Modati Studios

Modati is a company that started operating early March 2006. The initial spark behind Modati was to take all the skill I knew my friends and I had and turn that into something that we could use to gain new skills, interact with people and make money doing things we cared about. Upset that most of my friends expected to work jobs that didn’t develop them in any way I also wanted an avenue to take the design company (Still Pondering Studios) I started in 12 grade and turn it into a design and print studio.

Starting with that idyllic perspective we grew very rapidly moving from one venue to another 3 times in 3 years. Here’s a short list of things we’ve done:

  1. We created a partnership with 10 bands doing an image trading gig where we’d appear at their shows selling merchandise, while they wore our line on stage.
  2. Working with local artists we put out dozens of designs and attended festivals all over the east coast.
  3. We rented out a storefront on Main St in Ann Arbor with our printing operations in the basement.
  4. Taught summer workshops and classes with the Ann Arbor Art Fair
  5. Through a partnership with the local teen center The Neutral Zone we teach silk screening every Friday during the school year.
  6. We run MATES (Make Awesome Tee Shirts and Enjoy Summer) a summer camp with the Neutral Zone for local kids interested in screen printing.
  7. Ran a Reform an event designed to raise awareness of the possibility of reuse in every day life. First in our studio, and in 2009 in The Gallery Project.

More recently we’ve become interested in developing interactive shirts and objects such as the twittering shirt:

And thermochormatic potholders that tell you when they’re hot:

Modati’s popular live screen printing events are a new means of both revenue and public interaction:

Four years after starting this company it’s still changing and growing. Watching it evolve I realize how important it’s been to my growth and development. Through this company I have been able to affect hundreds of peoples lives. I’ve been able to throw concerts, sponsor events, and be a part of a thriving artistic community. We’re currently directing the company to incorporate more of my sensory and engineering interests and I’m interested to see how far we can push the science of screen printing.

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Decoder Business Card

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A laser cut version of the decoder business card

By using a a QR code as an encoder and decoder we can have a secret message card that can be translated using digital decoders and analog ones as well!

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Having a good business card can help you maintain contacts, promote yourself and your business, and make friends. By creating a personal business card that involves the recipient actively folding, manipulating and translating your card will make them more likely to remember you and share your card.

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Thinking back to the old school decoder rings and my fascination with secret messages I thought I could make an interesting business card that could not only tell a story, but give useful information on how to contact me. I did this first using just a block out grid stencil, and secondly with a QR code acting as the grid. I posted the project on instructables, you can check it out there, view the embedded version, or download the PDF below.

A decoder business card project I just posted to instructables.

Decoder Buisness Card – QR Coded Secret Message

Modati and UV ink at Spring 2010 Collection at the gallery project

2010 spring gallery project runway shot

Spring 2010 Collection description at annarbor.com at The Gallery Project

From the release:

The 27 local, regional and national artists have created their own collection line or individual pieces specifically for the exhibition, and have made work that will be modeled on the catwalk show during the opening reception. Artists explore the myriad influences and contexts of fashion, investigating issues such as identity and values, innovation and retrogression, trends and fads, materialism and consumption, high and low fashion, globalism and regionalism, thrift, reusing, recycling and reclaiming.

We participated in the runway showcasing our new UV fluorescing inks and in Basement6 doing live silkscreening. It was really cool to be able to finally present my own home town with the stuff we’ve been pitching all over the country. If you want to come hang out, we’ll be printing live every Saturday till Jan 11 from 6-9 if you want to get something made, bring by your clothing, we’ll print on it for free!

With Punch.
Yours.

Two Hands Project

Two Hands Project Logo

The Two Hands Project
A documentary tour of as many Hackerspaces we could possibly see in one month. I felt that Hackerspaces were at a tipping point last spring/summer and I wanted to capture the movement in the beginning stages to spread the concept and fan the flames of making. Currently in post production. We could use any help anyone can offer!

Here was our amazing flight plan:
Two Hands Project Flight Plan

The THP is also a hack in and of itself, it definitely brews from the same thrifty resourcefulness with an angle on how to make the most awesome project with limited resources. THP will be produced with two hands, like everything else ever made.

The Alibi Venue Ann Arbor

The Alibi full to the brim
The Alibi full to the brim

The Alibi was a privately owned space for music performances, film screenings, and art gallery showings. We started it as a way to try to gather creative people together in a creative space with the methods for production, performance and sales all located in the same building. The concept was to help sponsor creative people by creating a small local economy centered around making, sharing and selling. The space was allowed free room to grow and evolve and overtime we had people curating events of all sorts including a group which began a community garden in our backyard.

Jeffery Lewis came last April and performed at the Alibi.

Jeffery Lewis and The Alibi Crew at the Fleetwood
Jeffery Lewis and The Alibi Crew at the Fleetwood

Facebook Group
Videos of some shows
Pictures of shows
Map and pictures of location

The Alibi was a fun experiment in sustainable creative economies but after a year in operation my company (http://modati.com) was offered a education oriented relationship with the Neutral Zone teaching teenagers screen printing while promoting entrepreneurship and the main source of income for the Alibi moved. The Alibi is gone, but it’s successors are awesome! Yellow Barn in Ann Arbor

Alibi Alumni:
Actual Birds
Alan Patrick Schuerman
Allan Fullerton
Annie Palmer
Belikos
Charlene Kaye
Cojum Dip
Cut to Scene
Diane Cluck
Fatter Than Albert
The Fire Flies
Fred Thomas
Gary Lutz
Gunday Monday
Hullabaloo
Jae Stevens Live
Jeffrey Lewis
Legendz of the Fall
Looking For Mammoths
Lord of the Yum Yum
Mahoney
Matt Wixson
Mick Bassett and the Marthas
Old Big Bear
Stuck Lucky
The Ruined Frame
Tipton Lea & The Victorian Army
We Are The Union
Wesley West

Glowffiti – Invisible UV Glowing Graffiti Spray Paint

Invisible Glowing Graffiti
Invisible Glowing Graffiti with two colors: Red and Green

This is some invisible UV glowing paint I made recently. It’s a clear paint that glows brightly under UV lights. There are many reasons I can think of to  can be used to add invisible messages without obscuring preexisting signs or creating visual clutter. Also some fun uses could be to create city wide treasure hunts or secrete messages. The ink comes in two versions a plastic based version that you can screen print and a polyurethane version that you can spray. Here’s what the wall looks like during the day:

Invisible Glowing Wall During The Day
Wall with two skull tags imitating wall without tags

At night here’s a picture of it glowing with a UV LED flashlight:

Glowing at night with LED flashlight
You can see it using UV LED's as well!

The applications are endless, what would you do with this type of ink?
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Laser Cutter and Plotter Program

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So while developing my $50 laser cutter I needed a program that would help me turn vector designs into a series of steps that could run the motors. These steps are human readable, here’s an example text file: Flutter File. If you were to take 0 as north, and 1 as north east, 2 as east and so on and walked this document out you would have drawn this charming man:

Pope John Paul II.

The program can be found here and is pretty neat, just upload a EPS file and it will turn it into a text file of steps to take like this:3result

The C program I wrote to run a set of stepper motors using this type of text file can be found here.

For a full description on how I made a laser cutter and how to make one for yourself can be found at my instructable.

There have been a few people who have made the laser cutter, but none as beautifully as Samuel Ward’s:

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