Why is it so damn cool????!!!
What makes this the most popular print shop in El Paso? Is it the local artists, bands that play there, vegan cooking classes, patches, shirts, posters, and live printing? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! All of the above! The place is full original El Paso apparel as well as humorous stuff that that people request! I enjoyed staring at shirts with Charlie Sheen on there as well as cat shirts. If anyone knows, I love myself a funny t-shirt. I had the honor to talk to the masterminds behind this place, JJ and Alan, and they provided great insight about the place.
1. Hey guys. So when did Proper start and what is the purpose behind it?
JJ: "When we started, we both had separate businesses. We opened in September of 2011, since then we have both started off by putting stupid stuff on shirts and remade enough people laugh that we were able to keep putting stupid stuff on shirts. We've been open 5 years. I started Proper with two other people almost as a hobby and soon they had to leave to attend "adult responsibilities." Alan and I decided to combine efforts and we have been doing this together for about 3 years."
2. So, why a print shop? Why shirts and not something else?
Alan: "For me personally, I think it is interesting that you can communicate with someone without ever talking and they can tell a lot about a person by what they are wearing. That's the cool thing about making t-shirts, at least for me."
JJ: "When we started screen printing, we were big fans of Andy Warhol. We started messing around with the printing and soon we were printing for events and realized we had beer money for the weekends. It was by accident that this happened."
3. What is Proper Printshop?! Especially for someone who is not familiar with it.
JJ: "We are a print shop so we do screen printing, but we are also a creative space. We started a project last year called Art in Vivo and we had artists from El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces and we printed their work every Thursday for a whole year for the series. We got grant funding to take this work outside of the region. The first Sunday of every mont we have vegan cooking classes and Eduardo is phenomenal. It is a free class and anyone is welcome. "
Alan: "These events were live. People could bring their family and friends and learn how to do it if they had not done it before. It's a lot of community engagement."
JJ: "We use this place as a venue for bands as well and we do this thing called Shirts for Charity. We do live printing for shirts or posters for non-profits and help them raise money. We've had several non-profits"
Alan: "Yes, we are a print shop, but we want to get the community involved. "
4. So, what is the idea behind having your products at whole foods?
JJ: "We have our own line of work on the side, but our main bread and butter of this place is custom work. We have a silly line of shirts and Whole Foods likes to engage with local vendors and they reached out to us. It's great cause people get to learn more about us will grocery shopping."
5. Is there a favorite design you guys like the best?
Alan: "Most of the time we wear blank shirts. We print for people yet, 95% of the time we don't have anything on our shirts. Don't wanna be braggadocios. As far as design goes the NO MAMES WAY is my favorite It is universal and not only pertaining to El Paso."
JJ: "It's like when bands hate playing their favorite hits because they have played them so much."
On a side note.......
Alan: "We are lucky to have Pilo from Jellyfish Collective. We are lucky to have him as an in-house designer. He is the artistic one. We are still doing Art in Vivo this year and we are actually opening a boutique inside the New Art lofts downtown."
They might be big in Japan.
P.S. They have a gun to shoot shirts from. Very exciting times my friends.
If you have not been to the Proper Print Shop go check them out and their website for more information is properprintshop.com.
"Vinyls are the best format to store any music. You will not get anything as true and pure to how the instruments sound than on vinyl." -Neto.
If you have ever at Montecillo then you you know what I mean by Mother of Pearl! If not, you at least know of it because you love vinyl. When you walk into Mother of Pearl for the first time, you think "oh it's small" or if you are famliar with vinyl you think "selective". I think it is very classy and the decoration goes very well with the place, The place is great, it is a giant box full of great music. Not only that, but Mother of Pearl happens to be a hot spot for people going in just to take pictures. So if you plan on taking a picture, at least buy a vinyl. You will be investing in "treasure" to be. I got to interview one of the mangers, Ernesto "Neto" Cabral, of Mother of Pearl:
1. When did Mother of Pearl open and under what purpose?
Neto: "This place opened in the summer of 2014. It opened with the purpose of trying to bring upon vinyl marketing to El Paso. We wanted to bring it in a fresh and new way unlike the traditional and conventional way of selling vinyl. We focus on bringing psychedelic, independent, new genres and new projects of music and that way people have more access to different types of music."
2.When did you start working with Mother of Pearl or have you known about this place and concept since day one?
Neto:" I've been with Mother of Pearl for a year and because I am a resident of El Paso and I'm also a dj and that led me to work with them. (Owners Austin Allen and David Cepeda). I am very familiar with cd's, vinyl and music."
3. I've noticed that you have a small selection of vinyls, what is this due to? Very selective.
Neto:" This has to do a lot with our music influences and how we carry ourselves. We want El Paso to get familiar with the music and us."
4. What makes Mother of Pearl different to other places? Especially for this that have not been here before.
Neto: "We are not only selective in the music and quality, but we are also making it easier for the public to cut down on time looking for vinyls as well. We shape a lot of this to out taste as well. It is important to keep vinyl alive. Vinyl is a culture, it marks your life. It has been the first form for having music since the beginning."
5. What inspired this "box" design for the place?
Neto:" Montecillo had this concept in mind from the beginning and this store was one they had in mind knowing that there was going to be a smaller selection. The purpose from the beginning was for people to enjoy vinyl."
6. What advice do you have for those that are planning to or are beginning to buy vinyl?
Neto: "Keep buying vinyl! Try to get the most you can, they are treasure. The better they are taken care of, the more they are worth and you are adding history to them. I have some vinyls of bands that aren't together anymore, but I have the vinyl! Vinyl is not just a fashion statement of the moment. "
I want to thank Mother of Pearl for the interview, I've been a customer for a while and all I can say is that I love everything about it! I love the selection, decoration and ambient! I recommend for anyone wishing to buy a vinyl and happens to be at Montebello to go. "Just do it!" -Pao.
