Opposable Thumbs

We tackle a new creative challenge every two weeks and talk about our accomplishments, failures and lessons learned.

About the show

We (Taylor Hokanson and Rob Ray) assign ourselves (and a guest) a new creative challenge every two weeks. We then talk about our discoveries, problems, solutions, failures and successes and.... try to steer clear of catastrophic shop accidents.

Opposable Thumbs on social media

Episodes

  • Dismantlefesto!: Undoing Things with Purpose

    January 30th, 2018  |  1 hr 12 mins
    copperplate, etching, hammers, illustrator, screwdrivers, self-healing mat, terry gross, tools, trump, vector, wacom, woodblock, zines

    No guest this week, just Taylor and Rob holding down the fort. Very handy in case a strong wind comes along with its mind set on blowing the fort away. We talk about the art of redundancy. Rob believes no baseball cap should have that little rope in between the cap part and the brim. Rob is also wowed by Taylor's awesome Adobe Illustrator skillz!

    Taylor breaks down the cool differences between copperplate etching and woodblock printing techniques and he shares his 4 Horseman of the Trumpist Apocalypse shudder . Terry Gross is pretty cool. Rob digs though his tools to find the ones critical to the taking apart of things.

    Thanks to Kelly Marie Martin for the challenge!

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Click Training

    January 15th, 2018  |  1 hr 2 mins
    bass, beeminder, bratmobile, bullets, capacitors, click training, cults, dia beacon, dogs, fandor, flyover country, freesound.org, gender fluidity, github, gun blue, i'm in the band, indie comics, jack parsons, journaling, krazy kat, machining, manifestos, mapbox, massmoca, metronomes, my favorite thing is monsters, nasa, occult, omnifocus, parenting, pasadena, productivity, racist christians, ritualistic objects, rocketry, sex stains, shivers, sound effects, sprague, spy planes, thingspeak, todo lists, walnut

    Kelly Marie Martin is our guest this week! Greetings Kelly! Los Angeles in tha house!

    "Click training" is our challenge this episode! We talk about occult rocketry, racist christian cults, and Krazy Kat's gender fluidity. We also talk indie comics we have loved and bullets frozen in time. Kelly also shares her love for "My Favorite Thing is Monsters," the rewards of painting and the pleasures and struggles of being a musician.

    Taylor creates a really cool chunky talisman for staying thoughtful about his eating habits. Kelly creates a metronomic, spacey, spooky and fun song you can hear on the podcast! Rob finally mails a gift he's been meaning to send for 9 years (That's just ridiculous.) and asks the bees to keep him on track.

    Rob apologizes for his audio quality on this episode. Out technology demons! OUT! A shout out to our previous guests Ranjit Bhatnagar, Nick Bontrager, Sara Schnadt and Federico Tobon who are mentioned in this episode!

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Happy New Year! (no challenge)

    January 2nd, 2018  |  46 mins 45 secs
    carpentry, carving, collaborating, creativity, learning, materials, resolutions, sewage, staying motivated, success, teaching, woodworking

    We have no guest and no challenge this episode! We just wanted to say Happy New Year!

    We discuss the visibility of success and the invisibility of the work it takes to succeed. It also is so hard to measure the work it takes to do something when we only see the end result.

    Rob is trying to find ways to make other peoples work more motivating. He's also trying to be mindful of creativity when buying deodorant.

    Taylor is working to stay productive day-to-day and also strategizing to keep his work collaborative and grow those opportunities. He's also gaining first hand experience with Chicago's sewage infrastructures.

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Interpret the Cosmology of Your Book Collection

    December 22nd, 2017  |  1 hr 7 mins
    art, balloons, books, cosmology, detroit, illustration, inception, photogrammetry, photography, plywood, podcast, projectors, routing, synesthesia, the body, the self, video

    Chris Reilly is our guest this week! Detroit in tha house!!!! DEEEE---TROIT!

