‘Cold Brewed’ gets a show


I have a new show opening this week. From NO (solo) shows in the past 10 years to TWO shows in one year… it’s a bit of a jump. I’m freshly familiar with how much work goes into planning one of these things. 🙂

I’m super excited about this one though, as it’s dedicated to my absolute favorite project to date… Cold Brewed. The show opens this coming thursday evening, with a  reception from 6 to 7:30, at Post Memorial Art Reference Library (it’s in the back of the Joplin Library, JoMo peeps). FREE ‘cold brew’ coffee will provided from the one and only Bearded Lady Roasters… Bearded Lady’s own master roaster, Adam Francis, is also an actor from the project.




If you’ve followed me for a bit, you’ll remember this project from a couple years back. But let me fill you in. As a matter of fact, I’m going to pull this straight from the artist statement for the show:


’Cold Brewed’ was a project that basically started as a dare. A dare to ourselves. A ‘you know what would be really fun?’ that actually took form.


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0008


The idea was to collaborate. My photos, with words by my good friend Lance Schubert (writer). It would be a photo series that served as a tribute to the old ‘film noir’ style movies, interspersed with text from the story that Lance had penned.

We took the script and mapped out how it would work. And we began producing and co-directing what became an infinitely larger endeavor than expected.


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0001


The final product is actually an i-book told in a format that we sort of made up… the photonovel. It goes back and forth between words and pictures, each doing their equal part to tell the story.


poor man's lattes (text)37


You can find the whole thing for a whopping 4 bucks by search out  ‘cold brewed’ in the iTunes store.


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0009



Jett Cropper is a 1940s detective caught in a world in which it was not alcohol that the prohibition rendered illegal… it was COFFEE. Staying true to both Joplin and coffee, we shot the entire series locally and used a cast entirely comprised of true-life-baristas. All slang from the period was swapped for coffee terminology, which makes for a tongue-in-cheek tale that sways from serious action to genre-honoring campiness.


I have the fondest possible memories of this project. Moments like it being 11pm, and Lance & I are directing a scene via walkie talkie, whilst a generator runs 7 lights in a warehouse-turned-set, complete with 6 actors, a coil of rope, and a variety of weaponry…


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0004


I think that moment was one of the first in which I felt TRULY in my element. (& Lance certainly shared the excitement).


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0005


We’re still proud of that project, even if it didn’t turn much of a profit. A print from it (also in this show) was a finalist in the national ‘photospiva’ competition. the i-book got front page under Noisetrade’s ‘books’ section.


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0002


we ran a ridiculous grassroots marketing campaign, complete with posters on telephone poles and signs in bathroom stalls…


cold brewed film noir photonovel_0003


And now, as a sort of final farewell, here’s a bonafide, non-virtual presentation of some of the favorite sections of our little story.

Hope you can make it. 🙂





I’ve always wanted to say this…. 9art & the Joplin Convention & Visitors’ Bureau are putting out a casting call. A casting call, for those unsure, is simply a call for actors.

Remember that little project called Cold Brewed, released by Lance Schaubert & I last year? I can’t tell you a whole lot about the new project, but it will require actors as our last project did and will be an extended marketing endeavor like no other.
9 2
This project is a big one, and WE NEED ACTORS. Do you need to have experience? No. You just need to be able to act in front of a camera… the fun part being, while this experience will feel much like a full film production, you won’t have to make a sound during production (since we’re talking stills rather than video).

Interested in trying out? Here’s the full press release, put out by the CVB today. Tell your friends. Tell your theater department. If you think your relatives can act… well, tell everybody. 🙂 Excited to see what you’ve got!

for questions regarding the project, please contact mark at markn@9artphoto.com

December 1, 2014
SUBJECT: Marketing Campaign Casting Call
CONTACT: Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, 417.625.4789

The Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau will be conducting a casting call for actors/models for specific roles for a 2015 marketing campaign. The campaign, which will link parts of Joplin’s history with current-day points of tourism interest, will require photographic support detailing both specific people and locations.

Details of the campaign have been outlined but not publically released. According to Patrick Tuttle, Executive Director of the CVB, “With any campaign once we have a basic theme and idea, photography and graphic designs are developed. This will be an extended story where all facets of the campaign will link in a common theme.”

Supporting the project will be 9Art and LTMS.

The casting call will be held on December 8th from 1:30-6:30 pm & December 9th from 12:00 -5:00 pm, in the Joplin City Hall Basement Conference Room. For the complete casting call (including specific roles that will need filled) click here: CASTING CALL
Selected cast members must be available for photographic shooting between the 4th and 17th January 2015.

The latest scoop

AAHHHHHH! There is so much going on I can hardly contain myself. I am so, so excited- and, yes, a little overwhelmed- but after spending much of the summer worrying about not being busy ENOUGH, this is what I get, right? 😉

So I have two crazy images to share today- yes, just two, from two different projects- and they have only one thing in common. I’m not going to tell you what it is until the end, though.

We start with a teaser image for an upcoming project that… well… I can’t really talk about much yet. (Those are kinda my favorite sort of projects).

