Tag Archives: art

Artist Spotlight – Dominique Montano

This month’s featured artist in our Fort Collins store is Dominique Montano.  We are captivated by her realistic yet conceptualized depictions of large safari animals.  So we thought we would sit down and get to know a little more about Dominique and where her inspiration comes from.

Tell us a little about your background… when did you start creating art and what drew you to life as an artist?

I grew up with a lot of brothers, so there were a lot of comic books floating around. I loved the art in them and would sit and draw out panels for hours, and that really got me into the idea of sketching and drawing. I did portraits for a while before I started shifting to animals. I was very interested in animals at the time since I wanted to become a veterinarian, and eventually I just started trying to draw out animals. It was a pretty handy skill while in school for zoology and I was able to create my own posters and figures. Art was always a sort of hobby to me, but when I was in a car accident last year and had nothing but time in a bed to recover, it became very therapeutic for me and I started to draw and create artwork more often. I love being able to create and see myself grow as an artist with each new piece, and to be able to educate others and bring attention to some of the animal subjects I create.

You draw a lot of animals but not ones that you typically get to see in nature.  What sparked your interest in big cats and safari type animals?

I’ve always been interested in the mammals and large predators of the world. In my time as an undergraduate I received a unique opportunity to perform work on pumas, and then after a study abroad trip to South Africa several years ago, I began to respect the nature around us and understand how little I knew of the world. As a zoologist, I respect cats in general due to their incredible adaptability and amazing diversity among habitats, and felt that pieces with cats as my subjects would command attention and help others understand a little more about them.

Beyond cats, there are amazing animals out there, large and small, predator and prey, whose populations are declining due to human-wildlife conflict. As I started selling my pieces, I realized I could use my art to call attention to these issues, provide resources to educate, and try to give back where I could to the animals whose likeness I was profiting from. I make sure to donate a portion of my profits from pieces to conservation organizations that do incredible work to combat the factors that are forcing these species into a corner.

The cheetah figures in “In Motion” were created with spray paint.  Did you create a stencil for each one or airbrush them on?

I’m actually a pretty big fan of stencils! “In Motion” was one of my favorite pieces because it was as accurate as possible to the actual motion of a running cheetah, and turned out looking fantastic. I used freezer paper to draw on a stencil, cut out the areas to be painted, and ironed it onto the canvas, which creates nice sharp lines when it’s time to spraypaint. Then smaller detailed areas were filled in with pen to bring it all together. In progress photo can be seen on Dominique’s instagram.

Other than being an artist, we know you’re a CSU student.  What are you currently studying and what do you hope to do when you graduate?

I received my bachelor’s in Zoology from Colorado State University in 2014, and am currently on a PhD track in Zoology at Colorado State University again! So it’s really nice to return and bring some projects to fruition that have been on hold for a few years. I perform research in a physiology lab, and would like to concentrate on comparative and exercise physiology in large animals, as well as animal locomotion. The dream is to work with the cats of the world and understand their physiology and morphology across species. In addition to research I’d like to continue my educational projects and perform outreach using my artistry. There is so much we as researchers and people can learn from the world around us, and respecting that world and the systems we may not even fully comprehend yet is absolutely integral to our own growth and survival. To be able to use my knowledge and talents to contribute to such an understanding would be an incredible accomplishment.

You work with a lot of different mediums, including woodworking.  What is your favorite type of art to create?

I really do love it all! I’m still getting into more mediums every day, but the ones that stand out most to me are charcoal work and more recently, watercolors. Both mediums can be messy, but on one hand charcoals offer great contrast work, along with relatively easy shading to be done with smudges. Watercolors I love because it can add a fantastic element of surrealism by putting in different colors where they shouldn’t normally be. While I try to adhere to realism where I can in a piece due to my educational background, art is still art, and sometimes you just need to throw some blues and greens on a piece to really make it pop!

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve every done? (if you could also send me a picture or Instagram link to use in the blog, that would be awesome).

Ooh that’s a tough one. It’s tough getting attached to a piece because I never want to let it go! My favorites currently are probably “Tyger, Tyger,”  “Native,” or “Ursidae.” “Tyger, Tyger” was an idea borne from a poem, and some of the techniques I tried out looked so fantastic in the end product that I don’t know if I’ll ever replicate that again. “Native” is one of my favorites due to my love of pumas, and was one of the first projects where I blended inks and watercolors to create contrast and fur detail, and the end product was better than expected, which is hard to get. “Ursidae” is a charcoal piece, one of my first larger ones that ended up just looking incredible. I’m very critical of my works, and it was just one of those rare pieces that I couldn’t find any criticism for.


The Tyger Tyger piece which one of the limited edition prints this month was based on has a cool ‘duality’ type composition.  We saw this in some of your other work as well.  Is there a message there?

