TREE + LEAF

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Drink And Draw

Artist Series: Okie Cody

ART, PLAZA DISTRICT, Local, INTERVIEW, Drink And Draw, The Pencil PushersSteven SilvaComment

      Okie Cody is an up-and-coming artist in Oklahoma City. He’s a friend of ours and a Pencil Pushers regular, meaning we’ve been lucky enough to see him get better and better up close. He proudly reps his born-and-raised Oklahoma heritage with the stately moniker, but none of the folksy horses, bison, or scissortail flycatchers of traditional, Great-Plainsy iconography oversaturate his work. Instead, he opts for a smorgasbord of bold lines, bold colors, horror, and pop culture. Read on for our interview, and catch his show next Friday, May 12th, beginning at 7PM.

Cody, thanks for doing this! You're an inspiration. I’ve coasted, gotten worse, gotten stuck, you name it…and then with you, it seems like you're always drawing and I’m like, “This guy…” and it pushes me. I think most people who usually mean really well say to artists, “Wow, you’re so talented!” And that may be – you’re a talented guy – but I think it undersells how much time you spend working on this. When did you start? And was there a moment when it became a bigger deal for you?

My dad taught me how to color, but I'd say I've been interested in art since my Grandpa introduced it to me at a young age. He liked to do pencil drawings of old cars like Model Ts and Corvettes. He would give me lessons on how to draw. After that I was always drawing or doodling, even to the point where in one high school class, I didn't even have to write my name on the paper. The teacher knew it was mine because of all the doodles. 
I started getting more serious about my art after high school. Going to Drink & Draw (now known as Pencil Pushers) every Thursday, and being around other artists made me want to improve. With that improvement came much encouragement and people asking me to do commissions for them. Doing that made me think about possibly doing art for a living.
...I didn’t even have to write my name on the paper. The teacher knew it was mine because of all the doodles.

What do you like to draw? How would you describe your style and subject matter?

I normally gravitate towards darker themes in my art. Things like skulls, zombies, pop culture monsters, and other creepy and gross stuff. Things that my dad really likes, but things that make my mom say, "It's good, but it's not very pretty." I'm not sure where it comes from because I'm a pretty goofy guy, but it's what I like to do. 
I mainly work in pen and ink, as well as digital drawings on my phone, but all of the pieces in this show were done in acrylic. I'd say that I have a graphic/illustrative style, with thick and thin lines and bold, solid, cell-shaded colors. 

Who are some of your favorite artists and inspirations?

A lot of my inspiration and growth has come from the guys at Drink & Draw. When I first started going, I would really look up to them. They would inspire me to be a better artist as well find a style that is consistent and could be recognized as mine. 
I also get inspiration from online. A lot of my time is spent watching art tutorials, speed-paints, and thumbing through artist profiles on Instagram. Some favorite artists that come to mind are Jerry Bennett, Edgardo George, Ashton Letton, Bailey Hart, Valerie Sisk, Josiah Brooks, Mary Doodles, Danica Sills, Sam Moore, Carrie South, and Nicholas Keiser. They all have very different styles, but each one has very specific things that I love about their art.

Are you a coffee shop draw-er? Do you lock yourself in a cave? Do you listen to music? What’s the process like for you when you're making art?

I'm more of a sit-at-home-with-no-pants-while-watching-TV kind of draw-er. Ha. Often times I will draw an image out on my phone before I put it on paper or canvas. That way I can get it just the way I want it. It makes it easier to test out and choose colors and highlights that way, too.

Tell me a little bit about this show, specifically. Is there a theme? I know you’re doing some new things with highlights and contrast in your colors. What can I expect? Why should I come out?

All of the pieces in this show are acrylic paintings of varying size, all on canvas. I wouldn't say that there is a theme, but all of the images are a consistent style, making up a cohesive body of work. I have been working on pushing the highlights and contrast in my art, and that can definitely be seen in each piece. As for the subject matter, there are skulls and other creepy things that are portrayed. 
What can be expected? You can expect to see graphic, illustrative art with bright colors and bold lines. There is also a nod to tattooing, as that is something I would really like to do in the near future. I realize that my art is something that not everyone would want to hang on their wall, but if you like dark and quirky stuff, then you will like the pieces in this show. Prints and buttons will also be available.

If you're a cheapskate, buy a print or a button. Okay, Plug City, where can people find more of your work?

