Artist of the Month May 2018: Max Mahn
It's my pleasure to introduce you to Max Mahn, AKA: TWIN HOME, from Twin Home Prints. He's one of the best poster illustrators out there, and one heck of a screen printer! His truly impressive work promotes bands and events, as he is a master at gig posters! I had the opportunity to interview him and he is our May 2018 Artist of the Month!
How would you describe your work?
I’m not a traditional fine artist, so that doesn’t necessarily apply to the work that I create. The vast majority of my work is gig posters which usually play off of the aesthetic put in place by the band. Other than that, my only goal with my illustrations and personal art prints is create something fun, bizarre, and aesthetically pleasing.
How did you get started with Printmaking?
I started painting graffiti beginning back in middle school. I fell deep into this medium for over 9 years or so. Once I got into high school I started to explore other mediums revolving around a spray can, and screen printing was a no-brainer. They seemed to go hand in hand in my mind.
My parents help me set up a ghetto exposure unit and washout booth in the basement of our house to help my friend and I print our own stickers. That was probably around 2010. Once I got into college I began to explore relief woodblock printing, but the style never translated well with the graphical nature of my illustrations.
During my senior year in college, my printing professor, Jim Bailey, noticed my lack of satisfaction in block printing and showed me a large book of gig posters and I was immediately hooked! That is the year I started printing under the pseudonym TWIN HOME. I was printing posters for free for my friends' bands, mainly trading posters for drinks at the shows. That same year I landed my first real gig, designing a poster for Shannon and the Clams. From there on out, printing gig posters has been my one and only obsession in life.
Is printmaking/art what you do full-time? If so, how did you start out? At what point did you realize this was something that could sustain you, and what was that like?
Currently, I am the head graphic designer/artwork preparation person at a local shirt shop. I have worked there for 3 years now and at the end of this month, I am finally making the leap as a full-time freelance printmaker/illustrator.
I have to say, it’s the scariest thing I’ve done in a long time. I’ve always had that paycheck as a fallback, but recently my workload outside of my day job has gained enough momentum that I’ve got to give it a try! So check back in a few months and let's see what restaurant I’m working in.
What is the thing that you love most about Printmaking?
When you pull that final color on a poster and everything is lined up, that is what dreams are made of. I also love it when my colors are spot on!
What is the thing that you struggle with most in your Printmaking?
This is stuff only print nerds will care about, but my latest struggle has been my paper expanding between colors while absorbing moisture. I think I’m finally getting to the root of the problem with a humidifier. Other than that, finding paying jobs and organizing my schedule so I’m not too burnt out is a major problem of mine. A lot of the time I bite off way more than I can chew.
You've shared some amazing work with us today. Can you tell me a bit about the pieces?
TwinHome_1 - This was my first 'real' poster I ever printed. This was for Shannon and the Clams at a festival Missoula used to hold called Total Fest. I remember being so excited, and then my dreams were shattered when only one poster sold at the show. [3 color screen print 18x24" Edition of 35]
TwinHome_2 - 3 color screen print for Thee Oh Sees 18x24" Edition of 45
TwinHome_3 - 2 color screen print for The Mavericks 18x24" Edition of 100
TwinHome_4 - This was a poster that got rejected by two different bands. Most of these designs end up becoming art prints sooner or later. [4 color screen print 18x24" Edition of 18]
TwinHome_5 - This was a fun poster which I had pretty much full artistic free rein on. This was a promotion being thrown by Elysian Brewing with some bands and unlimited Space Dust. I live-printed a transparent glow in the dark layer on all of the posters the night of the event. [4 color screen print Glows in the dark 18x24" Edition of 200]
TwinHome_6 - On Deck is at auction to help build skateparks across the state of Montana. I was lucky enough to have been asked to design and print this year's poster. I highly recommend everyone look up On Deck, there are some amazing artists involved. [5 color screen print 18x24" Edition of 50]
Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Some words of advice:
- Work in the field you want to pursue, even if it's only for a year or so. The amount of knowledge I learned from working in a print shop is far greater than any knowledge I learned in my 4 years of art school or the countless hours of trial and error in high school. Or work with an apprentice, learn to print their blocks/plates, learn their techniques, and always assume there is something that you don't know.
- Fake it.
Where can people find you and your work online?
A big thank you again to Max for interviewing with us! It's amazing to see such bold and illustratively unique work being created. Good luck on your full-time venture!
Thank you, our readers, for taking time out of your day and sharing in Max's art! Please leave a comment with your thoughts and get a discussion going! This is a wonderful opportunity to bring some minds together!
If you're interested in being a featured artist, contact me at JustPrintmaking@gmail.com
I feature a new artist every month through an interview process similar to this.