GET TO KNOW MATTHEW JOCELYN, CREATOR OF WOLF WAFFLES!
Hey dudes, Jillian here! I stumbled onto Matthew’s Wolf Waffles blog through the Tumblr Radar a while back and was instantly hooked. Look at them! They run! They jump! They ride horses and I love them! Through a little bit of magic and a self-awarded Masters in Lurking, I was able to track Matthew down and ask him some questions. Check out his answers, get to know him a little bit, and keep an eye out for his first ever Threadless submission!
Hey, Matthew. Tell us about yourself.
Well, I’m originally from California but I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the past 5 years. I work at a digital agency as a production designer and I’m the weirdo that makes the stuff on WolfWaffles.com.
How did these animations come to be? What inspired them?
I’d been trying to turn my characters into a comic book or a cartoon, but it turns out that stuff is hard! Then one day I fell into a Tumblr hole. After a few hours of staring at GIFs I thought, “Hey, I’ll make one of those thingies.”
Do you consider yourself an “artist”?
No way! I think of myself as someone who knows Photoshop and has internet access. Sometimes right after I post a new GIF I think, “Well, I’ve done my part to make the internet more bottomless.” Which, now that I think of it, seems like some weird kind of performance art. Maybe I’ll change my answer to yes?
Is this your “art” or do you make other “art” too?
I think the stuff I make is pretty much like a good fart joke. It takes a tiny bit of skill and creativity but in the grand scheme of things it probably wouldn’t be considered art. Plus, I don’t know if MOMA would ever show a GIF of a puking cyclops…
Do you have any favorite artists, makers, or doers?
Oh that’s hard question… I want to say OutKast but I also want to say Bill Murray. There’s also this homeless guy I see on the subway that plays Rolling Stones songs on a banjo. He seems pretty cool.
What do you do when you’re not making funny little animations?
Well, Grand Theft Auto V just came out so that’s gonna be my life now.
If the creatures in your GIFs could talk, what would they say?
They would probably jump out from behind a dumpster and say, “Gimme all your money and maple syrup.” Then they would give you a hug, whisper an insult in your ear and scamper off into the night.
What is a question that you always wished someone would ask you so you could answer it? What’s the answer to that question?
Terrence Nowlin’s artist-pup Jack is going to be the voice of a generation. Even if that voice happens to be a bark. Jack’s art knows no limit, as Jack was recently inspired to make a grand work of art from one of Terrence’s wingtip shoes (the left shoe to be exact). The frayed and tattered masterpiece could not go unnoticed by the world, so Terrence has put the shoe up for bidding on Ebay (there’s still time left). We sat down with Terrence and asked him a few questions about Jack’s unbounded creativity.
Tell us all about you and Jack. Where ya livin’? How old is Jack? What’s your day job? etc.
My name is Terrence Nowlin and I live in Alexandria, Virginia in the DC metro area. I am the marketing communications manager for a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities, so I do my less colorful writing during the day. I adopted Jack a year ago next week from a kill shelter in rural Virginia after finding him on Petfinder. I thought his picture was cute, but he won me over with his sweet personality. I didn’t know when I adopted him that his time was almost up, so it was good that I had come along. He had been picked up as a stray and the shelter thought he was mostly border collie. A DNA test proved that he is half Dalmatian, which explains his mouthiness and high energy level. He is estimated to be about two years old, so hopefully some of this chewing/jumping craziness will calm down a bit soon.
Tell us about the first time you discovered Jack’s work of art.
It’s funny because I had totally stepped over the chewed shoe in my bedroom when I woke up that morning after he’d spent the night chewing on it and I didn’t even realize it. Only later that day did I stumble upon his creation. I was on the phone with my mom and just said “Oh my God.” My mom asked what was wrong and I told her that I couldn’t do it justice with a description, that I’d have to send her a photo. I think my astonishment was a good indicator of the reaction that people are having to the work. There is a small group of “truthers” who believe the shoe was fabricated and not chewed by a dog. Anyone who knows me knows that with my fondness for shoes, there is no way I’d lop off a Cole Haan for an experimental eBay listing. And anyone who knows Jack knows that he chews everything imaginable.
