Burning Bones Press Ups the Cool Factor in the Heights

Detail from an enormous floor-to-ceiling vertical piece by Ryan O'Malley (Drive By Press).
Detail from an enormous floor-to-ceiling vertical piece by Ryan O'Malley (Drive By Press).

It's hard not to be thrilled by the opening of Burning Bones Press. After all, co-owner Carlos Hernandez is one of those guys you root for to succeed -- humble despite his obvious talent, full of positive energy, and an all around genuinely nice person. He first gained attention for his annual Day of The Dead Rock Stars show at Cactus Music, and more recently for his signature band of concert posters for major touring acts like Arcade Fire, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and BB King.

To say that his business partner, Pat Masterson, is a pretty big deal in the printing world is something of an understatement. In addition to previously holding the esteemed title of Master Printer at Mad Cap Press in Houston and Flatbed Press in Austin, Masterson also teaches printmaking at the University of Houston and the MFAH's Glassell School of Art. His work can be found in collections at the Whitney Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Judging by the turnout at the Burning Bones Press Grand Opening on Saturday night, we aren't the only ones excited about the latest addition to the Heights. We slowly inched our way through the ever-expanding throng of friends, media, and art enthusiasts checking out the diverse and impressive collection of prints flanking the walls of the studio. But the main attraction of the evening was Tyler Krasowski and Ryan O' Malley, otherwise known as the Austin chapter of the famous Drive By Press.

Tyler Krasowski and Ryan O'Malley of Drive By Press hard at work on Saturday night.
Tyler Krasowski and Ryan O'Malley of Drive By Press hard at work on Saturday night.

Amid a crowd of entranced onlookers, the two tirelessly churned out a steady stream of t-shirts printed with hand-cut woodblocks of their own original artwork. When we asked how many gigs they work a year Krasowski gave us an exasperated look and answered, "Man...a lot"; O'Malley said the figure was "uncountable." Before arriving at Burning Bones at 6 p.m., the two-man team was cranking out wearable art from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Art Supply on Main for "Rockin' Rollin' Prints". The words that came to mind were rock star. O'Malley laughed at this but agreed that the travel schedule does fit the bill at times, saying, "When we're on an academic tour (which generally includes appearances at more than 40 college campuses) we make it home for Christmas. That's it."

Drive By Press was the perfect complement to the opening and key to creating the grass-roots atmosphere the owners are hoping to sustain. Hernandez described the elitist attitude so often found in professional printmaking, adding, "We wanted to create a full-service printmaking studio that was accessible to everyone." In keeping with this vision, Burning Bones will offer classes in screenprinting to the general public. More experienced artists can take advantage of their experience and equipment by booking studio time at open shop sessions to be held on a limited basis. For everyone else -- artists, publishers, dealers, and institutions -- Burning Bones will provide limited editions of original etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, screenprints and monoprints.


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