Bomb Squad Spotlight: Kurt Reinhardt!

During a recent trip to Seattle, Bomb Squad member Kurt Reinhardt stopped by our factory (“The Bombshelter”), where we got the chance to talk about his #CheekyMo design, his glorious beard, and his involvement in the Movember awareness movement. So far, all of the interviews I’ve done for blog posts have been done over email – so I was excited to hear his story in person.

Kurt walking Capitol Hill’s rainbow crosswalk in his WinterCamo #CheekyMo Shells. All royalties from the sale of this design are donated to the Movember Foundation!

Kurt is almost immediately clockable as a gentle giant; tall, broad-shouldered and strong, but with unmistakably kind eyes and a friendly smile behind that attention-grabbing beard. He seems like the type of guy to make friends everywhere he goes, and is unabashedly passionate about the things and people that he supports. It actually came as a surprise to me when he told me, later, that he had only just learned about us when he visited our booth at ECCC earlier this year. His enthusiasm for Bombsheller had me certain that he’d been a longtime Squad member.

He and his friend Rebecca, both proudly wearing their #CheekyMo Shells, had just come from a photoshoot on Capitol Hill with our photographer, Stephen Klise. I asked how the shoot went and Kurt said that it was the first time he’d really done something like that before – that he’d had a lot of fun with it and was eager to see how the final photos would turn out.

More so, he was excited for more opportunities to bring attention to The Movember Foundation, which aims to bring awareness to not only prostate and testicular cancer, but also men’s mental health and suicide prevention. We sat down to talk about his involvement in raising awareness and funds for the cause. 

“Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year.”

“That’s one every minute.”

(via The Movember Foundation)


How long have you been raising money for this cause?

I’ve been doing it, I think, for about six years now, though I wasn’t super successful in raising any significant amount of funds at first. Over the years, people started to know me because I have the big, giant beard. So, instead of doing the traditional “shave everything off and grow a mustache for a month,” I decided to be creative and do all of my fundraising a month before Movember starts – people donate towards the cause and every dollar is a vote towards whatever colors I dye my beard for the month of November. It’s been a unique and really visual way of raising awareness and money and it’s been far more successful! It’s been fun!

So what initially prompted you to start doing this?

Honestly, initially, it was just kind of a fun, goofy thing to do. Then I started meeting people who were personally affected – friends whose fathers had died of prostate cancer.

The first year that I did the Pride beard, I was in the parking lot of a Whole Foods and a gentleman just happened to walk by and said, “Hey! What’s the deal with your beard?”

I said I was doing this to raise money for the Movember Foundation. He was about my age and said, tearing up, that he’d just lost his son of 23 years to testicular cancer. He was just a young man… it was very personal and emotional.

It became really personal when I realized that I had suffered from symptoms of severe depression over the years, including suicidal ideation…Movember became something I really became passionate about.

That’s why I walk around with this beard all the time, now. I sometimes carry a card to give to people that explains why I do this and how they can find my page to donate.

Was that first Movember the first time you dyed your beard, then?

It was the first time I’d dyed it, yeah.

What colors/themes have you done so far?

I’ve dyed it four times so far and this is the second time I’ve done the Pride beard. The other time was a Seahawks beard. Last year was the USA beard – red, white, and blue!

Top Row: Previous years’ donation winners
Bottom row: Between Movembers, Kurt rocks a variety of temporary colors to keep the conversation going. (Via @TheKurtExperience)

What led you to designing Shells to help raise awareness and money for the cause?

I discovered you guys last year at ECCC. I’d literally just walked by the booth and thought they were so cool – tried on a pair, bought them, and wore them!

I fell in love with your product; I liked that it was this cool, small, Seattle-based company. You’re obviously passionate about what you’re doing – handmade products, which is really cool. I bought a couple pairs and have worn them at different event and I started to realize, obviously, that your niche didn’t necessarily cater to men like myself. I thought it would be a really fun thing to do – as a way to generate awareness visually and in a creative way – to have this burly, 6’3” lumberjack guy wearing some cool leggings, and being able to generate not just awareness but funds by donating all my royalties to it! 

You’re continuing to have the #CheekyMo Shells up through December, right?

Through at least the end of the year. We’ll see how sales go! It might be nice to pull them at some point and re-introduce them next year for Movember – and maybe a new design as well!

That actually answers my next question! We were wondering if you’d bring them back next year and if you’d create new designs.

