October Featured Artist – Eddie Erdmann

Eddie Erdmann

Location: Anchorage, AK
Website: http://www.eddieerdmann.com/



Give us a brief description of you and your work

I’m originally from Turnerville, Alabama, a rural community hidden in the pine forests north of Mobile. After studying English Literature at the University of Alabama, I lived in several places throughout the following decade—Chicago, New York City and Prague, Czech Republic—and in 2005 a short-term job with the Alaska Railroad took me to Anchorage, Alaska. I immediately fell in love with the natural beauty of the Last Frontier and decided to stick around for a while. My new home was a foreign and fascinating landscape to me, and it was my desire to record and express its beauty that gave birth to my serious dedication to photography.

I shoot with a variety of medium- and large-format film cameras. I create most of my work with a Hasselblad 500 C/M and black-and-white film, and I print the vast majority of those images by hand on fiber-based paper in a darkroom. My other go-to tool is a RealitySoSubtle 6×17 pinhole camera, and I tend to use color film in that one.


Three constants in your day

Photography, reflection and laughter


How did you find your style and how would you describe it? Has it changed since you started?

I settled into a particular style after several years of shooting just about everything I could with different cameras and a variety of films. At first I was all over the place with no discernible style, but the more I studied photography and experimented with subjects, cameras and films, the more I began to move in a particular direction.

Most of my work is black and white and in a square format. I shoot mostly landscapes and architecture, and my images tend to be grainy with fairly high contrast. I dabble in color images as well, and these deal with the same subject matter but mostly with a panoramic perspective.

When I was first starting out as a serious photographer, I would often shoot in color, and I almost never shot long exposures. Now, however, I shoot in color a lot less—I use color film almost exclusively for my pinhole work—and a great deal of my work involves long exposures, either because I’m shooting at night or in low-light situations, or because I’m using a neutral-density filter. Another way my style has evolved is that I am no longer concerned so much with literal representations of my subjects as I am with simply creating images that are beautiful and engaging, regardless of how truthfully they present what the human eye would have seen.


Favorite thing you ever photographed?

A lightning storm in Mobile, Alabama last spring. I was shooting the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge just before sunset when the storm rolled in overhead. Luckily the lightning didn’t seem to be reaching the ground, so I was able to hang around and shoot for a couple hours. One of the images I created that night, “Fulmination Over Africatown,” has become one of my most popular.


What’s your goal as as artist and where do you draw inspiration?

My inspiration comes to me from the beauty I see in the natural world and in the structures that humans have built in it. My goal is to express that beauty, not through the literal recreation of subjects and scenes, but by presenting it with a slight touch of the fantastical, which I typically achieve through the exaggerations and distortions inherent in long exposures and in pinhole photography, such as vignetting, elongation of subjects, lack of sharp focus and the accumulative effects of motion occurring in a scene as it is captured on film. I also use high-speed black-and-white film and lens filters to achieve certain effects in my images. My goal is to push an image slightly into the realm of unreality, as I find that this is an effective way to convey my fascination with our world and draw others into my vision.



What’s the best costume that you ever wore?

It’s a toss up between the Anton Levay costume I wore for Halloween in Anchorage a few years ago and the pint-of-beer costume I wore last Halloween in New Orleans.


If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be?

Bourbon and brown sugar


What would you name the autobiography of your life?

“Push the Sky Away” (assuming Nick Cave would allow me to use the title)


If you could pick any two celebrities to be your parents, who would they be?

Charlie Rose and Bjork


First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

I’d buy my mama a house.

Win an Eddie Erdmann Photo Printed on Plywerk

Post a comment about Eddies’s work below and you will automatically be entered to win one of his gorgeous photographs on our 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk. Woo hoo!
We will select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early November to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the US for free.



Posted in Featured Artists | 42 Comments

September Featured Artist – Lili Chin

Lili Chin

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Website: www.doggiedrawings.net



What are three words that describe your work?

Dogs, Digital illustrations, Prints


How and when did you start focussing your business on drawing dogs?

