling limited editions is one possible approach that could ensure digital fine art photography maintains its value in terms of price and production, to both the artist and consumer/collector.

What do limited editions accomplish in a digital environment? They provide an added value; they tell someone that only a certain amount of people will own that particular print. Limited editions also allow the work to be priced in a fair manner. Why should a photograph, that is printed for anyone who wants a copy, be sold for $100? Oh, it shouldn't. But wait...what was that?...sell it for $12? Why? It took hours to shoot and edit, it required skill and creative instincts to produce. Paintings and other one-of-a-kind artwork sell for a lot more because there is only one copy, one attempt, and after that one piece is gone, it's gone forever. It's about respect for both the photographer and the consumer/collector.

Am I saying that people shouldn't take their own pictures, or that fine art photography is dead? No. What I'm saying is that in order to prevent this discipline from falling through the cracks of our digital world, we need to change the manner in which we approach the medium. Digital doesn't have to mean unlimited, quick, or not valuable; it's only another means to the same end that film reached in its day. True art.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

abstractLatte is on Etsy!

It's been a long time in the making but I finally got the shop together! I'm in the process of listing pieces so check back regularly for new work...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

caffeinated Twitter

As an added feature to the blog, I'd like to give my readers a heads-up about future articles, topics, blog features, etc without posting a blog article and using up editorial real estate. To accomplish this, I've set up a twitter site for abstractLatte.

News, new artwork, or even if I'll be away from the blog on vacation. It all belongs here, and feel free to comment as well.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Good Grape

The subject is fun, the writing is witty and at times hilarious. And if you look closely, you'll see cartoons.

You don't have to be a dedicated wine connoisseur to enjoy this blog. As Good Grape put it:

"Pragmatically idealistic, Good Grape is a wine blog and web site for wine enthusiasts, poets, artists, romantics, lovers, liberals and rock stars. Connoisseurs, collectors and the wine elite might be more comfortable elsewhere."

Both educational and entertaining, this blog is a vintage that will keep on giving...Good Grape


Maybe you're looking for that one element that will pull the whole project together, or maybe your project is missing something, that element of "je ne sais quoi". This resource, brought to you by The Design Bureau of Amerika, may be what you're looking for.

From the website (in regards to their Photoshop brushes)...

"The key to successfully using a Bureau brush set is not using the brush 'as is'. These brushes really start to shine when variables are applied to them. Try changing the size and mode of the brushes as well as using them with the burn,dodge and erase tools. What kind of result you get from these brush sets is solely dependant on how hard you are willing to make them workfor you."

I have used their brushes without disappointment (the distress on the abstractLatte logo is one example) and can vouch for the integrity of the studio's creative approach; these resources are backed by years of experience and limitless talent. Brushes, fonts, desktop wallpapers...there's a lot of creativity here so dive in, download, and help expand the creative horizon!

The Bureau Loves You -

Saturday, November 01, 2008

my journal

I don't remember how I discovered journals. When I finally decided to invest both money and time into one, it started out as a source for inspiration. I would cut out images and whole articles, gluing them onto the pages and adding my own notes. My journal process moved to drawings, then writing, and now it's a combination of everything.

For some reason, I never finished a journal. What happened is I started using it and realized after a month or even a few months that the book wasn't accomodating my needs. My journals have included the following:

a purchased leather journal - about 6"x9", with a leather tie that wrapped around the journal a few times to keep it closed...{concern}...too big and became too heavy as more collaged elements/pages developed

handmade/retail hybrid, version 1 - front/back cover and spine of a watercolor sketchbook, with thread-bound signatures of newsprint...{concern}...I did a poor job of binding and the signatures were too heavy for the paper, it was also too uncomfortable to use

handmade/retail hybrid, version 2 - front/back cover and spine of a watercolor sketchbook with a handmade accordion pocket inside with various types of paper...{concern} was annoying to pull out and return individual pieces of paper, cut out articles, etc using the accordion pocket

moleskine - 3"x5", too small...didn't last long

handmade - handmade paper cut into two pieces for the front and back cover, contained different types of paper, bound with binding screws...{concern}...too fragile

Well, I've finally found one that I consistently enjoy! It is, in a lot of ways, the best parts of my previous journals. I think what I like best about this one is its flexibility and simple binding.

current journal - relaxed leather for the front/back cover and spine, bound by a strip of leather tied off at both ends, contains different types of paper

details: when I purchased it, I took out most of the paper it contained and began my quest for custom paper. I cut pages out of newsprint, charcoal paper, packing paper, and white drawing paper (as well as used some of the paper it came with); I cut the sheets in a sloppy manner on purpose, inspired by the deckled edges of my old watercolor sketchbook.

Once i punched holes in all the pages, I re-bound the journal. Now I had a custom journal with a variety of papers. And once I fill this journal, I can re-bind it with new papers and re-use the leather cover/spine as many times as I want.

Here are a few shots of some of my favorite pages...


first page

random writing

random drawings

For those of you that don't use journals, I recommend you start. You don't have to be an artist, designer, writer, etc to use a journal. If you enjoy traveling, going to antique stores, or enjoy keeping track of various activities, a journal can be a fun and personal way to accomplish that; it's also interactive so more than one person could use the same journal.

Although there are a number of places to purchase a journal, it all depends on what you want. Here are some helpful links to get you started:

My Handbound Books

Barnes and Noble



Cavallini & Co.

journal content © 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.