Friday, October 22, 2010

Partybots [interview]

"Partybots" is a cool shop full of eco-friendly apparel, featuring artwork by Karl Addison, the founder. I love the quirky and creative designs, along with the fact that  Partybots' printing process is made up of elements that make the Earth say "thank you!" Soy-based cleansers, platent glue, and screen printing solvents that engage renewable soy are some of the the things that make Partybots unique (apart from the awesome drawings, of course.)
Please tell us a bit about yourself, Karl.
About myself - well, I'm a big nerd.  I have been drawing since I was  
a little.  My brother and I drew all the time as kids, although he is  
much better then I.  It just sort of stuck with me over the years.  I  
got distracted for awhile with Graphic/Commercial Art.  Out of High  
School, I thought that was the only way to be an "artist" in todays  
times.  I was dead wrong.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Oh man - how can you really choose.  Past, present or made-up?  I  
think I would be a made-up animal.  Although, nature has a pretty  
wicked imagination as well.  One of my current projects is a new book  
called "Zoo! - Creatures of Curiosity." It's a collection of 30  
animals that never-were.  Each animal has a story, sort of a  
scientific journal.  I would be the "Cyclops Rhino" from that.  The  
book will be available on Amazon in Dec of 2010.
How did Partybots come into existence?
It was a mixture of things.  Started out on one of my design  
portfolios, as a way to see how Paypal would work.  Also got in to  
screen printing, so I posted up two artworks.  They sold, and I put  
the money back in to make more shirts.  Those sold, and repeated.   
Saved and bought a printing press & equipment - taught myself how to  
print and went to town.  For the first 3.5 years I worked a full time  
job and did this on the side.  One of the best things about it, is I  
started it with about $20 - and kept re-investing the profit to grow  
and expand.  Love how hard work and long hours pays off.
When one navigates into your shop, what can they expect to find?
I hope one finds original drawings hand printed.  None of our artwork  
is photoshop or "designed."  I draw for the purpose of drawing - not  
for the idea of printing shirts and selling them.  Often times, people  
say "that would be great on a shirt."  There are a handful of our  
prints that happened like that.  Lately I have been trying to make  
little mini themes for different seasons.  Thats some fashion world  
idea - which helps the stores we work with, but I like the idea of  
being an artist and "doodler" more then a "fashion Designer."
I understand that you create the awesome images found on your  
apparel. Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere.  I take a lot of photos, see funny things  
all the time.  A friend might say something that makes me laugh and I  
like it.  I just draw mostly what's around me, or things that make me  
smile.  I like having things that border line being weird and strange,  
I like classy aesthetics.  Mixing things up or together is always  
great - like a shark and a jean jacket.  Traveling helps a lot as  
well.  I have more ideas of things I want to draw then time to do so.   
One of my favorite things to do is watching movies or documentaries as  
I'm drawing.  I get a lot of ideas from that as well.
Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
When I taught myself to screen print - that dramatically changed the  
way I draw.  My drawings and illustrations adapted to the process of  
printing.  Trapping color, over exaggerating lines, using cross hatch  
and stippling for value range.  I use to draw with pencil first - then  
go in and ink the drawings.  But now, I just got straight for the ink  
- I like the idea of making mistakes.  Having to figure it out and  
make it work for the drawing.  I start with an idea, then draw the  
outline, then start working in the textures & value range to create  
the composition.  Most of my drawings are one-offs or stand-alone.  I  
always have the idea of drawing more compositions with backgrounds and  
foregrounds - but I think I will reserve those ideas for future books  
I would like to publish.
What is a general day for you like?
Happily, every day has a different structure.  I work 7 days a week,  
that is normal and has been for as long as I can remember.  It's split  
up between working on my online sales, wholesale accounts, book  
keeping, marketing, drawing, art projects, books, and bike riding.  In  
general the first part of my day is all office and business work.   
Then on to creative projects and drawings.  Mostly depends on what's  
in my head when I first wake up.  If there is a great idea for a  
drawing - then I start on that.  I like being flexible and letting my  
mind and imagination dictate what to work on for the day.  Perhaps the  
downside - I get easily distracted at times.
Are you passionate about something outside of Partybots?
Very much so.  I'm in love with riding my bike, and bike community.   
The past couple of years I have been helping with various Alleycats in  
Seattle, and now in Berlin.  I generally do 3 to 4 art exhibitions a  
year.  I love working on bigger installations and concepts.  At night  
I spend a lot of time putting up artwork around the city.  I have so  
many drawings; pasting them up is a great way to not selfishly keep  
them in my sketch books.  I'm vegan, and love cooking crazy meals and  
What is next for you?
I just had my first solo exhibition opening here in Berlin.  The show  
is called "Travels" and showcases people that I have seen from my  
travels in four different continents.  It's at ReTramp Gallery - and  
runs through November 21st, 2010.  I have a new book that will be  
released in December of 2010 called "Zoo! - Creatures Of Curiosity."   
After that will be a Bike coloring book.  Lots of art projects for  
outside.  Always busy.  Starting to work on an exhibition for Tokyo in  
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yeah, if you have passion for something - keep working at it till you  
can do it full time.  Anything is possible, you just have to creative  
to find the right solution.  And, if you like my work check out my 


five stones said...

I'm soo checking out their shop and really need more tees so thanks for featuring this cool store!

Samy said...

They have the best t-shirts! I'm glad I was able to introduce you to Partybots. :) Thanks for your comment, FSV!

Things Sent My Way said...

I love the idea of needing to make the mistakes and going straight for the ink. There's a real freedom in giving into the design. Some of these are down right beautiful. Glad you're highlighting this, or not, because now I'm going to lose quite a bit of time looking them over. This is great.