Yeah! I think we’ll definitely come up for something new and fun for next year as well.

So, earlier you mentioned your own mental health struggles. You’re also very physically active; how has that changed your life? Do you feel that your own mental health has changed by being more active?

Oh absolutely. Yeah. I would say I’ve essentially reinvented myself over the last several years. I had reached a point where I was at my lowest physically and emotionally. For me, initially it was kind of cathartic to just do something different and work on rebuilding myself. I’ve become much more physically fit, but also emotionally much more stable and have engendered so many new relationships as a result of just being part of a community. 

Starting new routines and keeping them can be difficult. How did you get started with Crossfit and how do you keep at it?

Crankin’ out deadlifts in #ZapBangPow (Via @TheKurtExperience)

Honestly, I got horribly sick on a work trip and ended up going to the doctor. I had a horrible lung infection, so I worked from from my hotel room. I was laying in bed in my hotel and the Crossfit Games were on TV. They were doing monkey bars (or something fun like that) and I thought “that looks interesting; that looks fun enough and weird enough that I could probably get into it.

When I got home, I found a Groupon for a three month pass and I thought, “I’ll give this a whirl and if I like it, I’ll keep doing it.”

I was gung-ho to stat… and then broke my tailbone the next day.

Oh no! Seriously?

Yeah – I was unable to do anything physical for months. I think I got a reminder email saying the Groupon would expire in three days. It was right after my healing period, so, I walked into the gym and it was this tiny, grungy, old garage, like a lot of Crossfit gyms.

Kurt and his wife, Heather, at the Festival Games in #DarkThruster (Via @TheKurtExperience)

The owner was older and more grizzled –  as someone who’s in his 40’s it was nice to not walk in and have it be this young guys’ gym. I don’t know what it was about it – I think part of it was the community that was there that everyone was so welcoming from the second I walked in the door that it really became kind of my home away from home.

In the beginning, I would throw up running 400 meters in a warmup. It wasn’t healthy. They’d joke, “this guys gonna have a heart attack!” but I just kept coming back. I just did it, and I started to see results, and I started to feel better about myself. I started to have better self image and that has helped tremendously. Now it’s a matter of how I maintain this as I get older.

Thank you so much for joining us, Kurt! Before we let you go – any final shoutouts you’d like to give?

Big shoutouts to all of the gyms that are kind enough to host me, wherever I am during my travels. Hermes Crossfit, which is my home gym, Foundation Crossfit in Seattle and Crossfit Deliverance are absolutely fantastic. United Barbell in San Francisco.

I do want to give a shout-out to the artist who helped design the leggings, Michael Hancock! A good friend of mine from my gym. Close to my age, also has a giant gnarly beard. 


If you haven’t already, please make sure to go check out the #CheekyMo Shells. If you’d like to order a pair, make sure to do so before the end of December. Remember – they might go on hiatus until the next Movember!

Missed your chance to donate? Make sure to check out Kurt’s Movember page to donate directly and stay tuned in 2019 by following him on Instagram!

Bomb Squad Spotlight: Geek Girl Strong!

During the weekend of GeekGirlCon, we had the pleasure of meeting up with Robyn of Geek Girl Strong. GGS is an inclusive health-coaching community with a heavy focus on the physical and mental wellness of folks who “identify as girls/women and do not fit into any one box,” – particularly those of us that identify as being “nerdy” or “geeky.” If she looks familiar, you may have spotted her in the Jordandené catalog, sporting (among other awesome designs) her “Geek Girl Power” tank or tee.

We were elated when she agreed to a photoshoot with our photographer, Stephen Klise, and wanted to take the time to learn more about her journey to being the Geek Girl Strong. Make sure to check out the full gallery after the interview!


You’ve been pretty active all your life. Was there anything in particular that ignited your interest in athleticism?

Doing dips and looking fashionably non-compliant in #BitchPlanet-Floral

My mom put me in dance classes at a YWCA when I was 3 years old after I wouldn’t stop dancing around the apartment. I was literally that kid who’s mom would give them pots and pans to bang on while she was in the kitchen.

Both of my parents really love music and it was almost always on. When music videos (and MTV) became more popular my mom would have that on a lot and I’d stand in front of the TV, teaching myself the choreography. She also put me in soccer at age 5, which I loved.

From there it was a string of different activities all the way through my schooling. I was allowed to quit an activity but I had to have another one lined up that I was going to try before doing so. Those included; softball, theater (mostly as a dancer), track and field, cheerleading and probably a few others slipping my mind.

