Alaska Robotics

Labor Day

Sunday, September 13th 2009 by Pat

Last year I celebrated Labor Day by recognizing and supporting artists whose work I enjoy. It’s a way to elevate creative expression and hopefully, if other people create similar lists, I can learn about new bits of wonderful I have yet to discover.

The idea comes from Arlo Midget, he called it the True Fan Boost, an extension of Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans concept. In talking to Arlo, one of the main things I picked up is that it’s not just important for artists to reach out to fans but for fans to consciously support artists. If I were trying to write a pop tech book I’d call this Labor Day list an annual micro patronage.

There aren’t really any rules, last Labor Day I bought something from each artist on my list and wrote a bit about why I chose to support them, I tried to stick to local, independent, or emerging creators who might get more out of a couple bucks and some recognition. If you want to make a similar list, feel free to follow your own parameters and please post a link in the comments so I can see what you came up with.

The Gregory Brothers

The Gregory Brothers are the musicians/geniuses behind Auto-Tune the News but that project shouldn’t define them. The three brothers, Evan, Andrew, and Michael along with Sarah Fullen have a whole array of collaborative projects and the deeper I dig, the more amazing things I find.

After obsessing over Auto-Tune the News I discovered some of the group’s more serious music. I picked up “Meet the Gregory Brothers,” which has a lot of slow soul and funk songs. Hopefully there will be plenty of Sarah Fullen on this collection, I love her surprising voice and the personality she puts into her vocals.

I’m also excited about Andrew Gregory’s “The Color Red,” and “The Lost Year” which seem to have a good mix of adventure and heartbreak. Clever, simple songs, short stories for a Sunday afternoon. I think this will be good drawing music.

Randall Munroe

XKCD,  a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.Randall Munroe makes XKCD, a smart and romantic stick figure webcomic. He announced his first book, xkcd: volume 0, which should be out soon and I’ll pick up a copy when it appears. For now I’ll have to be content with an XKCD Button Pack.

Dani Byers

The Play Thing
Dani is an amazing local artist who outgrew Juneau and floated away on an airplane. She used to contribute to our site with her Geek Fetish comic but now she makes decorative cookies and plays the squeeze box.

Dani is one of the smartest and most talented artists I know and her vocals sound like cedar, smoke, and whiskey. I wish more of her work could be found in the world, I may have to commission something.

Sean Tracy

Sean Tracy, Trouble
Sean Tracy is a local musician who plays the best drinking music I’ve ever heard. He’s clever in the same way as John Prine and his songs are filled with the kind of truth and humor that can only be found sitting on a bar stool.

Another great local artist, Mitch Watley, did the cover art for the album. He draws Night Shelter and has taught me a lot about working digitally.


Flight Volume SixThe flight anthologies are what drew me back into comics after outgrowing clumsy superhero stories. The flight anthologies collect comics with a focus on strong storytelling accented by beautiful illustrations rather than relying on chromium covers and holograms over substance.

There are several members of the Flight crew I should mention, they’re all very talented and deserve individual recognition but I’ll just take a second to note a few here.

Chris Applehans

Chris is also a Flight artist, I met him briefly in San Diego last year. Maybe it was the blur of the convention but he seemed sort of disconnected – in a good way – as if he might experience reality at a slightly differently angle than most people.

It was comforting, like meeting someone deeply spiritual or severely jet lagged.

I wish I could pick out a print from each of the flight artists but funds are limited and I’ve been meaning to get this one for a while.

Best Chair

I ordered through the Nucleus Gallery and if you want to pick up something of your own before October 31, 2009 you can use this coupon code for 10% off: Y24TASD5


Well, that’s my list for this year. It’s by no means comprehensive, just a shout out to some of the many artists who influence my own work and make the world a better place to live. Thanks!

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