It all began in 2006...
An extremely nice man with a Colombian accent and natural talent is what comes to mind when I think of Juan Botero. Did I mention a badass photographer? He has done photography for celebrities and businesses like JBalvin, Fonseca, Mana, Nickelodeon, fashion shoots and many portraits. The following interview took place in Spanish and via FaceTime due to the fact that he does not live in Texas. The following questions were:
1. When did you start photography?
JB: "It all started in 2006 when I was laid off of work and I realized I had to do something, I had no idea what I was going to do. I did not study photography."
2. What inspired this? How did you begin?
JB: "I had always liked photography. My dad was a photography aficionado. When I lived in Colombia, my dad had a gray Canon camera and I would borrow his camera. In 2007 the U.S. economy was really bad and when I lost my job I began to mobilize. When I transitioned into photography I started calling other photographer in order to get jobs and start "partnering up" for certain shoots. This time was the hardest period in my life as well as the happiest. During that period, I had small jobs."
3. Nowadays, What inspires you?
JB: " Fashion looks and Youtube videos inspire me."
4. What are your favorite type of photoshoots?
JB: "My favorite type of shoots are lifestyle and portrait. Even when I take pictures at a concert, I treat it like a portrait."
5. When did you start with JBalvin? Did he hear about you first?
JB: " Fabio Acosta who has worked with Mana and Fonseca worked on the radio. This was during the time I was working at Nickelodeon and he reached out to me because he liked my work and reached out to me. He is JBalvin's manager."
6. What was this experience like?
JB: " JBlavin was super nice to work with. I worked with hime for a year. Taking pictures at a concert is so different because each concert is unique. I was scared to step on stage at first."
7. How do you prepare for a shoot?
JB: " I talk to the models. I watch videos. I use my wife and daughter to help practice for photoshoots. I also recently just went back to Nickelodeon."
8. What is you favorite place to be?
JB: " My favorite place to be is in my car because I am thinking and dreaming about what I am going to do next."
The interview ended by casually taking about other things. I am very thankful. You can reach Juan Botero through his Instagram Juanboterophotography because his website is under construction.
Below are a few of his many pictures! Enjoy!
El Paso is full of talent and emerging photographers. In this case it happens to be Antonio Villaseñor. He is a quiet guy who happens to be full of talent, whether it is writing or taking pictures. I asked him to do this interview and I also asked him to take pictures that day to show case his talent! Before the photoshoot, I asked him a few questions.
I began by asking Antonio when he had began to get interested in photography and he answered, "I have always been interested. I took a photography class and used it as an excuse to get a camera. Taking pictures requires skills." He also added that photography would add to his journalism skills because they go hand in hand.
Then, I asked him who was his favorite photographer, which he was quick to say "Robert Maplethorpe!I proceeded to ask him what his favorite location was and he said that it was Dripping Springs in New Mexico and he loves murals as well. Antonio was also keen to mention that the best pictures he has taken happen to be spontaneous. He prides himself in a picture he has taken of the Houston rain and says he has even sold a copy of it. He also tries to edit pictures the least amount possible and hopes people will take his work well. The photos are his art and not a way to make money.
Antonio is a truly humble photographer and I love the pictures he took of me. I hope people can contact him and you can find his work on his Instagram and Facebook, which are under AntoniovPhotography!!
"This place has always been an escape for me and a sort of haven for me to enjoy music. " -Pao
If you are driving down Mesa and towards the downtown area then Lowbrow might be easy to miss, but if you see a Domino's then rest assured it is right below it. The entrance is lit by dangling lights and a bright red arrow that reads Lowbrow Palace. Once you get past the bouncer in the entrance you will notice a pink Stegosaurus that says "Never Forget" on its side. The main door is covered in stickers and once you are in, the rest of this place has the same "underground scene" look to it. I love it. The place is covered in posters from the concerts that have hosted at Lowbrow and there is graffiti all over the restrooms. They are truly amusing.
Last Saturday I went to the Lowbrow Palace like another day that I would when a band I like is playing. However, this particular visit was a little bit different. I actually got to talk to the employees and ask them about this magical place. As mentioned, Lowbrow is an awesome concert venue for people of all ages which makes it the even more enjoyable especially if you are not 21 yet and you are looking for something to do. I know that was very much the case for me. Not only is it something different, but the bands that play at Lowbrow are very talented. I ended up liking a lot of bands that I had not even heard before.
The interview was conducted with the employees working there that night, mainly referring to Caroline who is the manager there. When asked about the venue itself, Caroline said that Lowbrow has been open since 2011 and they changed owners in 2015 (Splendid Sun Productions). She mentioned that the graffiti of Lowbrow was very as well as the poster walls that consist of old concert posters from there. Everything goes well together.
Something that was made clear by all the employees is that they are one big family. One employee even said "it doesn't feel like work!" and that there was happiness with the music. I then asked them what have been some of their favorite shows and the ones mentioned were: third round of battle of the bands, Andrew Jackson, CRX, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Soon after stating their favorite shows they said to "Stay Tuned" for there will be many great shows coming that they have yet to announce. (That is very exciting). One employee provided feedback saying that El Paso is the new Austin and many bands are starting to come to El Paso and are more willing to do shows here. We all agreed that El Paso has a bright future in regards to the music scene. Everyone is starting to express themselves more openly, which has helped the El Paso music scene. That being said, I am excited for what the future will bring to Lowbrow and El Paso a.k.a El Chuco.