I recently got back into pole dancing in a way that I haven’t been for a while. I’ve been at it for about 5 years now and have only recently begun doing it for me again (not just so that I am skilled enough to teach my clients).

I was never really a “gym person” until after I left Cross fit about three years ago, now my time at the gym is solace to me. I spend more time doing cardio than ever before (I was a sprinter, not a distance runner). I’m always looking for ways to see what my body is capable of, from brute strength with power lifting, to more muscular endurance focused movements like 100 push-ups. As I get older I’m learning how to better listen to my body, rest when I need, rehab areas when they need it, stretch… I’m in a pretty good spot currently.

On the nerdier side of things, what’s your favorite geeky activity and/or series/fandom right now?

Right now, I think reading comics, though that’s been pretty steady for the last 10 years. I’m a huge Marvel Comics fan and Image does amazing things, I also love a lot of lesser known titles and creators.

I actually just finished Nautro Shippuden after having put it off years ago when I got too frustrated by fillers during [a particular story arc, omitted for spoilers]. I’m glad I finished it up though. I doubt I’ll be watching much of Boruto but it was fun to go down a deep Wiki and YouTube hole to see what happens with all the characters.

Oh, I’ve also been going pretty hard at Mario Party ever since getting that a couple of months ago! Nintendo has really impressed me with the Switch. 

“Geeky” hobbies these days have become a lot more socially acceptable than they were even just 10 years ago, but women, POCs, and people who otherwise don’t fit the “nerd” stereotype still have to work hard to be accepted and deal with gatekeeping. You’ve said that for you, “living [as an athlete and a nerd] as a teen was at times far from easy.” What kind of struggles did you find yourself facing back then?

Robyn (right) and a friend at Preview Night, at her first San Diego Comic Con. Via Instagram.

Ooph. Well, like I use to tell my students… being a teen is just hard. You’ve got a lot going on in that body and no clue what to do with any of it. I just didn’t “fit” anywhere.

My friends from my neighborhood (of mostly low income and black folks) didn’t fully understand the part of me that went to school in Chelsea, a neighborhood in Manhattan. A lot of my school friends knew I liked Pokemon and had a boyfriend who built computers in his room while I played his video games, but I didn’t talk about that stuff with them too much. My friends on The Sims Online (yeah, I did that) didn’t know much about me at all, even though I could spend an entire day in that world.

I was a small-statured black girl living in the ‘hood, who was trying to learn how to skate board (it didn’t work out), while practicing cheerleading moves, commuting 45 minutes to school, never failed a class, and would have other kids in the building over to play her N64 (later, Playstation 2 as well). All of this, and I came home from middle school with a black eye a couple of times, to my divorced parents’ dismay. There was a lot going on and looking back I can see how it is all related.

You’re an advocate for mental health as well as physical health. What would you say is the link between the two?

I wouldn’t even say that there is a link. Instead, it is just all intertwined. I fully believe that they are dependent on one another. If one is severely lacking, the other will not thrive.

Studies prove time and time again that addressing physical activity allows for our brains to function better and addressing our mental health allows us to physically feel better.

I’ve been so depressed at different points in my life that physically I felt that I just could not get up. I know that by taking care of my mental health it will allow for me to get to the gym, make dinner, and more. I know that by staying active it helps my brain deal with stressors that are all the more stressful for me since I live with a mental illness.

Though, that is just one simple example. There are lots more out there.

I know that Geek Girl Strong’s roots are in clubs and councils you founded at the school where you worked and that encouraged you to branch out and work hard to offer more to the masses. So how did GGS get started from there? (i.e. were you setting up local workshops or did it start with online coaching? Etc)

I decided to branch out because of people at Geek Girl Brunch asking if I trained adults! They would tell me that they might have enjoyed PE if I were their teacher (a huge compliment) and were willing to see how that would be.

I attempted online coaching at first and it did not really take, I have long distance clients now but at the beginning I did a lot of in person private training. Then when a local news network wanted to do a piece on me (which ended up never happening) they asked that I have a group they could come see. That’s when I started Fangirl Health Club; it was just a room full of people I always knew who were willing to let me try teaching a group of adults for the first time since college.

What do you think is the key to motivating kids, especially young girls, to get physically active and interested in athletics?

Early on… create situations in which they can feel successful. Who wants to do something they suck at over and over again? Especially in front of their peers?!