This is one of my first experiments with night photography…. painted this scene entirely with LED lights (and with the aid of an i-phone stuck down inside ‘Mother Nature’s crack’). It was 1AM, we were cranking some ‘Daft punk’ in the middle of nature via portable speakers, we were exhausted, and it was a blast.


Now here’s what I can tell you about the project:

-shooting begins early 2015
-I get to collaborate once again with the one and only Lance Schaubert
-it will be another ‘photo novel’ format, like what we did with ‘Cold Brewed’
-this project has a real budget and an art director/producer, with an online serial release and an end goal of printed copies.

ohhhh the suspense!

Now for project 2…. an image made to visually accompany the brand new single form local ‘powerpop’ band, Of Course Not. I plan to dedicate a post to this shoot later, because there’s plenty more fun shots of the band, but this specific concept shot is one of my favorite images from this year.

Want to know how we did it? Well you’ll have to stay tuned for the full post to find out.

Ohhhhh the suspense (x2)….

Now, how are these shots tied together? Family.

Oh, not mine… as in, family to each-other. Caleb (shot #1) and Jordan (shot #2) are siblings, artists, and both friends of mine, and I got to use each of them as models. They can model like no-one’s business. Let’s give it up for those Murdocks!

Til next time….


new ad campaign

Thanks to bluestream– a local company specializing in digital advertising in southwest missouri- 9art has recently has had the opportunity to put up some awesome local advertising. These ads are on flatscreen TV’s all around the area… 30+ screens in Joplin & Springfield, with locations including Oasis Salon & Day Spa, Harley Davidson Hideout, Hacketts’ Hot Wings, & Tropical Tan. 

But my main thanks goes to two of the most talented guys I know- who also happen to be 2 of my best friends in the world- Lance Schaubert & Matt Spiel.

Matt, (coincidentally) is actually pictured in the first ad with his crying wife and child. He’s responsible for the design & layout of the ads, as well as having been the original designer of the 9art logo. 9art LOOKS cool because of Matt.

Lance, my partner in crime on Cold Brewed, gave me the words I was missing for these… he came up with some perfect tag lines to fit the general spirit of 9art. 9art SOUNDS cool because of Lance.

Here’s the campaign (in its’ natural environment…)



harleydavidson, oasis, hacketts


the ads themselves:  





The pictures chosen, words used, & design of these ads perfectly encompass what 9art is all about.  Be on the lookout for them around town!

COLD BREWED :: episode 1 :: TODAY.


(poster design credit goes to Oscar Gonzalez).

Questions I’ve had asked lately:

‘What IS Cold Brewed?’ 

              It’s a story. inspired by film. Told in words and pictures. (no video, to those that                 

              have wondered). It is my pet project with my very good friend, Lance Schaubert.

‘how will you be releasing it?’

              in a series of weekly online ‘episodes’ over the next 3 months. 

‘when do we get to see it?’

              Starting right NOW.

I’d love to present to you, the first episode of Cold Brewed. Please spread the word, tell your friends, hit ‘like’, copy the link, tweet it, facebook it, send a telegram or two…because we are EXCITED about this story we’ve poured our heart into making and want to see it spread across the web.


experimenting in the studio with lance

  I was setting up for a shoot the other day and had 45 minutes to spare. I knew my good friend lance schaubert was across the street at the coffeeshop and I sent him a quick text to see if he wanted to ‘model’ for me while I goofed around with some different lighting setups. 

5 seconds later I received his ‘on my way’ text. Here’s a random sampling from the 98 final shots we got. As an explanation/warning: Lance has a past in acting. I guess that’ll be pretty obvious.

Lance’s versatility PLUS me seeing how many different ways I could light him. Ridiculous, chaotic fun… enjoy!


















whew! Let’s end on something serious… I really love this one.


Cold Brewed

    Alright. So if you follow me on facebook or twitter, you may know that I’ve been hinting around at a big project coming up. It’s time for the official announcement!

     I haven’t done a ‘personal’ (non commissioned) project in at least 3 years. But in that time, I’ve been dreaming of having time to do a series just for the fun of it. That time has come…whether I have time or not, I’m doing it.

     The idea stemmed from a series of photos I did 6 years ago for a ridiculous site called whiskerino (an online beard growing competition. don’t ask). I wanted to pay tribute to the old film noir movies, complete with seedy characters, lots of shadowy lighting, and a good mystery.

   The first time I did it- well, for starters, I cast myself as the main character and that was a terrible idea…   (yes, this is me…)


Now I have the opportunity to do it again, with a better idea of what I’m doing, and I’m beyond excited.

  • First and foremost, I’m excited because the series is a collaboration with the one and only Lance Schaubert, my good friend and the best author I know.I gave Lance my idea… a coffee themed film noir…and he ran with it, crafting a story better than I could have hoped for. You will gasp…you will laugh…it’s great.
  • The series will be created as a text and picture combo, released in weekly installments on this website. If all goes well, it will be released as an exclusive iPad app. We’re still smack dab in the shooting phase, so stay tuned for more info
  • To keep abreast of the most recent developments & to catch some fun outtakes as we go, I recommend you become a fan of the ‘Cold Brewed’ facebook page

Can’t wait to show you!