    We talk about the body, synesthesia, photogrammetry the difficulty of trying to re-invent our creative practice while also trying to reinvent ourselves. The hope is that both issues will sort of just fix the other. SPOILER ALERT: It doesn't really work, but it kind of works, or at least helps. And gentrification comes up. Gentrification always comes up... Welcome to late capitalism!

    Speaking of gentrification, Rob uses an LCD projector as an old school opaque projector and also tries to upcycle your inbox.. so boojie. Chris sets his worries aloft. Will he go full Hindenburg or ride a unicorn off into space? Taylor goes full podcast inception. Stay tuned to see if the universe collapses in on itself!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Swallow the Frog: Tackle the important and uncomfortable in your creative practice.

    December 5th, 2017  |  1 hr 27 mins
    backup, hard drives, mirrors, mood boards, nas, photography, screwdrivers, style guides, ui kit

    Sara Schnadt is our guest this week! Los Angeles in the house!
    Sara, Taylor and Rob talk about tackling things we don't want to tackle. We also chat about collaborating with non-artists and merging the work-life with the art-life. Mirrors are pretty cool, even in the 21st Century. It seems Colonel Sanders had a proclivity for the pistols. We also fit Daredevil and Systems Engineering into the conversation... somehow!

    Taylor decides he should really get his archive situation in order before entropy wins the battle. Sara shares the thinking and re-thinking she's been doing on her art practice after multiple moves, life changes and health hurdles. Rob spends two weeks creating a new sandbox for himself and decides he needs more road trash and hot pink in his work. WARNING: The phrase "mood boards" was used more than once during the recording of this episode.

    Also, it is our 20th episode! Thanks to all our previous guests! You can hear a brief update from Meghan Trainor, Huong Ngo, Dan Bustillo, Federico Tobon, Matt Steinke, Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (the Root Simple posse!), Violet Juno and Ranjit Bhatnagar on this episode!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Lo-Fi Space Exploration

    November 21st, 2017  |  1 hr 9 mins
    2600, 3d printing, audacity, conferences, defcon, feds, frontpage, hacking, interstellar, open source, phreaking, predators, prusa, puzzles, space, style, whiteness

    No guest this week! Taylor and Rob blasting off into the inky void of lo-fi space.... .... ... .. . . . (yikes!) We talk about white male predators. yuck. Defcon, fed spotting, phreaking, hacking, 3d printing, FrontPage 98, Audacity and how scary it can feel to contribute to open source projects.

    Rob channels his inner Container Store and gets packed for nowheresville. Taylor takes us to a cold, dark and lonely place... probably inhabited by little ice monsters.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Time Based Improvisation

    November 3rd, 2017  |  1 hr 10 mins
    ableton live, amen break, audacity, frequency hopping, ken burns, lock picking, maps, mustaches, osama bin laden, pepe, protonopia, radio, sdr, shia labeouf, software, space, vietnam

    No guest this week! Taylor and Rob keeping it... real? real loose and jazzy, maybe. If you're interested in Ken Burns' very interesting hairstyle, the toothbrush mustache, protanopia and "the Amen break" you've come to the right podcast.

    We dive into creating and sequencing music with images, random number generation and software defined radios (SDRs). We also get into science fiction, topo maps, lockpicking

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Microdemocracy

    October 24th, 2017  |  1 hr 17 mins
    braided belts, ca glue, clients, cults, design, ibm, oblong industries, processing, starbursts, superglue, watson

    J Stephen Lee is our guest this week! Portland, Oregon in tha house! We chat about designcraft on really large screens and the craft of design as a distillation and specification process. We also talk about challenges of working with clients the advantages of being articulate about your decisions. And then we got on the topic of braided belts, the Heaven's Gate cult, BBS culture and the Starburst unit of measure... just so you know you're listening to the right podcast.