When they do well, celebrate that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watching young girls be reminded that they need to be smart while young boys are reminded that they should want to be physically dominant… and smart. I think we’d all be better off if we celebrated all skills and intelligences more often.

Most importantly, listen to them. Then meet them where they are, relate the activities to characters and stories that inspire them if you have to. It can be as simple as starting a game of “Steal the Bacon” off with “WELCOME! TO THE 75TH HUNGER GAMES! TRIBUTES, STEP FORWARD.”

Just let them know you see them.

What about adults? Particularly, adults that were never really into sports or being active as kids?

You know, I’ve realized in the last 3.5 years that it is almost exactly the same answer as above. Some big differences are in the fact that sometimes teaching adults movement can be difficult because they make have some un-learning todo. Kids are usually a pretty clear slate in this sense.

What’s exactly the same, is giving people the opportunity to experience success in movement. To create an environment in which they know they will not be judged for trying… and themes still work really freakin’ well.

For those of us nerds ready to get moving but not sure where to start, what are some activities we can do at home?

The first thing that comes to mind for me in terms of movement is honestly just to walk/move more. Go for a walk, park the car a little further away from your destination than you have to, take the stairs, ride a bike, go out dancing with friends… all of those things really do make a difference.

When it come to a full exercise I would suggest bringing on a professional for a least one session to ensure that you are not going to injure yourself. Apps and other digital programs becoming readily available is fantastic but the number of people I see doing things that I could really get them hurt concerns me.

Stretchin’ out and kickin’ ass in #ZapBangPow

In terms of movements I’ve say to have locked down? The Squat, the push-up, the plank and the ability to reach your toes. These are all movements can be done with no equipment at all and are more important than we give them credit for.

I know that I want to be able to reach down to the floor to pick things up, tie my own shoes, and get off of the floor if I do happen to fall… for as long as I can.

Then, gameify your workouts! Find a way to make the enjoyable and a part of the life you already have. You can do this by turning a Twitch-watching session into a workout game (think of how you can turn movies and tv shows into drinking games, but add squats).

Are there any upcoming events or projects we should be looking out for?

Things tend to slow down for the Holidays we’ll be having some awesome deals for Small Business Saturday and Cyber Money. Then in February we’re hosting our 4th annual pay-what-you-want 1up Challenge which happens completely online!

To stay up on all of this and more people can sign up for our newsletter here: bit.ly/ggsnewsletter

Any organizations, resources, or other fit nerds you’d like to give a shout-out to?

Definitely! The folks at Yoga Quest have always been really supportive of me and whenever I attend one of their yoga classes at conventions I have a great time!

I was recently on a panel with representatives from US Quidditch, Hogwarts Running Club, and Jedi Saber Guild. They are all out there doing some really awesome physically active and geeky things. I’ve also always really liked a lot of the geeky themed workouts shared over at darebee.com!

“The whole #GeekGirlStrongxNYCC 2018 team.” via Instagram

Thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with us and answer our questions, Robyn!

Check out the full Geek Girl Strong photoshoot below:

Bomb Squad Spotlight: Mandie Roman AKA Geeky Glamorous!

Get to know this badass geek.

Meet fandom fashionista Mandie Roman; Twitch streamer, host of Game Talk Live, and all-around badass babe. Her Instagram is a treasure trove of geeky fashion inspiration and creative “casual” spins on cosplay – and those seriously cute controller necklaces she’s often wearing? She makes them!

She’s been our Bombsheller Babe of the Week before, but after our COO, Jazzlyn Stone, had the opportunity to speak on a panel alongside Mandie at San Diego Comic-Con, we wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know her, too.

Geeky Glamorous lookin' good in #Graph

Geeky Glamorous lookin’ good in #Graph

Tell us a little about your gaming life. What was the first title you ever streamed on Twitch? Do you still stream it?

First game I ever streamed was Overwatch, which I still consistently stream. It’s my go-to when I just want to zone out and hang out with my viewers.

Hard mode question: what’s the first game you remember ever playing?

Oh gosh, this is tough! I had a few of those Tiger Electronics handheld systems, likely one of the Disney versions of those, haha. The first console game I remember playing is Super Mario Brothers for the original Nintendo.

Aside from playing games on stream, you’re also the host of Game Talk Live. How did you get your start on the show?

I wish this was a more exciting story, haha but I discovered the show through a friend, went through a few rounds of auditions, and got it! It’s been one of the best experiences, a dream job really to discuss and debate video games with some incredible guests and our live chat.