I started drawing dogs about seven years ago when I was fostering boston terriers for Boston Buddies Rescue and when I adopted my first dog – Boogie. I was working in animation at the time, and drawing dogs was a personal side project and fundraiser for Boston Buddies Rescue.  When I found myself getting so many requests and drawing dogs almost full-time,  I decided to make this a ‘pet portrait business’ where I donate a percentage to rescue.

My business of drawing dogs also includes working on infographics and educational material for professional dog trainers (eg, Dr Sophia Yin, Grisha Stewart, Dog Decoder app etc), veterinarians, and pet-friendly organizations. Many of these illustrations are about interpreting dog body language and behaviors, and how to help dogs who are reactive. There is also a personal connection here as my own dog Boogie has fearful-reactivity issues.

What Is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training - LiliChin+MikiSaito

How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?

When I started Doggie Drawings I was only doing pet portraits in one style. There is actually quite a lot of variety in my work and I love this. I love that I don’t have to stick with drawing in one specific style all the time. I have the pleasure of working with different types of clients and on different kinds of projects that inspire different styles.

With my custom pet portrait work, I am now also doing a new style based on my Dogs of The World dog breed series. This means that people can now choose from two different styles when they commission a portrait of their dog.  A more realistic style or a simple fun, flat style. The simpler style is my current favorite and I am also selling t-shirts with this style.


What’s your goal as an artist and from where do you draw inspiration?

My goal as an artist is to dedicate more time to the list of ideas that are in my head, and to get these done! There is never enough time!  I am also looking forward to new collaborations and creative or licensing relationships.

As much of a cliche as this sounds, Boogie my boston terrier is my biggest inspiration for all things dog-related. And then there is the internet – people I know, expert friends, vintage-style art with bright color palettes.


Why do you chose to show your artwork on Plywerk?

I received a gift Plywerk print from a friend and artist – Natalia Martinez – who has also been featured on Plywerk – and this was my introduction to Plywerk. I love the quality of Plywerk’s prints and the fantastic customer service.

lilichin-ZEUSWhen did you first realize you were a dog person?

I have always been a dog person. But when I was younger,  I traveled and moved around often so a dog seemed like too big a responsibility, and a cat was easier to manage.. When I adopted my dog, I was 200% ready to have a dog…and I became obsessed with him.

lilichin CustomPrints-examples1

Name an artist who has inspired you.

I am going to stick with dog artists for now. I adore the dog illustrations of Sophie Hogarth and Jess Chappell. Go look them up.


 What is your favorite thing about freelancing?

Working from home!

What is your least favorite thing about freelancing?

Never being sure that I can pay next month’s rent and bills. I have been fortunate so far…touch wood.

lilichin CustomPrints-examples2

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A private investigator. It didn’t occur to me as a kid that ‘drawing’ could be a career.


Win a CUSTOM Pet Print from Lili Chin Printed on Plywerk

Post a comment about Lili’s work below and you will automatically be entered to win a CUSTOM pet illustration (by Lili) on our 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk.Woo hoo! Did we mention CUSTOM? So cool of Lili to offer.
We will select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early October to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the US for free.



Posted in Featured Artists | 95 Comments

Best places within a day’s drive from Portland to photograph

Portland has long been recognized for its prime location that makes it equally easy to take day trips for either skiing or surfing. And along the way, there is no shortage of photographic opportunities. Once, I photographed the sunrise over Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake and photographed the sunset over Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park in the same day. So if you’re looking for a quick getaway that offers some stunning scenery, here are a few of my favorite spots. (Note: you can find directions and trip tips to all of these places by visiting our friends at Outdoor Project.)

The Columbia River Gorge

I mean, duh. You probably already know about this one. The Gorge is one of Oregon’s most awe-inspiring natural features. Everyone loves Multnomah Falls, but I actually prefer many of the lesser-known (and much less crowded) waterfalls. One of my favorites is Wahclella Falls, which I have returned to many times to photograph. I’m also a big fan of Elowah Falls which you can see in the image below (which now hangs on my wall mounted to a beautiful 20×30” bamboo Plwyerk panel).


