Tag Archives: phishnet

Update: An interview with AJ Masthay, releasing ‘Mockingbird’, a Limited Edition poster

Update 3/13: Final details from Phish.net, including images of limited edition variances. The prints will go on sale this Friday, March 15 at 12 noon EDT (9am PDT) on AJ’s website. This limited edition of 150 prints on navy blue paper is a six-color linoleum block print, and costs $40. There is a limit of one print per customer.

Update 3/11:  Check out this beauty of print!


Update 3/9: Read on Phish.net an update on further sales of AJ’s poster.

AJ Masthay was recently commissioned to make a limited edition print (150) to celebrate the quickly approaching release of The Phish Companion, 3rd Edition. This limited edition art print celebrates the book’s forthcoming release. The print will be on navy blue paper with six-colors from this linoleum block print. You can expect to see the Famous Mockingbird clutching the just-liberated book of knowledge, while evil King Wilson’s troops rally on the horizon. Some process pictures from AJ are seen below, the final image due Monday.

This is the original drawing and gives a fair approximation of how the final image will appear.
This is the original drawing and gives a fair approximation of how the final image will appear.

You can pick this poster up in the Phish.net store for $40 starting Friday 3/8 at 3pm EST/Noon PST.

AJ talked with Pete Mason today about the print and a little insight into his recent artistic endeavors.

Pete Mason: How did this poster for Mockingbird come about? What led to making the print?

AJ Masthay: The good people at The Mockingbird Foundation contacted me quite some time ago about the book cover for the next (Phish) Companion. I gave a couple quick concept sketches to them to present to the publisher, who went in a different direction. When the cover didn’t pan out, they asked if I’d do a special print to help commemorate the new book. Honestly, I couldn’t have been happier.


Pete: Have you wanted to do a poster tying together elements of Gamehendge? Was it a natural choice to make a print with a Mockingbird, given that The Mockingbird Foundation is connected with Phish net?

AJ: I can’t recall if the Mockingbird was requested or was just a “given” but we knew it was going to be a Gamehendge theme from the get go. The imagery of Gamehendge is ripe for artistic interpretation. I’ve pretty much avoided it in the past, but this project opened the floodgates and gave a green light to dive into all that Gamehendge goodness. Who knows, perhaps a series in the future? (ed. note – YES!)

Pete: With six colors, how labor intensive was the print, compared to other prints?

AJ: As of writing this I’m only 3 colors into it so I’ll tell ya when it’s done lol. Seriously though, I really feel like I pushed myself on this one, both conceptually and artistically. I’ve really hit a groove blending both traditional carving tools and super fine detail with the Dremel. It allows me to basically draw on the linoleum, creating a draftsman-like quality that you just can’t get with gouges alone.


Pete: You’ve been doing a great deal of official prints lately: Furthur, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain, among others. How has the transition been, from making fan prints to official prints? Its been quite a rapid ascent for you.

AJ: I’m honored whenever a band asks me to create a piece for them, the fact that these are the same bands that I love is icing on the cake. The transition itself was pretty painless as my process is the same whether its a gig poster, pop culture piece or an art print.

Pete: What artists have had the greatest influence upon your art, both traditional and non-traditional?

AJ: It’s hard not to be influenced by fellow artists in the field like David Welker and Jeff Wood, but I’ve never been shy about my love of both their styles. I started out collecting posters before I was making them so you’ll see Pollocks, Emeks, and tons of other gig posters on my walls, all influencing my work. When it comes down to it though, I’ve come to realize that nature is my biggest influence. Whenever I find myself in that nasty “creative block” mindset where nothing is working, I’ll grab the dogs and head out to the woods. Nine times out of 10 it’ll get the creative juices flowing and things start to jive.


The Mockingbird Foundation announces The Phish Companion 3

The Mockingbird Foundation and Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation, today announced that they have reached an agreement for a new edition of The Phish Companion, the definitive guide to the band and its music. The Third Edition will give fans an updated hardcopy reference guide, and will be accompanied by book-related mobile apps and e-book editions. It will be available in the Spring of 2013, and will cover Phish’s history through the end of 2012, with pre-orders beginning late fall 2012.

The print and electronic versions of The Phish Companion’s Third Edition will continue the mission of the nonprofit, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation, which was incorporated to develop, disseminate, and protect collected data about Phish for the benefit of charity. The Foundation’s proceeds will fund music education for children through a highly competitive, two-tiered application process that has so far provided more than 220 grants in 43 states totaling over $700,000. “There are also special grants addressing music programs impacted by natural disasters and communities impacted by Phish tours,” as explained by Board President Marco Walsh. “Due to low overheard – no salaries, staff, or office – the Mockingbird Foundation is able to disburse more than 98% of its gross receipts to charity.”

As with previous editions, “TPC3” will be written and compiled entirely by volunteers through Phish.net, a community-driven history project begun in 1991 and adopted by the Foundation in 2000. “For more than two decades, Phish.netvolunteers have developed the gold standard of information about the band,” said Executive Director Ellis Godard. “Far beyond mere lists of facts, a record of what the band has performed live involves thousands of creative decisions related to song titles, song transitions, song notes, show notes, presentation, and the annotation of teases, quotes, and jams, among other matters.” The resulting proprietary database already serves more than a dozen websites through an API library, as well as various partners’ mobile apps through licensing agreements.

Previous editions of The Phish Companion (in 2000 and 2004) drew from those same resources but in their entirety, and topped 920 pages and 4.2 pounds. “The Third Edition will feature a completely new design, a more portable format, and a more strategic selection of contents, while incorporating nine years of additional history, as well as related content developed and researched by the Phish.net team over thousands of man-hours since the publication of TPC2,” said Group Publisher John Cerullo.

For more information about the Mockingbird Foundation, please visit mbird.org. For more information about the band, please visit phish.com and phish.net. For more information about Backbeat Books, please visit backbeatbooks.com.

Phish.net shirts to benefit Mockingbird

Phish.net is opening its online store for business today with its first offerings, new 2011 Phish.net T shirts — for the first time since the old 1994 version sold out years ago! Three different styles of T shirts are available for ordering at the Phish.net online store.

(Old School 2011 Phish.net Tshirt, designed by Eric Wyman of the Phish.net site team $20)

The Phish.net storefront and fulfillment is being handled by Port Merch, an online merchandise marketing company for many independent artists and bands, including Bonnie Raitt and the Blind Boys of Alabama. We are thrilled to be partnering with Port Merch to insure that orders to the Phish.net store will be professionally fulfilled and shipped quickly by a convenient online “mail order” storefront, as people have come to expect.

(The Mockingbird Foundation volunteers are equally pleased not to have to be storing merch in their basements and running to the post office as we did in the days of “blanks and postage”, but to have Chip Taylor and the pros incuding our own Bryan Rodgers @Planbee at Port Merch handling that for us!).

In the coming month, Phish.net will be adding more clothing and hard goods items to the Phish.net store, including embroidered logo hats, stickers, pins, beverage “coozies”, patches, license plate frames and other items. Stay tuned to Phish.net for information on when they will be available.

Soon, the online store will be reachable through a link “STORE” in the Phish.net navigation bar and a subdomain alias “store.phish.net” as soon as it can be programmed into the site source code. The store can also be reached directly through the Port Merch site

Any profits from the sale of Phish.net merchandise items will support the costs of maintaining the Phish.net fan site and to the programs supporting music education for children done by Phish.net’s operator, the fan supported charity, The Mockingbird Foundation.