On the “glam” side of things – who are some of your biggest or current favorite fashion inspirations?

I am riding that vaporwave trend strong; I am all for ’80s and ’90s inspired design and colors. It’s also the era I grew up in so there’s a strong sense of nostalgia there for me. Additionally, I’ve been listening to a lot of synth-pop music lately and all the cyberpunk album covers have been super inspiring. I can’t wait for Cyberpunk 2077 to come out!

What inspired you to make controller necklaces? 

I originally launched the Geeky Glamorous controller necklaces back in 2012 when there was a huge lack of women’s gaming accessories available. We’re seeing a lot more nowadays (huzzah!) which I’m super hyped about. I brought them back because I missed designing and bringing more cute gaming stuff into the world.

Mandie's Widowmaker casual cosplay, via Instagram

Mandie’s Widowmaker casual cosplay, via Instagram

Of the inspired outfits and casual cosplays that you’ve done so far, does one stand out as your favorite?

My favorite outfits recently have been my Overwatch casual looks. I’m working my way through the entire line-up of characters, but so far it’s been Widowmaker. I wasn’t sure if people would get it and know who I was but she was super well received! It’s fun to put my own spin on the characters and what they would wear on a day off.

Before you go – any badass babes (streamers, cosplayers, creators) that you’d like to give a shout out?

My two baes, iamchubbybunny and yumewarlock! So glad to have these two hyper-supportive, creative, geeky babes in my life.

Thank you so much, Mandie! We’re honored to have you in the Bomb Squad and we can’t wait to see what’s next. Last but certainly not least – got any cool projects or events coming down the line that we should be watching out for?

I’ve definitely got some cool outfits planned for BlizzCon, and stay tuned to my website for more products coming soon!

Keep up with Geeky Glamorous

www.geekyglamorous.com

Twitch

Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook

Bomb Squad Spotlight: Tracey Wong (aka MacTrayy)!

If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Instagram, you might remember a cute and colorful little video that we posted last year in anticipation of National Butt Day:

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The talented human shakin’ these pastel #CakeWalk shells is Seattle dance educator and Bomb Squad babe Tracey Wong. Tracey is formally trained in waacking, voguing, hip-hop, and house, and minored in dance at the University of Washington, where she took courses in modern dance, jazz, and ballet. She also currently reps more than one dance crew; Malicious Allure, a waacking and voguing performance group,  kiki house, and crew, and Chinatown After Hours, a collective group of street dance battlers and organizers for the community.

She’s also the event organizer for Funkee Monkee’s monthly open sessions, as well as the organizer for the annual all-womxn dance battle Queen of the Hill @ Folklife Festival – the largest waacking battle in Seattle, Punk & Funk. She also works at a local and POC-owned boutique called Moksha, located in Seattle’s International District. Not just a boutique, Moksha collaborates with and gives artists platforms for their work.

As if all of that isn’t already completely badass, she’s also training in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and has recently taking up DJing. You can probably understand why we wanted to learn more about her.

Make sure to keep reading after the Q&A for Tracey’s upcoming classes and dance battle events, plus a sweet behind-the-scenes video of Tracey showing off her moves for this photo shoot!


Have you been a dancer your whole life? What got you into it?

A year after my training in the studio, I began learning more of the foundation in hip hop and other street and club-style dances.

 actually started training in dance at almost the age of 21. I had always loved to groove and get down with my friends at functions and dabbled a little in Lindy hop whenever my mentor would take me, but I never had the financial privilege or knowledge about dance classes that I could take. I took my first hip-hop choreography class with my homie, Alexa at Westlake Dance Center. After that, we kept coming back every week to take it because it was so much fun. After class, we would just be so pumped. We did a student performance called Sign of the Times and after that, I kept dancing more consistently.

More and more opportunities kept coming my way to move towards performing, competing, joining crews, and I kept saying yes and worked hard at whatever I committed to. I worked really hard! What kept me STAYING was learning about the rich culture in street dances and knowing that there was way more than what I thought street dance was. There was a community that worked hard to keep the culture going and help elevate folks.

Did you have any heroes in the dance community growing up? 

Dang, a lot of folks inspired me in the community. I looked up to folks for different reasons and could learn a lot just from watching ’em. One person who comes to mind right now is Rina Pellerin from Vancouver, CA. She inspired me to want to learn how to waack and I took my very first waacking class was with her a few years ago.

