Interview With Monkey Minion Press

untitled1913.png

Dane Ault and his wife Ashlie Hammond are a 2-person geeky art & product design company based out of a small condo in Portland, OR. Their company, Monkey Minion Press, appears to be just like any other fledgling design and illustration company trying to make it’s mark. However, a quick scratch under the surface and you begin to see that what’s underneath is a great deal more!  MMP is also a retail-oriented venture through which they sell many products such as t-shirts, art prints, original art, buttons, and their signature item – Zombie Greeting Cards!
Dane recently sat down to tackle our DorkUp questions about Monkey Minion Press.  Check out his interview below, along with examples of their incredible work:

******************************

Where are you from?  Growing up, what did you geek out on? What books, comics, tv shows, movies, characters were you into?
We moved a lot when I was a kid, so I’m kinda from all over. I’ve adopted Portland, OR as my hometown, though. I read a lot of comics and books when I was younger, but my favorite was always Spider-Man. Being a child of the 80s/90s I watched all of the great cartoons; HeMan, TMNT, Street Sharks, Looney Tunes, man, you name it, I watched it. LOL


What are you geeking out on now?
Where to start? The MCU is really blowing me away (stoked for Civil War), and Netflix is straight killing it with their original series. I’ve been really enjoying Saga and WicDev as far as comics go.  And cartoons? Well, you can’t go wrong with Bob’s Burgers and Archer.


PRINTS:


How long have you been creating your designs & illustrations?  What made you decide to start creating them?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My ‘signature style’ (if you wanna call it that) kinda evolved into what it is about 6 years or so ago. I don’t know what made me start doing the POPaganda stuff, honestly. It kinda started as a way to make something over my dayjob lunchbreaks and kinda grew from there.


How did you learn your craft?  Is this something you taught yourself?  Or did you attend school for it?
I got a 4-year bachelor of science degree in Graphic Design from a school that had no idea how to teach graphic design (I was the first person to graduate with that degree). So, most of what I know about how to do what I do has been self-taught or picked up from friends who do similar work.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS:


You also design t-shirts, buttons, activity books, art books, and geeky greeting cards!  How do you decide what to create?  Where do you draw your inspiration?
I always tell people that we make stuff for ourselves first and foremost. We make the stuff that we want and hope that others want it, too.


You also have a fantastic magnet selection with some incredible artwork.  Personally, my wife & I have been collecting your magnets for years now. At Comic Con & WonderCon we generally purchase at least one (if not more) every time we see your booth. It’s become a Con tradition (we have: I Have the Flour, Visit Gotham City, Visit Keystone City, and so many more! And we just purchased Visit Themyscira & Made in the 80’s at WonderCon 2016).  How many conventions do you attend every year?  Do you travel all over to attend them?
We set up at between 10-15 shows each year. We travel a lot. During the con season (March – November), we’ll spend more time in transit to or at a con than we do at home, it seems like!


MAGNETS:


How has your experience been at Conventions?  Positive? Negative?
Our con experiences are almost always positive. We love what we do and meeting new fans (who we call our Minions).


Dane’s design was used for the OFFICIAL Emerald City Comic Con banners & posters:


Your Geeky Greeting Cards and books are written by Ashlie Hammond.  How did you & Ashlie connect?Ashlie is my wife and partner. She’s actually the person who makes all of the stuff we sell. I just design it. She’s got the harder job. LOL


CARDS:


How long do your designs take?  Does it vary depending on whether it’s for an art print, t-shirt, magnet, etc?
It depends. Sometimes a card design will take a few minutes, and sometimes they’ll take multiple iterations over multiple days. Same with everything else. It all depends on how solid my concept is before I sit down and start actually designing something.


T-SHIRTS:


What’s the hardest or most challenging design/piece you’ve ever created?  What made it so difficult?
The hardest piece to make is always the next one. Starting over with a new blank document/piece of paper is one of the most difficult things an artist has to face. As far as one that is done that was pretty hard, I’d have to say that my NASA popaganda poster “One Giant Leap is NOT Enough” was tough. Even though it is deceptively simple in it’s design, that is where the difficulty lies. In order to strip a design down that far it has to be on point. There are no fig leaves to hide behind in that poster. Every detail matters because there are so few of them. If one thing is off the whole piece is. That one took me about a month of tinkering.


nasaleap_original


What has been your most favorite design that you’ve ever created?
Probably my “Project Apollo” print. That’s one of the few art pieces I finished and went, “Yup. That’s going on the wall.” LOL


apollo1_original.png


Where do you sell your work?  And do you accept commissions?
 You can buy my prints/posters/cards and books at www.monkeyminionpress.com – I always accept commissions.


What are you working on now?  Can you give us hints to what your next creations will be?
Right now, I’m wrapping up a project for an artbook collection coming out from Udon entertainment that I can’t talk about, just yet. But, let’s just say that it involves eggs and space. After that, I’ll make a few more cards and try to wrap up our new book “Eureka.”



Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Or art shows? Or conventions?
Oh, SO MANY conventions. Our next show is Calgary Expo at the end of April, then Planet Comicon in KC in May. If you wanna keep up with where we’re going to be and when, check out our Convention Schedule at http://monkeyminionpress.com/convention-schedule

 


You’ve been very generous with your time! Thank you for this interview, and we look forward to seeing your next creations!
Be sure to check out the various Monkey Minion Press websites:  

http://monkeyminionpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MonkeyMinionPress

Tumblr: http://monkeyminionpress.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/monkeyminion

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monkeyminionpress/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s