Gold Cartridge: Behind the Motherboard

The  Gold Cartridge Show is upon us. It has been a long road with a lot of thinking and planing and talking and planing and emailing and waiting and emailing and some foot work and finally a little bit of hanging. And of course when it came time to release the show onto the public I had double booked myself for the weekend so I missed it all. Luckily we will be hosting music and partying every Saturday while the show is up. Either way, figuring out our first fully independent art show has been quite the experience. Making it all happen isn’t as hard as people will tell you it is, especially when you have a group of cool cats all working towards the same goal. Things got a little loosey goosey in the middle when no one wanted to take the reigns, but everyone handled their own and finished their parts of the project with flying colors. Here is a link to a video the Wildes put together as a teaser for the show.

We gave ourselves a two month window to complete this project and it seemed to be a perfect amount of time for our first attempt. As we put on more shows certain steps will get easier and more attention will be placed on promotion. The two most important aspects of coordinating an art show would be having art and a place to hang art. So getting the word out to all of the artists and social media outlets as soon as possible is pretty key. Of course the artists will all be submitting pieces that are still drying and without proper hanging devices no matter how much time you give them. Being in a small town, one of our key pieces of local promotion was our fantastic window display that was largely directed by Jen Fletcher of REVAMP. She brought us a large collection of old TVs to decorate and it couldn’t have turned out better. Our largest problem was dealing with all of the illiterate crack heads that were upset we weren’t an “old TV store.”

Being a printmaker, I am all about selling high quantity (and quality) at an affordable price as opposed to investing in one piece and hoping it will sell. For my entry I screened a limited run of one color prints featuring one of my favorite video game characters, Donkey Kong. It was my first run of non-garment screenprints since college and I loved printing them. It is so much faster than printing linocuts! I compiled and modified some old clip art to create an imagined end screen from the original Donkey Kong. I also chose to paint up one of the prints and mounted it to some fence planks so that I could have something colorful to hang next to all of the other great work. This piece turned out fairly morbid as I chose to show Mario as a monkey exterminator who has already succeeded in ridding the world of Diddy, Dixie and Kiddy Kong from the Super Nintendo franchise and is about to drop the hammer on the big Donkey. I think it turned out pretty well and apparently a lot of the people at the reception did as well.

Working on working.

The times have been filled with busyness lately. I have been working full time for a client while trying to juggle several art events and some partying. We all need to party once in a while.

April 30th we saw the Spring Fling in Downtown Sonora and REVAMP was there teaching kids how to make wearable crafts out of everyday objects like toilet paper tubes, corks, paper and plastic bags. It was a really fun time filled with laughter, crafts and hot glue. Make sure that you bring your little one to the next event for some free crafting fun!

(Me making a Mike Tyson eye patch for a space pirate. Photos by Jen Fletcher)

The Second installment of the Alley Art show will be held next weekend May 20-22nd. The pins I have collected so far have been exceptionally excellent and I can’t wait to see the rest. Make sure you take some time to stop by the Black Oak Casino Bowling Alley, have a beer and some nachos, and check out the art. I promise it will be worth it.

(Pin by Josh Fischer)

While I am finishing up that show I have also been helping some of my comrades with the Gold Cartridge Video Game Art Show. We have started to prep the venue (134 S. Washington St) with a wicked silly fresh window display. Thank you to Jen of REVAMP for the TVs and everyone for the help decorating. This week we will start patching and painting the walls as well as starting any other installations we see fit. Come by and check out the window and make sure you grab some grub at Pablito’s new restaurant downstairs. Thank him for helping to further the growth of alternative art in the county.

(Job and Joel working. Photo by Jen Fletcher)
(Preview of my Gold Cartridge Show print)

With all of this going on I have been cutting back on my freelance work and neglecting my block printing. I have several new ideas floating around that I hope to start cutting as soon as I find the time. Hopefully I will get caught up by the end of the summer and hit a couple of art/craft fairs with some new prints. Of course I have to make some time for camping and backpacking too.

(Photo by Dean Fleming.)