Before the shoe, what was the most artistic thing Jack has done?
He is absolutely obsessed with my socks. He will dig through my dirty laundry, picking out every single sock among the other clothes. And if there are no more socks there, and my sock drawer is open, he’ll take out every pair, and unfold them. He then places the socks around the apartment, somewhat strategically. He doesn’t chew on them—he only deposits them. The artistic part about this is that it seems that he is trying to decorate my condo with socks. This can be frustrating when trying to get dressed in the mornings because I will have to match pairs from around the house if he’s done his work the night before.
Why did you decide to sell the piece?
This was a very nice shoe that I had not owned for very long, so it seemed a shame that it would suddenly be trash. But beyond that, It was partially because I thought tearing off the toe of the shoe was too much of an accomplishment just to throw away. And it was partially because I saw an opportunity to give my friends a laugh. I made the listing interesting, put up some pretty pictures of the artwork and set a high opening bid price. Rather than just entertaining my friends, it seems that it was the formula for a viral listing.
What has Jack thought about all this press?
I tell Jack every night when I come home that he’s a famous dog. Really, he just wants me to take him for a walk and feed him. He’s just as well loved as he was before, so he really hasn’t seen any change in his daily life except for the one television interview that we did via Skype. It turns out that he’s a very restless interviewee. But Jack loves people, so if this gives him a chance to jump on more people and to lick a few more faces, he’s all for it.
Has all this fame gone to his head?
Certainly not. He is humbled by all of the attention the listing has received. He’s no Kanye.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been asked on eBay so far?
I’ve had a few odd things mentioned. The most memorable is someone asking if the other half of the shoe would be available for sale once Jack passed it. I had to turn him down as Jack had already rid himself of the missing half. Plus I was not going to mail dog poop. There has to be some postal regulation against that. I also had a guy who offered to exchange a recliner that his dog had chewed up for the shoe. He lives in California and said he would drive to meet me in Kansas to pick it up after assuming that I own a pickup because I live in Virginia. I neither own a pickup nor need a chewed up recliner.
At the time we ask this question, the price is at $378 with 17 bids and a little more than 5 hours left. Do you predict it will surpass $400?
I’ve had a lot of experience with eBay and I know that hot items don’t get furious bidding until the last few minutes or seconds. At the time I’m writing this, I’ve had more than 37,000 views and I’ve got 1,259 watchers, plus a story about the shoe spent two days in rotation as the eBay homepage header, so it meets the definition of hot. This shoe is going to far surpass $400. How much beyond that figure is debatable since I don’t know what kind of crazy is placing bids.
What do you think this says about art? Can people find art anywhere?
Art is anywhere. Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. If legitimate artists can sell excrement as works of art, I can certainly sell a shoe that has been modified by an industrious canine. I mention in my listing that the work is meticulous. It really is. How a dog could make a cut that clean with his teeth is beyond me. So I think that skill plays as big a part in the creation of art as the design. Jack got both down pat with this shoe.
Thanks T! Any parting words?
I do want to mention that after bidding surpassed $300, I felt it was only right to add to the listing that I would be donating a portion of the winning bid to an animal rescue organization. I am a big advocate for adopting shelter animals rather than from breeders or pet stores. There are many great animals out there and it is my hope that I can prolong the lives of at least a few until they can be adopted.
Teetorials are tips and tricks for adding those special touches to your designs. They’re brought to you by our very own Threadless staffers. Since we’re currently running a mixed media challenge, Jen and Jillian created a tutorial about bringing real world objects into your computer.
1.) Come up with an idea. This idea developed pretty organically for us but it may be more calculated for you. Protip: have a drawer full of toys and dig through it.
2.) Set it up. Again, this will vary by situation and what you’re making (maybe you’re scanning something rather than photographing it) but since we’re photographing this one, we want it to look as realistic as possible and reduce the amount of editing later.