Two other people that I look up to as mentors are Kumari Suraj and Dani Tirrell. Both Kumari and Dani have taught me about the importance of understanding the history and roots of street and club-style dances. All these street/ club-dance styles came from black/latinx communities and a lot of the times many folks don’t know much about the culture so there is a lacking of the feeling and essence for the dance styles. I am definitely still learning, but I appreciate these two a lot for being able to challenge me to do better, to explore what inspires me, what the dance means for me, and to keep diving deeper in my own individuality.

One more hero…my boyfriend, Lonnie! He has been with me since day 1 of my dancing and before I thought to continue dancing, he saw the fire in me and told me to always go full out 100% in it because he believed in me. If I never had that push, his constant love and support, I would probably not be where I am today.

You instruct classes on waacking – is it your favorite style of dance? 

Waacking, Voguing, and House are my favorite styles of dance. These are all club-style dances and the dance styles I typically do when I am at the club. These are my favorite because these are styles that help heal me. When I do these dances, I feel feminine and empowered. I feel as if I am re-claiming my body, my sexuality, myself. A decade ago, I was struck and dragged by a speeding car as a pedestrian and had major physical injuries to the body and mind. Functioning physically and mentally were difficult. It was a lot of trauma I was trying to heal from and I am still trying to navigate my healing process with this.

These dance styles are more than dances, but a culture – conversations I share in exchanges with my friends in the dance community. It is so releasing to be able to free myself completely through expression via movement and my experiences to drive my movement.

 

You recently posted a video on Instagram of you DJing – how long have you been DJing? Are we about to see the rise of bb DJ HAI CHEW?

I am definitely a bb when it comes to DJ-ing. However, I am feeling really grateful for so many opportunities being given to me so it drives me to work even harder. I started learning from DJ magicsean in the fall and had my debut in February of this year. I have 3 gigs lined up for next week and it’s so much fun being able to create good vibes especially for my dance community to get down to! I am still trying to decide what my DJ name is going to be, but leaning towards DJ Mac Tray!

If you had a chance to collab on a music video with any musical artist, who would be in your top three choices?

(1) Erykah Badu

(2) Sade

(3) Louie Vega

Last but not least… Favorite Bombsheller design?

#Seattle1890 – I have so much love for Seattle as I grew up in Beacon Hill. Of course, so much has changed since then, but I have mad love for my community of folks that still keep it 206.

#killbill – The Bruce Lee leggings because he and martial arts are huge inspirations for waacking. He is also my role model and makes me feel proud to be a Chinese American.

Tracey in #Jungle


Thank you so much, Tracey, for taking the time to let us get to know you better and for a great photo shoot! You can find Tracey on Instagram as @Mactrayy to stay up to date on what she’s up to next, and make sure to check out some of her upcoming events below this adorable behind-the-scenes video!


 Upcoming Events

Tracey recently placed in semi-finals in a solo competition and her group Malicious Allure placed 2nd in the crew competition! Check out these events if you need a little help with your dance moves or just wanna cheer her crew on at their next battle!

FUNKEE MONKEE :: Funk, Soul, and Disco Open Session 

MONTHLY OPEN SESSIONS

Upcoming Dates: Tuesday, 5/1 and Tuesday, 6/12

830-10pm @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio

$5 Drop-In

More info

 

PUNK & FUNK (VOL II) :: Waacking and Open-Styles Dance Battle and Party 

A FUNDRAISER FOR QUEEN OF THE HILL

Saturday, May 5th | 4-10pm @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio

*4pm-5pm: Waacking Workshop with Sheena

*530pm: Battles Begin

More info

 

QUEEN OF THE HILL :: All-Ladies 7-to-Smoke Openstyles Dance Battle 

DANCE WORKSHOPS/ PRE-PARTY/ QUALIFIER BATTLE

Saturday, May 26th

12pm-3pm Dance Workshops @ Washington Hall (open to all)

430pm-8pm Qualifier Battle & Dance Party @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio

MAIN EVENT

Saturday, May 27th 2-330pm @ Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater

“Special shout-out to Trichome Seattle… a local and POC-owned shop in Chinatown/ID that also supports me and will be helping to sponsor Queen of the Hill. Please go support!” – Tracey

More info

Bomb Squad Artist Spotlight: Jade Gordon

Our Lady of Perpetual Kittens, Jade Gordon

You’ve most likely seen Jade’s work around Bombsheller before. Perhaps you pined for #SkullPile around Halloween, or recently agonized over which color variant of #Tentacles to choose (correct answer: all of them). Maybe you considered wearing #ThanksgivingCats or #ChristmasCats to family dinners last year, or found yourself wondering just how many cat leggings is too many cat leggings (correct answer: no such thing).