Life after Aesthetics

I rarely plug anything on here other than, well, myself. So I’m not sure if plugging someone else is better than worse or that, but I certainly consider this worth mentioning.

A personal moment here. Things I am greatly passionate about include:



-art (that is, a more specific, intentional category of beauty). 

These are things that drive me, drive my work, drive my interests. One of my best friends in the world shares these passions, but his area of specialty leads him to delve into them through a different art form than mine… the art of words. This friend is Lance Schaubert, an amazing up-and-coming author who has just released his first kindle book on amazon, ‘Life after Aesthetics’

The short book deals with the subjects above, and how they relate. It’s a wonderful read, filled with that passion that Lance is so full of (that often inspires me), and infused with a great sense of humor as well. It will make you think and make you laugh, whether you’re a Christian or not, and I highly encourage you read it.

One more reason to download it… it’s free if you get it today. If you’re coming across this post later, no worries…. it’s only $3.99 and still well worth it.

(yes, I did take the cover photo. I did not expect it to be used as the cover of ANYTHING when I took it, but I’m not sorry that’s how it ended up….) 


As a side note, Lance and I will be collaborating soon on a personal project that I am beyond excited about. Can’t tell you any more than that at the moment… but stay tuned! 


The War of Art: part 2 [getting better]

Sometimes people tell me things like ‘your work is awesome! I could never do anything that good!’
Well that sounds real egotistical of me to mention. I didn’t mean it to be. I know there are also people saying ‘well that guy sucks and has a heck of a lot to learn’. It’s just that you don’t always HEAR from the people who have constructive criticism to give.
Well let me tell you something. I used to be TERRIBLE. That means I selective colored things. and I used on camera flash. and I tilted most of my shots on purpose. And, on horribly cheesy flyers for my business (then called ‘smart image’) I advertised my incredibly customizable photoshopping options. OH YEAH.  
[here’s a selective color shot. Just for proof.]
 Yesterday I sat across from my writer friend, Lance, at the coffeeshop. We were both editing- words for him, images for me. He put his laptop away and sat a large stack of manuscripts in front of him. Some thick, some thin- things he’d written in the last 3 years.
It was a little startling what happened next. Correct-a-pen in hand and 60 seconds into reading the first stapled stack of pages, Lance took those pages, ripped them in half, and calmly walked them over to the trash can. 

I stared at him for a second. With sort of an unintentionally hurt expression. It wasn’t my story- but I still felt sorry for it.

My expression also asked him whyyyyy he would do such a cold, calculating, and merciless thing to a work that he had obviously poured a lot of time, thought, and artistic self into at some point in time!
‘It was crap.’ he said. And not in a bitter sort of way. Not to be down on himself. Not to be dramatic. Just that he could read it now and recognize- after having learned a heck of a lot more in the last year or two- that it just wasn’t very good. Not compared with what he was capable of NOW.
Well that made me think about MY work.
I used to think that if I looked back at my work from years, months, or even days ago and could honestly say to myself
that this was depressing. Now, however, when I go back and look through my own portfolio from 5+ years ago…
I can tell you it’s actually pretty bad. Not that it was all bad, but I can identify the flaws, the many many flaws, and I can tell you what I’d do differently if I were to re-take that image now. And this is a GOOD thing. It means I’m better. Just like Lance is better. Just like my graphic designer friend Matt is better at making websites now than he used to be and my wife who couldn’t crochet at all 5 years ago can now make an optimus prime washcloth in no time flat. (yes it IS awesome).

Does this mean I’M great now? Of course not. Compared to one photog getting started, maybe I’m pretty good, but compared to another, I may be awful. But my real hope is that in another year I’ll say what I’m making now isn’t so good; in another 5 years I can say it was actually real sub-par; and in another 10, that it was terrible.

So what’s my point? Not to say I’m working toward being the all time best, most famoustest photographer you’ve ever seen. Just to say that I’ll keep working to get better, because I think everyone with a calling- especially a creative one- owes that effort to themselves, to the world, and most of all, to their creator.
Even more important than that, fellow creatives, I’m saying you need to be FOCUSED.
This means not being discouraged if you’re starting out and you think you’re really kind of sucky. Maybe you are right now. But do you think you’re being called to do this? Do you think you have the eye for [photography/writing/graphic design/music/flower arrangement]? then KEEP AT IT.
This also means not letting pride get the better of you. Did some friends tell you you’re awesome? That’s a great encouragement. But don’t let it tell you ‘so you don’t have a need to get any better!’ The only way to be really good at what you do is to keep doing it, no matter what, as often as you can, and to always be learning how to master your technique a little more. 
I’ll leave you with a quote from ‘the War of Art’, the book I’m drawing on for this little pep-talk series: 

‘This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabes don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us… when we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.’  

-Steven Pressfield

Real artists ship.