3.) Photograph it! You have to get the image on the computer somehow, right? If you’re doing something flat, maybe scan it. If you can think of another way to get your work into the computer without either of these methods, please post it in the comments and collect your Nobel Prize in Holy Shit How Did You Do That.
4.) Edit your image. The idea here is to get the background as white as possible so you can either cut it out and place it on a colored shirt template, or have it sit nicely on a white tee. That’s what we’re doing.
Here, Jen breaks down her steps for quickly cleaning up the image:
If you have a fancy camera, take photos in the RAW format.
The RAW format will open in photoshop with the option to change the temperature/exposure/contrast, etc. In this window, click the white balance eyedropper and click in the whitest part of the screen, click OPEN IMAGE.
If you don’t have a fancy camera, just take a photo with any camera that you have and open it in Photoshop. We promise, you DON’T need a fancy camera to do this.
Open a curves level, click the white eyedropper and click in the white background, this is an easy way to create a pure white background and keep the natural shadow.
Combine the curves layer and your image and click the brush tool. Color it in white around your image and shadows using a soft brush tool.
5.) Mix your media. Draw on top of your image, photoshop other stuff in, scan in a painting you made and throw that in there. Whatever your idea is, make it happen and mix it up. Our idea involves digitally drawing on top of the photo:
6.) Mock it up on a tee, submit it, and wait ever so patiently for Jeffrey G to approve it.
PLUG INTO JESSICA ROUSCH’S LIFE AND HER WINNING NPR DESIGN!
Hi Jessica! How about a quick introduction? Hello! I grew up in North Carolina and went to NC State for a double major in Textile Technology and Art & Design. Now, I’m a textile artist at Kohl’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I do hand-painted and vector art for all sorts of home product - table linens, dinnerware, bedding, bath stuff, decor, etc. I also like to do some illustration at home too.
Congratulations on your winning design, NPR: Plugged In! What was it like to receive the notification that you won? Thanks!! A few excited expletives may have escaped my mouth. And I was at work at the time, so I drew a little crowd around my cubicle when I started yelling. It was a wonderful surprise. I still half-thought it was some sort of elaborate hoax until I got the prize box in the mail a few days ago.
I see you’re a textile designer by trade, was making this design outside of your comfort zone? Yeah, I’d say so - I’ve done quite a bit more illustration-y stuff in the last few years after college, but I’d say I’m more of a Jack-of-all-trades (and master of hopefully a couple, at least?). I really didn’t do any sort of illustration in school. I did strictly textile application (weaving, knitting, jacquard) and fine art (painting, classical drawing, installation, etc etc) so getting into something fresh and new to me has been a blast.
Could you tell us more about how your design came about? What about NPR influenced your design? Can you share any process photos with us? This one was a challenge. Not only is it about SOUND, which isn’t easily expressed visually, but also about NPR, which has a scope so broad that it would be impossible to illustrate all of the topics that it covers. I decided to illustrate instead its effect on me, in that I get lost in thought and imagination and wonder when I listen. I’m absorbed by the current events stories, and feel closer to the world around me. I tried to include country, suburban, and cityscapes (along with a little capitol building!), and the NPR colors (red, black and blue).
What’s your favorite medium to work in? Watercolors. I love how unexpected and dramatic it is when I add pigment to the wet paper - like magic! I kind of “grew up” with acrylics and oil colors, which is predictable, but watercolor makes me think ahead, work fast, and also go with the flow (pun intended).
When did you first start listening to NPR? I really can’t remember! Ever since I was a little kid, my parents have listened to NPR in the car, so I did too. We would listen to it on the way back from my grandparents house, and now I listen on the way back from work.
As part of your grand prize, you’re getting a private tour of NPR HQ. First, who are you taking with you? Second, is there anyone you’re especially hoping to run into during your visit? My dad and my boyfriend both really want to go. Maybe I’ll make them compete by arm wrestling or rock-paper-scissors or something. When we (whoever we ends up being) get there, I would love to see Steve Inskeep, Renee Montagne, or Bob Boilen. A girl can dream.