A lot of my stuff can be seen on my website, okiecodyart.com. On that website, there are works in multiple types of mediums. 
Also, check out my Instagram, @okiecody. Instagram is updated more often than my website. 

Okie Cody's show kicks off Friday, May 12th, 7 - 11 PM.

The Pencil Pushers!

Drink And Draw, The Pencil PushersDusty GilpinComment

We've been hosting Drink & Draw for almost 7 years! It's hard to believe we've been having these drawing sessions that long! After a lot of thought, I've decided to rebrand and rename our drawing sessions.

This year, we want to make our drawing sessions bigger and better than ever. We want to plan some drawing 'field trips', and we might even host a class or speaking guest! In these events, I think it's wise to have a group title that isn't bound to location or activity. Instead of naming the event, we want to name the group. Instead of being an attendee, we want you to be A Pencil Pusher!

Lastly, I want these drawing sessions to be open to anyone. All artists of any age or gender are welcome to join us! Members are still welcome to bring their own refreshments if they'd like (BYOB), we're just taking the emphasis out of drink.

We will post every time we host a drawing session so follow @TreeAndLeaf on Instagram or join The Pencil Pushers Facebook group! We will also continue using the old DrinkAndDrawOKC hashtag alongside the new #OKCPencilPushers.

Sessions will take place on Thursdays (typically every other week) from 7-10 PM at the store. In the event we'll be taking a field trip, we'll give advance notice via social media and our website. 

Hope to see you at our next session - TONIGHT (01/05) from 7-10PM!

 

 

Feeling Nostalgic: Our Roots

Drink And Draw, PLAZA DISTRICT, PRINTING, PRINTSHOP, PRODUCTSDusty GilpinComment

In 2007 we did our very first interview with the Daily Oklahoman. I'm certain to this day I cursed myself because in it I said, "It's not about the money." Bryson Panas (a co-founder of T&L) was in the college of business at OU at the time the article was published. In one of his business classes, his professor took the newspaper article and projected it in front of the class. He highlighted my quote and said, "This is bullshit."

Maybe he was right. Running a for-profit business without a regard for profit is absolutely ludicrous. For 10 years (only 7 of which we paid ourselves), I've had a salary that bounces between fast food management and first-year teacher. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. There are benefits of my job that no other occupation can offer. I'm just stating that the comment I made almost 10 years ago was made without much forethought. It was cultivated by the passion of a 20-year-old's arrogant ideas of social justice and moral corporate reform. It's a statement I can now look at and chuckle as I see how ambitious we were when we first kickstarted this business. It's a statement that both humbles and encourages me today.

Most creatives will tell you that they are their own worst critic. In this scenario that is most certainly true. My demons constantly remind me how a life lived otherwise would've been much more lucrative, how the events we've hosted were only temporary, how art is only profitable for a group I will never be apart. However, reason has always overcome these demons, and that statement rings true even 10 years later. Maybe, just maybe, I was right... Maybe it isn't about the money.

As we approach Tree & Leaf's 10 year anniversary, I am starting to become quite nostalgic. I've had many conversations about a decade of business and the significance is starting to hit me. I've had discussions about the sacrifices, the struggles, the future, and the financials. At the end of these conversations I have a tendency to reflect and ask myself, "Has it been worth it?"

I started digging around to find throwback photos I could post to Instagram in preparation for our anniversary party. While sifting through 10 years of files, videos, and photos, I am very much reminded that it has definitely been worth it.

I've posted many of these photos before, but I want to share with you a few that I think embody the mission of Tree & Leaf. I want to give a little context with each one, shout out a few folks, and share a few stories. Before I hop in the way-back-machine, I have to be completely sincere in offering my appreciation to YOU. Artists, musicians, print clients, blog-readers, store customers, neighboring small businesses, employees, interns, event sponsors, family, and friends: I will never be able to say it enough - THANK YOU!

 These are the earliest photos of Tree & Leaf taken in September of 2006. This is our first 'printshop' in Rob Bennett's detached garage. Rob let us crash on his couch, use his bathroom, wash out our screens, and drink his beer. He never asked for anything in return. Thank you, Rob.  Pictured is Chase Kerby and Bryson Panas. Chase thought of the name Tree & Leaf, Bryson built our first website and helped with promotion and printing. Chase continued on to work with his true passion; music. Bryson left in 2009(?) to pursue a career in web/graphic design.