The Illustrated News of Record

Everyday my local paper posts the 911 calls from the day before. Most of them are pretty ridiculous as there are a lot of senile old people and meth addicts around here with little to do but report their delusions to the only people who will listen, the fuzz. My friend Michelle, newbie to the area, found reading the News of Record to be one of the most amusing past times around and would post her favorites regularly to her facebook page. It wasn’t long before our resident genius and rabble rouser, Richard, suggested that we make something artful out of this. The conversation went something like this:

It went on a bit more, but that is all my screen could capture and I am sure you get the gist of it. So now you will find the doodles of all sorts of people illustrating the Tuolumne County News Of Record here at: Otherlode is a site that has yet to fully blossom, but this may be the first step. Check out the Illustrated News of Record as soon and as often as possible. It is filled with gems like this one by Joel Wilde:

UTLTRN goes to the dogs

Several months ago I was given the opportunity to decorate a dog house in order to raise money for the new Rotary Dog Park that is coming to Sonora. It was an assignment that had little direction and gave me quite the creative block. Once they delivered the dog house I realized I had never painted something so large and did not know who the target market was. At first I thought that the houses were going to decorate the park so I was going to throw some monstrous dogs from lore on the roof. Cerberus, chupacabra or an axe-handle hound perhaps.

I then found that the houses were going to be separately raffled off and figured that I should make it a little more appealing to the general public so that it would generate more money for the park. With that in mind I looked to the people around me for inspiration. My dad had just bought me a book on 1950s sci-fi art that I started to look through. I realized while leafing through the book that both my dad and brother love antiques. Old, rusty junk that does nothing but collect dust and “value”. This lead me to create Dogfight 2020, a rusty, retro spaceship paint job that a dog might enjoy.










With the help of Chelsea and Joel Wilde, I taped off and spray painted the roof of the house. On the left side of the roof I painted out a bomber-style bulldog head and on the left you will see how many space-pirate-cats the pilot has shot down. I weathered the house with various aerosol paints to get a dirty and rusty look. I finished it off with some aluminum flashing and several coats of clear. This project was a great opportunity for me to work with spray paint. It is a medium that I rarely utilize, but often admire. I look forward to more aerosol fueled projects and collaborations in the future.

The turn out for the initial presentation was great. Below you can see a glimpse of the most sought after house of the collection, Judy Grossman’s tribute to the SF Giant’s World Series win. You will be able to purchase raffle tickets for the houses at the Sonora Home & Garden Show that will be held at the Fairgrounds from March 13-20th. That will be your only chance to get your hands on one of these dog houses so mark it on your calendar and and buy a raffle ticket. After all it is for a good cause.

What Dreams Are Made Of

Here is a piece I created last October for little Nate’s first birthday.  I hope that someday he will grow up to appreciate it. Who wouldn’t appreciate a skater teddy bear jumping over a vomiting unicorn? It is bright, colorful and happy, just as a painting for a one-year-old should be. The flash on my camera was a little harsh so it is not the greatest photo, but you get the gist of it. I plan on using the teddy bear as a mascot for little Nate and his journey through life.

The Hunter

This is a piece that Mindy and I created for my brother as a Christmas gift. It is based off of a piece of 1920’s illustration of a German hunter that I wanted to use for a Cougar Hunter shirt for him. Our family has had an ongoing joke about my brother’s prowess at the bars and I wanted to commemorate it in some form. Spending less time in the printshop then I used to, I felt that this would be easier than printing a line of shirts for him, but those may get printed someday.

{I know “couger” is misspelled. I didn’t feel like changing it for you}

Having recently visited the Masters of Impressionism exhibit at the De Young Museum I wanted to have the piece be fairly colorful and impressionistic yet masculine. I think we pulled it off pretty well. I painted the background and penciled in the figure, Mindy painted in the main tones. I then exaggerated the shadows and highlights and outlined it all in paint pen. Mindy put on the final touches and added some bleeding tissue paper collage to give it some texture.

Artist Survey #19: Chelsea Wilde

Better late than never I always say! This artist survey features the responses of my dear friend and collaborator, Chelsea Wilde. I met her and her husband, Joel, when he requested a pin for the Alley Art show. From then on the three of us became fast friends, collaborators and conspirators. Take a look at the images and words below then take a look at Chelsea’s site and studio in downtown. There has been a lot of collaboration going on between us, or at least us talking about collaboration, so expect to see a lot more of her work in future posts.