Do you have any favorite NPR shows? Not having cable and being slightly addicted to Netflix can be a nuisance when you try to keep up with current events. I most often listen to NPR on the way to and from work for news, but I also like to catch This America Life, Car Talk, Tiny Desk Concerts, and RadioLab.
Shout out time! Want to show some love for your #1 NPR station? Since I grew up in North Carolina, my first NPR love was the Raleigh, NC station - WUNC 91.5 - but I also love the Milwaukee station, WUWM 89.7.
Given your design, are headphones your favorite way to listen? At work they definitely are. Sometimes that’s the only way I can get work done, with an open cubicle and lots of foot traffic. I have the over-the-ear headphones, and I can just tune out everything and get stuff done.
What’s it like to be able to design for an organization like NPR on Threadless? I LOVED IT. I don’t think I would ever have had a chance to design for them otherwise, so Threadless gave me the perfect opportunity. Getting a design on Threadless was awesome enough, then add NPR on top of it…. I seriously lucked out.
Are you currently working on any new projects? I’m working on some typographic illustrations for a daily calendar coming out in 2014, called “Today is Going to be a Great Day”. Super stoked about that opportunity. And, I’m working on a fun illustrated spanish language chart. No real reason, just because I miss having to speak in Spanish everyday (I studied in Spain for a little while in 2010).
Can we expect more submissions from you in the future? YES. It’s on.
Any last words or shout outs? Thanks to Threadless and NPR - You’ve made my year!
Not only will 100% of proceeds from the shirt’s sales go to DonorsChoose.org, but with each shirt purchased, you’ll receive a $20 DonorsChoose.org gift card, which allows you to select a classroom and directly put money into their program. Pretty neat, right? (We also tried to get them to change “teachers” to “teechers” but hey, ya can’t win ‘em all.)
DonorsChoose.org makes it easy to help classrooms in need. On the site, public school teachers across America create classroom project requests from crayons for kindergartners, to an art museum field trip, to seeds for starting a garden. Then, you can give to the project which most inspires you. When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school. Best of all, you get photos and ‘thank yous’ from the classroom you chose to help. Over the last few years, teachers at half of all public schools in America have used DonorsChoose.org. More than a million people have supported 320,000 projects reaching 6 million students from low-income communities.
This is Bo’s first Threadless print which is pretty appropriate because he already supports education in other ways. In his blog, Bo answers questions from high school students trying to find out more about art, design and art education. Way to go, Bo!
Would you rather be trapped in a box full of spiders, snakes, or rats and explain why? I’d rather not be trapped with any of them! But if I had to, I think rats might not be as bad as the other two. I’m not a big fan of spiders—they can crawl in my ears or up my nose and hatch baby spiders in my brain! Snakes can be poisonous and they can slither up my shorts! Rats aren’t any better, unless they’re the rats from the movie “Ratatouille”. In conclusion, I would rather be trapped in a box full of rats from the movie “Ratatouille” so they can make me dinner.
If you died in a horror movie, how do you think it would happen? I would be the guy saying, “No you go! I’ll hold them off!” Things would get messy and the screen would fade out. However at the end of the film when all seems lost I burst back in and save the day, everyone asks me how I survived, I turn and look into the distance and say, “Because I bought this cool shirt from Randyotter.”
What weapon(s) would you have during a zombie apocalypse to survive? My primary weapon would be a fully automatic shotgun for use when I’m in a fix. My sidearm would be a 9mm pistol with suppressor for stealth and precision. My melee weapon would be a machete as a last line of defense when the ammo runs out. I’ll be fine.
If you were a horror villain, what would be your weapon of choice? In terms of aesthetics and efficiency you can’t go wrong with a straight razor but seeing as I’m an artist I think I’d have to opt for a sharpened pencil (3B) in the eye and perhaps an additional pencil (say non photo blue) in the other eye if I’m feeling particularly grumpy.