    Taylor investigates making things as a way to deduce the decision-making capabilities and preferences of two-year-olds. Stephen generates and abstracts in the Trumpist era. Rob puts the nano in microdemocracy.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 16: Arrow Through the Heart of Capitalism

    October 7th, 2017  |  1 hr 23 mins
    arduino, arrows, art, blood, bomb, calorimeter, cinchel, cool tools, donald bell, electricity, endurance, esp8266, fletching, ganzeer, gastropod, guitar, hemacite, honest money, instruments, ivan stang, klf, lord of the rings, mapping, money, music, on kawara, pareidolia, pentametron, performance, raubdruckerin, screenprinting, slack, smiley face murder, subgenius, timebanking, trigger, voltmeter, wall street, walter kitundu, wifi, zodiac killer

    Ranjit Bhatnagar is our guest this week! Brooklyn in the house! We talk about plastic made from blood (hemacite!), seeing faces in things (pareidolia! :-) ), the Church of the SubGenius, redaction, instrument making, and beaver pelts as currency.

    Rob tests the flight characteristics of paper and plastic. Ranjit isn't the Smiley Face killer... well... probably isn't. Taylor's project is fire (and electricity)!

    Mad props to The KLF. They burned a million quid. We didn't do that. Also, check our all our links. Holy cow!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 15: Exceptions to Originard

    September 25th, 2017  |  1 hr 5 mins
    aliens, bentonite, britannia metal, casting, equifax, furries truckers, gloves, highways, ipod, iron, mold making, optivisors, originality, petroglyphs, pewter, podcasts, poplar, postmodernism, sand, silicone, time, ui, ux

    We have no guest this week! Just Rob and Taylor keepin' it Originard... Originard!?! No! Not a typo! You'll have to listen to Episode 14 to get the details on that! We talk about furries, truckers, Equifax's ridiculously jank website, and Bunnie Huang's awesomeness. Taylor's flocking is on fleek! He revives a past project and gets metal with it. Bluetooth was a person? Rob tries something new and kinda contemplative about aliens, petroglyphs, time, originality and... postmodernism. Listener warning: We got arty.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 14: In Reverse Dance Poem

    September 11th, 2017  |  1 hr 7 mins
    90's, ai, arduino, electronics, face mapping, file systems, flask, flocking, gas masks, grunge, haiku, machine learning, neural networks, punk rockers, python, raspberry pi, rnn, satanism, solenoids, tensorflow, turntables

    Jon Satrom is our guest this week! Chicago (x2) in tha house! We talk about being punk rockers, dropping projectors and being deep in the hippie game. There are many things to buy when the invisible hand of disaster capitalism pays full retail price for your surplus gas masks.

    Internet Engineering Task Force... take notice! Taylor has created the haikulink transport protocol (Is port 575 taken?). Jon squeezes Taylor and Rob through a neural network and a whole bunch of like... awesome weird stuff comes out, you know? Rob talks trash on solenoids but they came through in the end so he probably shouldn't get too puffy about it.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 13: Make a Flag

    August 28th, 2017  |  1 hr 16 mins
    99% invisible, anti-defamation, art, audacity, cmyk, datamoshing, deportation, design, disability, focus groups, glitch, hate groups, hex fiend, hitler, ice, image glitch, immigration, los angeles, making, markers, peckerwood, process, racism, satin, silk, symbology, u.s. flag, wind

    Violet Juno is our guest this week! Bay Area in tha house!!! We discuss working hard, pain, constant pain, and chronic pain. We miss talking about The Chronic, somehow.

    Taylor injects symbols into the system and gets some really weird and great results. Well... We made it 12 episodes before Pepe entered the conversation. Violet grabs wind by the horns and unfurls the awesomeness. They also tip us off to some rad fabric and cool markers in the process. Rob tries to melt ICE in Los Angeles and keep the focus group focused.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly http://kellymariemartin.com! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 12: Keys of Understanding

    August 14th, 2017  |  1 hr 25 mins
    3 point perspective, arduino, art, bicycles, biking, bones, breadboard, burning money, cards, circuit diagram, college, deck, decolonization, design, dogen, drawing, dying fetus, electronics, feldspar, flag pole, flags, form, fritzing, gameshows, high school, icons, knives, language, leds, los angeles, meaning, metal, mosfet, paulo freire, pedagogy, perspective drawing, philosophy, poetry, schematic, scp foundation, secure contain protect, soylent, spirituality, stock, tarot, teaching, tip120, transistor, translation, western thought, zen, zines