Elowah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. (Daven Mathies.)

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Looking for a bike adventure? The car-free Historic Columbia River Trail cuts through the Gorge high above I84 and allows you to take in all of the surrounding beauty. Strap your camera to your back and head from Hood River through the Mosier Tunnels (for some awesome portrait lighting) and eventually end up in The Dalles. Then grab a beer and head back!


Biking through the Mosier Tunnels. (Daven Mathies.)

The Portland Japanese Garden

Portland’s Japanese Garden seems to be the place that every well-known photographer has to visit on his or her visit to the city.   Focusing on seasonal themes, the garden offers a variety of attractions year-round.

Trillium Lake

This place is so crazy beautiful, with Mt. Hood perfectly positioned behind it, that it’s hard to believe it was simply created by happenstance. Trillium Lake is one of those photographic conundrums, where it is simultaneously impossible to get a bad shot and impossible to do it justice.

The Oregon Coast

I can’t just pick one town or spot. Everywhere is beautiful. If you have a weekend to spend, start in Astoria and then work your way south down the 101. Some key features: the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the shipwreck at Ft. Stevens State Park, Ecola State Park, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and so, so much more.

The shipwreck at Ft. Stevens. (Daven Mathies.)

The shipwreck at Ft. Stevens. (Daven Mathies.)

So get out and enjoy summer! We can’t wait to Plywerk your photos!

Posted in Beyond Plywerk, Photography, Summer | Leave a comment

Get ‘em while they’re hot: the It’s Too Damn Hot Frame Sale is on!

It’s. So. Hot. No, seriously: I’m writing this at 9:30 PM from an air-conditioned bar in Southeast and I’m still too hot. With temperatures like these, it makes coming up with creative marketing ideas really difficult. So instead, we’re just going to offer a blanket 20% discount on all Plywerk picture display products. Boring? Sure, but it’s too hot to think of a better idea for a picture frame sale. Just head over to our eco-friendly online store and use discount code TOOHOT20 to instantly save on all photo display products, now through August 24th.


Yes, we know, this is one of the least inspired promotions of the summer, but c’mon, what do you really expect? It’s really, really hot. There have been multiple days of 100+ degree weather here in Portland, and we just don’t know how to function in that kind of heat. The only thing we know how to do is offer incredibly steep savings on the world’s best photo and art mounting solutions, like our custom prints on Plywerk. We also have great do-it-yourself picture frames and photo stands, like our Stanley and Maggie, and you can save 20% on them, too.

Did you know that the bamboo used in our panels is some of the best stuff on earth for capturing carbon emissions? That’s worth talking about at at a time like this when the world is experiencing record high temperatures. Support the international bamboo growing community by purchasing Plywerk, and maybe we can help lower the mercury back down to tolerable levels. Or just do it because it’s 20% off right now.

Oh yeah, we’re also doing this cool thing were you get a free Bamboo Coaster with your order, atop which you can rest your cold beverage of choice. Iced tea, IPA, lemonade, it doesn’t really matter. Just make it cold. Any cold drink would be great right now, actually. There’s an idea: buy Plywerk, contribute to our Cold Drink Fund. We appreciate it.

So remember, just use discount code TOOHOT20 to instantly save 20% on your next Plywerk order.

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Custom Print on Plywerk for Corporate Artwork

When a page torn out of a motivational calendar just won’t cut it, look to gorgeous Plywerk bamboo and maple art panels to decorate your waiting room, office, corporate headquarters, employee kitchen, teacher’s lounge, warehouse, or, well, pretty much anything! Plywerk’s high-quality, eco-conscious plywood panels look beautiful in any business setting, and can display any custom photos or corporate artwork that you desire. Choose from a variety of finishes and sizes, including humongous split-panel displays!


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Posted in Beyond Plywerk, Eco-Conscious, More Than Just Green, Photo Display Products | Leave a comment