These are the earliest photos of Tree & Leaf taken in September of 2006. This is our first 'printshop' in Rob Bennett's detached garage. Rob let us crash on his couch, use his bathroom, wash out our screens, and drink his beer. He never asked for anything in return. Thank you, Rob.

Pictured is Chase Kerby and Bryson Panas. Chase thought of the name Tree & Leaf, Bryson built our first website and helped with promotion and printing. Chase continued on to work with his true passion; music. Bryson left in 2009(?) to pursue a career in web/graphic design.

 Our first storefront location was at 8405 N. Rockwell Ave. in the back of Rockwell Plaza. We opened it on a shoestring budget in 2007. I painted my first mural in the back (it was horrible). We built canvases for local artists to paint; Erin Robinson, Kaleb Nimz, Caleb Jacks, Emma Robertson, and Jake Sloan. We had a grand opening party with performances by The Legend of Junior Sapp, Sherree Chamberlain, and Josh Roberts. It's fun to think that two of the members of The Legend of Junior Sapp (Joey Morris and Roger Eleftherakis) would go on to be our neighbors in the Plaza as co-owners of The Mule.  In our first store we also carried clothing by PS Clothing, Bombs Away, GRP FLY, Blooprint, and Dead Cities. All the clothing vendors were local, and we also began selling Montana spray paint around this time.  Kaleb Nimz was the first employee we had in this space. He was really essential in influencing my art style, and the overall direction of the shop. His emphasis on typography, graffiti, and design really influenced my print work.

Our first storefront location was at 8405 N. Rockwell Ave. in the back of Rockwell Plaza. We opened it on a shoestring budget in 2007. I painted my first mural in the back (it was horrible). We built canvases for local artists to paint; Erin Robinson, Kaleb Nimz, Caleb Jacks, Emma Robertson, and Jake Sloan. We had a grand opening party with performances by The Legend of Junior Sapp, Sherree Chamberlain, and Josh Roberts. It's fun to think that two of the members of The Legend of Junior Sapp (Joey Morris and Roger Eleftherakis) would go on to be our neighbors in the Plaza as co-owners of The Mule.

In our first store we also carried clothing by PS Clothing, Bombs Away, GRP FLY, Blooprint, and Dead Cities. All the clothing vendors were local, and we also began selling Montana spray paint around this time.

Kaleb Nimz was the first employee we had in this space. He was really essential in influencing my art style, and the overall direction of the shop. His emphasis on typography, graffiti, and design really influenced my print work.

 We continued to host music events in the store. Our shows ranged from hip-hop to folk. There weren't many venues in OKC at the time and our store was just big enough to host small events. These photos are of a show hosted by Jabee Williams. The performers were 8-Bit Cynics, Jivin' Scientists, and another performer from Tucson (someone remind me...?)

We continued to host music events in the store. Our shows ranged from hip-hop to folk. There weren't many venues in OKC at the time and our store was just big enough to host small events. These photos are of a show hosted by Jabee Williams. The performers were 8-Bit Cynics, Jivin' Scientists, and another performer from Tucson (someone remind me...?)

Around that same time we started hosting an event called School of Thought. At the time it was just to try to get likeminded kids together. Anyone involved in art, breakdancing, and music was invited. This event basically spawned what is now Drink & Draw and the School of Thought emcee battles hosted by Ronnie Harris. The above video is from the very first School of Thought. My camera and editing skills were of equal quality.

 Around 2010, we decided to rent and renovate one of the larger spaces next to us. In what now seems over ambitious, we made a good effort at running a music venue called The Arbor. We hosted some really great shows in that venue, and one of my favorite art shows ever called Rollin' Deep. We met a lot of cool people through the venue, but struggled to keep it booked. In 2011, a elderly woman accidentally drove her car through the wall and through our stage. We took it as an omen to close the venue! After repairing the damages, we decided to move our store and printshop into the space.

Around 2010, we decided to rent and renovate one of the larger spaces next to us. In what now seems over ambitious, we made a good effort at running a music venue called The Arbor. We hosted some really great shows in that venue, and one of my favorite art shows ever called Rollin' Deep. We met a lot of cool people through the venue, but struggled to keep it booked. In 2011, a elderly woman accidentally drove her car through the wall and through our stage. We took it as an omen to close the venue! After repairing the damages, we decided to move our store and printshop into the space.