    Artist and public school arts educator Arturo Romo is our guest this week! Northeast Los Angeles in tha house! We discuss public education, the joys of collaboration and creating life stability. Some people look like vegetables, and some vegetables looks like humans. Rob now wears a bike helmet and deploys as many icons as possible to preach the bike safety gospel. And he encourages you earn the "burn money" merit badge. Arturo moves the bones to shuffle and stack colonialism and decolonization. Taylor gets his 3-point perspective on! Mosfet is not a Star Wars bounty hunter... that we know of. Taylor also names the "woke death metal" genre.

    Thanks to Nik for being our top Patreon supporter! And thanks to Luke and Kelly (Happy Birthday Kelly!) as well!

    You can check out photos of our projects at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

  • Episode 11: Uncertainty Generators

    July 31st, 2017  |  1 hr 20 mins
    air compressors, cad, catacombs, catering, coin toss, cooking, doubt, duchamp, food service, healthcare, hustles, identity, mcmaster-carr, movies, pager codes, paris, pharmaceuticals, pvc, quarters, travel, uncertainty, wallets

    Erin O'Brien is our guest this week! Los Angeles (via Paris) in tha house!

    We talk about traveling, movies, pager codes and Operation Mincemeat! Rob has no idea what was said for 5 minutes of this podcast. Taylor's project "flies off the handle" and Erin and Rob go "WHOA!" at the same time! Erin concocts a very intriguing vessel that could definitely change how your day is going... no matter the orifice. Rob digs through 10 years of digital photos and runs over stuff with his truck.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly http://kellymariemartin.com/! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

    Greetings Australian listeners!

  • Episode 10: Creating Problems

    July 17th, 2017  |  1 hr 33 mins
    3d printing, additivism, aspic, dit, diy, food, knolling, low tech, mcluhan, raspberry pi, salukis, seed bombs, solar, sous-vide, tape delay, targets, thermal printing

    Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne of the Root Simple publishing empire are our guests this week! Los Angeles in tha house! We talk about targets, tape delay, adobe mud, knolling, sous-vide, puppies and the secrets contained in Lower Level 2. Rob is surrounded by tall people. Hello Macedonia! Thanks for Listening!

    Erik and Kelly concoct suborbital weed bombs. Yep. You read that right. Suborbital. Weed. Bombs. Taylor pushes us one step closer to the inevitable Internet of Poems. Rob gets inspired by additivism and tries to 3D print a thing.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly http://kellymariemartin.com/! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 9: Jigs

    July 3rd, 2017  |  1 hr 15 mins
    "ice cube" relays, acrylic, ants, bespoke, breaker, bubbles, cnc, dog bowls, ice picks, jigs, laser cutters, modernist, rusty cans, shop vac, terrariums, toaster ovens, vacuum tube

    Matthew Steinke is our guest this week! Austin, Texas in tha house! Jigs is our topic! We cipher on Matt's forays into robotic music making, radio transmissions, terrariums, art objects and weird retail experiences.

    Taylor synthesizes CNC prototyping, mold-making, felting and leather-working to create something even cooler than a bespoke modernist CNC dog bowl. And you thought it wasn't possible! Matt wields shop vac, laser cutter and toaster oven while chasing the allure of bubbles, "ice cube" relays, and vacuum tubes. Rob just might have a way to conquer his giant pile of rusty cans ... ... ... or he will get tetanus and be in a lot of pain. Taylor busts out an amazing Frieza impression. "This isn't even my final form!"

    Share an episode and we'll send you a sticker! Just let us know how you shared an episode of the podcast and send your address to us at opposablepodcast@gmail.com

    A big shoutout to Nik, our top Patreon patron! Thank you Nik! Nik, Kelly and Luke are like... like... Charlie's Angels but with additional cool psychic powers and breakdancing prowess!

    We post photos, videos and other cool stuff related to our projects at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com and we're on Instagram at http://instagram.com/opposable_podcast. Thanks for listening!