{Medusa : Photograph}

{Picasso : Hand Beaded Cuff}

{Honey Bee : Photograph}

{Finch : Pen, Sharpie, Colored Pencil}

Name: Chelsea Wilde

Location: Twain Harte, CA

Medium(s): Film, digital, & Polaroid photographs. Pen & Ink. Needle & Thread. Piano keys & vocal chords.

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? An old soul. A make-believer. A fort builder. A Photographer. A musician.

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? Various blogs & a few online shops, , on Courtney Love’s neck,, and my studio in downtown Sonora, CA.

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? I most likely made cave paintings in the womb.

Who/What inspired your interest? Being an only child in a mixed-up family of artists and musicians.

Where do you first remember being exposed to art? Home, for sure.

What is your day job? Photographer.

Why do you create? To keep my brain from exploding. The ideas have to go somewhere.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? Whimsy, conflict, and wicked fashion sense.

What do you want from your work? Satisfaction & growth.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? Inspiration & unanswered questions.

How often do you work on personal projects? I make all my work personal.  If I can’t, I don’t do it.

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? Not as often as I’d like.

Does your art support you financially? It’s getting there.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? I don’t think of much else.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? Cook, kayak, discover delicious pairings of beer & tobacco, build forts, explore forests, and hang out with a bunch of animals.

Which musicians are you currently interested in? Peter Wolf Crier, BRMC, Mumford & Sons,  David Bazan, Maps & Atlases, Meursault, Born Ruffians, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Pelican, etc. etc. etc.

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? Local art shows & musical fantastic-ness!

How long do you generally take on a piece? Planning & creating for a conceptual shoot typically takes me a few weeks, at most.  If I create the wardrobe, it can take a week to several months.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? Nothing important, that’s for sure.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? Guilty. I prioritize, though. Secondary projects take up my free/break time from primary ones.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? Polaroids and OOAK pieces, yes. Everything else makes my heart dance a bit.


This morning was the time for Yeti screwing. We went out into the forest and mounted a yeti… to a tree. We hope that it will be around for years to come so that all who come upon it can enjoy and interact with. We may have mounted it a little too high, but we expect the region to get a  lot of snow fall. I will definitely be checking up on it as soon as weather hits to make sure that it will survive. We came across a couple of possible issues, but I think it will hold until we get some better hardware.

Good hunting.

Summer Art Explosion: the Prologue

Everybody is always asking me, “Zac what are you doing‽ Why don’t you keep us informed on the interweb?” And I always answer, “Because I am busy doing stuff and junk…” And then they walk away. But really I have been very busy in recent weeks helping to organize a huge fund-raising event for REVAMP. For those of you squares out there that don’t know about REVAMP yet, they are a non profit dedicated to aiding our few remaining art programs with recycled and re-purposed art and craft materials. If you want to know more visit them here. The event is titled the SUMMER ART EXPLOSION and is being sponsored by the fantastic people at Help-U-Sell here in Sonora. The event will feature food, fun and entertainment such as an open mural, silent auction, craft competition and the kids craft of the day Toy-Hacking!

Here is a little more on Toy-Hacking: Basically we are taking your old and unwanted toys and disassemble them until they are nothing more than limbs, heads, torsos, wheels, wings, etc.

Then with the help of some big kids like Peter and myself kids of all ages will be able to reassemble them.

Once reassembled they will become Frankentoys that are ready for a new paint job and a lot of fun!

Come join us in the fun on August 1st and help REVAMP sustain the creativity of Tuolumne County’s children. If you don’t care to join in the crafty fun you can sit, eat and enjoy the music of the Minor Birds and the other great local bands that will be playing. I hope to see you there!

Alley Art – This Weekend

The time is upon us. This weekend the greatest collection of bowling pin art ever assembled in Tuolumne City will be displayed from Friday the 21st through Sunday the 23rd at the Black Oak Casino Bowling Alley. My jaw drops further with each pin that is submitted. There is a mass of untapped artistry and creativity that is going to be released upon this county like the latest oil spill; staining everything in it’s path with awesomeness. Many of these creatives have never shown their work publicly so you have no idea what to expect. Do yourself a favor and stop by, grab a white russian and take a gander.