Actually, one of my first pieces was called “Duality!” I previously did a piece called “Two Kings” which was similar to “Tyger, Tyger,” which featured two lions, one roaring and one just looking on. That idea of duality in nature, of fear and respect, regality and aggression, was just appealing to me; and cats were the perfect subject for it. There is a poem called “The Tyger,” by William Blake, which speaks of the dangers and beauty of nature, juxtaposing the innocence and frailty of a lamb with the power and fear that a tiger can impose. The piece was adapted from the first stanza, which reads:

“Tyger tyger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

I have always loved that poem and the message it suggests, and after I did “Two Kings” knew I wanted to adapt ‘The Tyger” in a similar fashion. The message is similar to the poem: there is beauty in nature, and there is just as much power. It’s not always to be feared, because we can learn so much, but it is absolutely to be respected. The tigers in the piece, one roaring and one looking on, reflects nature and its duality. Most of these animals in the world around us are not to be controlled, but respected for the ferocity and poise they can hold.


Dominique’s limited edition artist tees are only available during the month of September, so shop them now before you miss out. The 2 prints available are a line drawing version of her tiger design, Tyger Tyger and the geometric panther.  Come by the store to see the original artwork and other pieces by Dominique.

tyger-tyger-dominique-montano-artist-edition-heather-ta panther-tee-dominique-montano-artist-edition-olive-green

Akinz presents Allie Ogg for First Friday in October

Allie Ogg at Akinz for First Friday October 2012Foxes, bunnies, and owls on bikes! OH, MY!! Akinz is proud to present Allie Ogg, a local Fort Collins Artist, whose use of cardboard and clay take us away to a cycling wonderland!

Come join us in the back room (where all the magic happens) and print one of the 2 (or both if you prefer) of Allie Ogg’s designs or 2 of the Akinz designs for only $10!! What a steal for a limited edition art piece you can wear!

So come join us for some art, refreshments, and AWESOMENESS this Friday October 5th

RSVP on Facebook

Creative Collective Art Show

Creative Collective Art Show by Kim Kirch

In case you didn’t know… team rider, Kim Kirch’s passion doesn’t stop at snowboarding and wakeboarding. Her first solo art show is coming up on Thursday, April 12th at Shapers Studios in San Diego from 7p -11p. The exhibit is titled “Creative Collective” and will feature approximately 7 wood pieces and one of a kind hats, jackets, and shoes.

This event is open to all ages, but there will be adult beverages available for those who are of age. If you’re in the San Diego area, stop by and check out Kim’s art and hang out before she’s off to Europe for the summer.

Raise a PBR for Akinz!

We’d like you to join in a toast with us! Not only are we about to take a bigger step into the wholesale world and hire some staff, but we just got our numbers back for the year and Akinz grew 5X from 2010 to 2011!! That’s crazy talk. If we grow another 5X from 2011 to 2012, then maybe I’ll be able to take a paycheck! haha. But seriously, we’re stoked and we’re so thankful for all the support. So… raise your can, glass, or other drinking container and cheers with us to another year of growth and spreading the Akinz love.

To share our excitement with you, we’re offering HUMPDAY deals today thru tomorrow. Right now, Buy 2 get 1 FREE in our $10 T-shirt section with the discount code: HUMP.

Also, enjoy FREE SHIPPING and a FREE PAIR OF SUNGLASSES for orders over $40!

And have something from our Valentines featured gifts section in your order and we’ll send you an Akinz fan pack complete with diecut and regular stickers, buttons, and a koozie, plus a discount card for your next purchase online.

Here’s one of our favorite pieces of PBR art by Boulder artist Josh Holland to send you through the rest of your day….

CommuniTEE Night with Articulate City

T-shirt printing party with Articulate City

Next week, the 19th of July, the ladies from Articulate City (a great Fort Collins art community) are rounding up their pARTiers to come over to the Akinz showroom to print some of their own t-shirts, drink some booze, snack on some yumminess and hang out. Here’s what they have to say about the event:

“If you haven’t heard about Suzanne Akin’s awesome screen-print tee shirts, get ready to get educated. Articulate City has partnered with Akinz Boardwear to host a screen-printing extravaganza at the new Akinz studio. Event-goers will meet on bike in Old Town Square and then ride over to the store’s location. Afterall, Akinz Boardwear is all about biking and reducing your carbon footprint! For those not privy to two-wheels, feel free to meet us there.

Upon arrival, guests will be able to sip cocktails and snack on appetizers. You’ll be able to mingle with fellow Articulate City members as well as others from the Fort Collins community, while printing your own Akinz tee! You can choose your own ink and tee shirt colors. Get creative! To top it off, you’ll be using a brand new custom design, which will be kept secret until closer to the event date. (Keep up with us on Facebook for clues.)

Come hang out, make a shirt and have a drink with us at Fort Collins’ newest, local clothing store.”

Price for the party is $20 for members and $30 for non-members which includes your t-shirt, drinks, and appetizers. Check out the rest of the details here and RSVP and pay to reserve your spot here.