This weekend (December 11, 2010 to be exact), The Shooting Gallery opens Manos Extrañas, a solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based design team, Morning Breath.  For this new body of work, Morning Breath’s Doug Cunningham and Jason Noto have created a series of images that deconstruct and reinterpret vintage lo-fi advertisements. The exhibit will be comprised of about 15-20 medium to large paintings and silkscreens on wood panel. Doug Cunngingham and Jason Noto started working together in 1990s at THINK skateboards in San Francisco.  In 2002, Cunningham and Noto formalized their partnership with the creation of Morning Breath, a creative studio located in Brooklyn.  Since then, their collaborations have grown beyond skateboard graphics to include music packaging, apparel, poster design and more.  Their commercial clients include Universal Music Group( Interscope, Def Jam), Sony, Lipton,Vans and Zoo York

On view through January 1, 2011.

The Shooting Gallery
839 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

A preview of Manos Extrañas and our Q&A after the jump.

CR: How does your collaborative process work?

MB: We start our process by collecting and manipulating found (appropriated) imagery from some pretty obscure sources. We create written phrases and draw new imagery in a somewhat vintage style. Once we get a fair amount of images together, we start laying out and print onto transparent sheets. These printed sheets are what we use to burn our silkscreens. Our next step is adding layers of paint and texture to the wood surface.  When the surface ready we start silkscreen printing on the wood boards. At this point we work pretty freely and we’ll print images until we feel we have a solid base. We figure on some images to paint, usually a character of some sort, and see how it best interacts with what we created so far. Our final step is adding a few more screened images if needed, and calling it a day.

CR: Creating commercial art, and critiquing commercial art, do you ever look back on your own production (for Think, Sony, Vans, etc.) and think, “Hmmm… this is sort of exactly what we’re toying with in our fine art.”

MB: There are moments in our commercial art that cross over into what we we are doing in our personal work, it just does not happen too  often. We get the occasional project that really wants to use our fine art aesthetic, but it’s usually in the form of a product or brand collaboration. An example would be something like an artist series skateboard, or snowboard graphic. Most of our commercial work is a wide range of graphic design, and often in styles you would not necessarily associate with our personal work.

CR: As follow up, what are your challenges in maintaining boundaries between client work and your fine art? How do the two practices intermingle in your studio time?

MB: Crossing boundaries between client work and fine art does not pose much of  a problem for us. Most of our client-based work doesn’t really want us to use our personal style, but if it does it most often comes from companies that we feel comfortable with giving more of our personal side to. Our client-based work does take up the bulk of our time. We would like to have a better balance, but the reality for us is that we live in an expensive city, and we both have families. Most of our personal work happens during slow periods, or while waiting on feedback from a commercial project, those moments give us the chance to experiment with new ideas. Whenever we get approached to do work for shows we both know it’s really going to be about dedicating a lot of late nights to get our personal work together.

CR: What can audiences expect from “Strange Hands”?

MB: I think the audience will find something fun, and at the same time eerily strange to look at. With this show we’ve moved away from some of the more subtle subdued color of our last show, and brought more vivid color to the work. We have also pushed the level of mash ups between appropriated imagery and newly created imagery. In the past most of the characters were based on the down and out, or street worn. This time around the characters are pulled from a creepier place.

CR: SF… what are some of your favorite things about the San Francisco art scene and who are some of the folks who inspire you in the area?

MB: My favorite thing about the San Francisco art scene is it’s historical acceptance of alternative art, and the platforms that really let it shine on the big stage. More than it being about one person or a group of people that inspires us, it’s about the overall scene in SF that has had an effect on our work. We often reminisce about times when we would hang out in the mid 90’s with a bunch of  friends that went on to find some level of success in the art world. That, in itself, is inspiring.

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