Jade wearing an early iteration of #Tentacles at Steamcon

Jade wearing an early iteration of #Tentacles at Steamcon

 

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Jade’s selection of shells continues to grow – we just added her 11th design to our catalog! Welcome #Corgiflage – perfect for those times when all you want is to blend into a pile of fluffy-bottomed puppies.

preview_corgiflage

We adore Jade and her designs, and we think that building a collection of that size is the perfect excuse to introduce her to you!

While Jade makes a lot of badass textile prints, it’s not her only focus, and certainly not her only talent. She creates using a variety of mediums – pen, pencil, watercolor, digital – but has also managed to create works in a variety of different styles while still making everything undoubtedly her own. Her creative works range from animals in suits to human bodies in motion, from fan art to fairies, from earth to the deep reaches of space. Chances are, no matter what your interests, you’ll find something in her gallery that you’ll love. We asked her a few questions, and we were delighted that she provided us with answers to share with you all!


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ee, JA Tentacled Jade Gordon Self-Portrait

You use a variety of styles and techniques in your art. When it comes to creating, do you have a favorite artistic style, or does that vary depending on your mood? 

Well, how can I ever let go of a love of the organic-ness of Nouveau? I think these days I spend a lot of time admiring independent comic artists. There’s so much variety in style and technique, yet there’s often still a heavily organic and crafty feel to it.

My own work definitely varies with mood, or whatever I’ve been looking at lately. I try to seek out new inspirations when I feel like I’m habitually making things of a formulaic technique rather than being creative. I feel like I go in waves for a long time, then I move on to a new style/technique/theme. 

A steampunk robot Jade Gordon, otherwise known as J-99-B1

Do you have a favorite medium or mix of mediums? 

Blue pencil and inks are probably the most beloved, but I’m leaning more toward digital and tablets because the increased speed and simplification are a lot less wear and tear on the joint and neuromuscular issues I have. 

Last year, you created hundreds of new textile designs. Just how different is the process of creating them versus your fan art and your paintings?

Textile designs can be so prolific because I can play with my original art and include that as well as things intended to be patterns from the start. I think developing for textiles gets me in the habit of thinking about how the art can be used – even simple prints need space for bleeds, and sometimes the ability to print as a square or a rectangle… or on a button, sticker, etc. I feel I’m getting better about having that in mind earlier in the process.

Textile prints from Jade Gordon’s website

What do you like to listen to or have on in the background when you’re creating? Do you have a playlist you’d like to share?

I do have to be listening to something while I work! Sometimes I’ll use Pandora for a little randomness, but I often find concentration is best aided by Classical, Instrumental/Movie Scores, or something driving and loud like NIN, Daft Punk, or Ministry – it’s all enjoyable but more of a noise that locks distractions out and I get a little more focused on the work at hand. I also sometimes find re-watching favorite movies or TV shows to have a similar effect as a familiar long-form music piece.

Most of my music lives on my computer, but sometimes I’ll throw together a list like this (click the top left icon on the video or click here to see the full list):

Are you working on any projects right now that you’re particularly excited about?

Not especially! I am generally working around my health needs and limitations, so I feel like I’ll never be done with all the little ideas, much less planning for the bigger ideas (though I am trying to gather my lists and notes to design some kind of new workflow)! I’m hoping to do more painting soon, now that I’ve worked out a little more space for an easel, my last painting mishap sprayed electric blue paint all over a kitchen wall. Thank goodness acrylic paint peels off many things when dry!

44th president Barack Obama follows you on Twitter. How does that make you feel?

Grateful that I don’t feel the need to entirely block him out like I do with 45? I’m also curious to see what Obama does from here on. Presidents don’t historically have the best track records/lifespans, but watching them as we can in the modern era, the choices they make, their priorities, their continued sacrifice and care of others, and how the process and atone for their errors is… interesting!


Thanks for chatting with us, Jade! We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

View the full collection of Jade Gordon shells here!

For more of Jade’s work, make sure to check out her website and follow her on social media!

@jadegordon

www.jadegordon.com

www.facebook.com/jadegordonartist