 In 2011, we opened our largest printshop/store. It was a really, really, cool space and the time we spent there was extremely productive. We expanded our printshop and purchased an automatic press. We started poster printing, we hosted more art shows, and began hosting Drink & Draw. Throughout our time in 'Suite 11' we employed probably 15 people. During this tenure we also opened our store in the Plaza in 2013 (but we'll talk about that in a minute.) We had an incredible landlord at Rockwell Plaza who was very helpful in our growth. In our naivety, we thought that would last forever. He eventually sold the property, and our lease was left in the hands of an out-of-state management company. They were non-negotiable, difficult to work with, and ultimately increased our rent. In 2015 we closed our contract printshop.  While closing our printshop was bittersweet, there was a positive side to the story. We sold our equipment to 4 of our employees; Taylor Dickerson, Ian Spencer, Phil Bearshield, and John Metcalf. Today, they still run Slate Screen & Design in Bethany, OK. Taylor and John had been employed with us for over 4 years each. It's awesome to see that 'branch' of Tree & Leaf continue on.  At this time, my longest running co-founder, John Milner, also decided to transition out of Tree & Leaf. He continues to be one of the hardest working individuals I've ever met. He handled the most stressful parts of our business, but still managed to have a lot of fun while doing it. I am very thankful for his contributions to our store and the friendship we built as business partners. I couldn't quite let go of our store in the Plaza and decided to keep it open.

In 2011, we opened our largest printshop/store. It was a really, really, cool space and the time we spent there was extremely productive. We expanded our printshop and purchased an automatic press. We started poster printing, we hosted more art shows, and began hosting Drink & Draw. Throughout our time in 'Suite 11' we employed probably 15 people. During this tenure we also opened our store in the Plaza in 2013 (but we'll talk about that in a minute.) We had an incredible landlord at Rockwell Plaza who was very helpful in our growth. In our naivety, we thought that would last forever. He eventually sold the property, and our lease was left in the hands of an out-of-state management company. They were non-negotiable, difficult to work with, and ultimately increased our rent. In 2015 we closed our contract printshop.

While closing our printshop was bittersweet, there was a positive side to the story. We sold our equipment to 4 of our employees; Taylor Dickerson, Ian Spencer, Phil Bearshield, and John Metcalf. Today, they still run Slate Screen & Design in Bethany, OK. Taylor and John had been employed with us for over 4 years each. It's awesome to see that 'branch' of Tree & Leaf continue on.

At this time, my longest running co-founder, John Milner, also decided to transition out of Tree & Leaf. He continues to be one of the hardest working individuals I've ever met. He handled the most stressful parts of our business, but still managed to have a lot of fun while doing it. I am very thankful for his contributions to our store and the friendship we built as business partners. I couldn't quite let go of our store in the Plaza and decided to keep it open.

 In 2013, we opened our store in the Plaza District. Our friends at DNA Galleries were expanding into the space next door and we knew we had to jump into their old space. We had spent a lot of time in the neighborhood and knew it was a fit for us. At that time I didn't know that I would be moving into the neighborhood and marrying the Plaza District Executive Director, Kristen Vails. Fate has a fun way of dealing it's cards.  It's been 3 years since our move into the Plaza and I think it was the best business move we ever made. I have a heart for this neighborhood like no other. I love this community sometimes until it hurts. Kristen and I have invested our blood, sweat, and tears into 16th St. and I don't foresee us leaving it any time soon.

In 2013, we opened our store in the Plaza District. Our friends at DNA Galleries were expanding into the space next door and we knew we had to jump into their old space. We had spent a lot of time in the neighborhood and knew it was a fit for us. At that time I didn't know that I would be moving into the neighborhood and marrying the Plaza District Executive Director, Kristen Vails. Fate has a fun way of dealing it's cards.

It's been 3 years since our move into the Plaza and I think it was the best business move we ever made. I have a heart for this neighborhood like no other. I love this community sometimes until it hurts. Kristen and I have invested our blood, sweat, and tears into 16th St. and I don't foresee us leaving it any time soon.

The store is now fuller than ever and has a vibe that continues to support the core values we've always had; music, art, and community. At the end of the day, the products we sell are just products. I personally print all of our shirts and posters, but they are only little trinkets that represent a greater mission of cultivating creativity and community.

I'm super thankful for the staff I have now; store manager, Steven Silva, and the chump squad, Jacob Danley and Matt Hildebrand.

We'll all be ready to party on Sunday, October 9th to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Please come hang out with us for a T&L reunion and rally for continued community growth. Please come by so I can personally thank you for your support.

Here's to 10 years and whatever the future may hold.