The story of Quarter Pop comes out of a decade in newsprint and silk-screen poster art but in a roundabout way. I'm going to tell you a story because well you'll find out why in a minute.
In 2012, I printed the first relaunched issue of an alternative newspaper in Pueblo, Colorado - the Steel City you see on my prints' tagline. From the very first issue, I wanted the cover to be art, or it should be worthy of being on your wall. I felt there was no difference between art in a museum and art you hang on your wall was a price. So I thought, why not make art accessible to our readers. For over 90 issues, the newspaper's frontpage was graced by the graphic design of Mathias Valdez of LastLeaf Prints, an internationally renowned artist in his own right, printing his own art prints, gig posters, and movie studio posters just down the street for our newspaper.
From 2012 to 2020, the newspaper tried to bring quality news and culture coverage to a news desert. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. The news industry is demanding, and the pandemic just made it more challenging.
We grew from a hobby paper to one that punched well above its weight and had great writers, photographers, editors, graphic designers, and good people help make it good.
I wanted the paper to be an experience with fantastic imagery, unique design, and the best stories we could produce. So to help fill in the holes, I had to do a little of everything from publisher writer, editor, HR staff, designer, photographer, illustrator (a bad one), paper delivery person, and janitor.
But it was the photojournalism and graphic design that seemed to stick for me.
I went to school for political science; then, a decade later, I got a Masters. What did I know about printing? Like so many creatives, however, the real education was YouTube University. And the mentality of breaking it until you make it.
In late 2019, LastLeaf and our paper moved into a Garage to have a space to expand to have live shows and possible art festivals. Then six months later just as our plans were coming together - the pandemic hit and the world shut down.
The waiting game turned into the realization everything will be on pause for longer, so after eight years worth of work, 97 issues later, it was time to call it good.
After a very short stint in public relations to survive- I thought, "Okay, if the pandemic is causing existential refocusing for just about everyone I know, what's next for me?"
To me, there is something iconic of a grainy, half-tone photograph printed on cheap newsprint. There's something about the way a single color or gorgeous text can pop against white space. I wanted to replicate that feeling.
Risograph printing came out of this idea. After being in the trenches and troubles of newsprint but reporting on creatives and moving into The Garage with LastLeaf, it was time to create my work, but it had to have the rough honesty found in newsprint - that rawness was part of me now.
And so Quarter Pop was born trying to replicate that spot red of old newspapers. Only Risograph colors come close but have so much more vibrancy about them. Risograph printing is imperfect - it's raw, it has imperfections, there are unfixable errors - I like that that's honesty in that type of imperfection, and that is what makes it perfectly unique.
This is my story. Now it's time to print.
About the name of Quarter Pop:
I don't know if there are years that define you, but for me everything changed in 2017. Early that year, my newspaper saw significant staff changes, as we were just on the cusp of expanding. Then in June 2017, my father, "Pop" passed away unexpectedly. A few months later, I had to put down my little border collie husky of 13 years - Quarter. Between professional and personal issues, it was the beginning of a change for me, at least.
Quarter Pop is dedicated to them as who knows if my life would take this crazy direction. It's bittersweet but that's life sometimes.
As my Pop used to say, "Love Another". I hope that sentiment comes across in all the prints, cards, and custom print projects at Quarter Pop.
And to you, should you ever find this, this is dedicated to you.