Calaveras Shipping-YAY!

Posted by Adria Ovdiyenko on

Hello all you awesome Calaveras supporters! You may have noticed that the Calaveras merch is no longer listed as pre-order on the site. We are shipping daily now thankfully. It's been super busy here at headquarters and nothing makes us happier than being able to get cards and other goodies to our customers right away.

I am updating the site as I find time with new and improved pics, as well as taking the pre-order label off all the listings. I may have missed a few to date, but know that anything available for order will ship out ASAP.


The lowdown:

We received the Calaveras cards from USPCC right before Thanksgiving. I immediately started unwrapping the decks while Chris got busy numbering them all. We spent many nights on this process and found out that Chris has some sort of number dyslexia? Does that exist? Well, I believe it does because I have seen it. Oh, have I seen it. All's well that ends well though and once we realized that Chris can't talk and number at the same time, we shut up, set iTunes to shuffle, and got through those boxes like a couple of bosses. I only stabbed myself a few times. Okay, more than a few. But who's counting?

After that, we made history (IMO) with shipping. We worked relentlessly to get those decks, prints, stickers, coins, and shirts into the mailman's hands. Our mail carrier is awesome by the way. Here's a shout out to Dave, who rocked that mail truck so hard. So freakin hard. He's getting a nice Christmas bonus every year of his life. And I should probably throw in some cookies too. He's THAT good.

So what's next for these here Day of Dead and well, just dead, fanatics? We are thrilled to announce that Oracle Playing Cards will be available on our site in March-woot woot! If you haven't seen the Oracle cards yet, please take a look. They are gorgeous! I keep patting Chris on the back for designing these. I think he is getting a little sore actually but I can't help myself. 


Bicycle Branded Oracle Playing Cards with mini Oracle board and planchette package:



Oracle Coin:



Oracle T-shirt:





That's it for tonight, friends. We will have some exciting announcements coming up in the near future. Nope, I cannot divulge them yet but I am DYING to! Chris is being a party pooper unfortunately. BUT, for now, thank you for reading our blog and for supporting us!




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Oracle Project closes on Kickstarter!

Posted by Chris Ovdiyenko on

Originally, I had the idea for Oracle and I expected it to be kind of a smaller project. Wow, was I wrong! Folks backed Oracle in a big way, bringing up a final funding level that came close to Calaveras. My expectations were way off, and I've never been happier to be wrong!

The thing that I was most pleasantly surprised about was how much of a community grew up around the project. I had folks messaging me and leaving comments, offering suggestions, and words of encouragement. You know, it's always a little scary putting something you create out there in the public sphere - you never can tell how it's going to be received. All my personal fears and doubts evaporated when I started seeing how much my work meant to people, and that's absolutely priceless.

My biggest lesson from this project (aside from never running a project for only 30 days), was that life is about so much more than just money. You might think that's easy to say after 2 successful projects, but it's really true. Money comes and goes, but relationships with a community that appreciates your work transcends dollars and cents. The dialogue I had with my backers means more than anything to me, and I realized just how important it is to keep the vision of a project unclouded by short term gain.

For Oracle, I'm giving a lot back to the community, probably more than they might realize—and that's exactly the way the way I think it should be.

Well enough ramblings for one night, hope some of this rings true for you if you're reading it.



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Oracle Playing Cards Released on Kickstarter!

Posted by Adria Ovdiyenko on

This has been an exciting week for us here at Dead on Paper! On Kickstarter Chris released our Oracle playing card deck, with artwork based on the Spiritualist movement:

I recently read "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" by Cat Winters and I was excitedly telling Chris all about the story. I've read many books about Spiritualists, the most notable being Dan Aykroyd's book, "A History of Ghosts". It is the most notable because if you didn't know this already, Aykroyd's family involvement in the Spiritualist movement was the inspiration for the film, Ghostbusters. As we all know, life would be a much dimmer place without Ghostbusters!

I have to admit, if you haven't deducted this yourself, I am one of those "every day is Halloween" kind of people. It is pretty safe to say I am taking Chris to the dark side with me with the Oracle playing card deck. It can be difficult to do horror without the cheese. Don't get me wrong, the cheese is great sometimes (think Troma-classic) but for this deck, we wanted spooky without octopus tentacles or hockey masks. I think Chris has really pulled off the ghostly feel in this deck with his subtle, yet creepy card concoctions, based around talking boards, automatic writing, spirit photography, seances & ectoplasm: 



We're offering T-shirts, coins, and stickers as add-ons, and of course Chris will be pulling prints for this deck of playing cards too. The prints for Calaveras are amazingly beautiful, and the Oracle prints will be too.

We've had a very strong start on Kickstarter thanks to you—our wonderful supporters. We can't say thank you enough! We hope you also enjoy Oracle and will add it to your collection of playing cards. If you haven't seen the project yet, please take a look. Also, remember to like us on Facebook. We have a really nice community of followers and we love talking to you all.

Thank you,


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Calaveras Woodcut Prints Now Available on Dead On Paper!

Posted by Chris Ovdiyenko on

Calaveras prints are now available! I thought this would be a great time to give you a little window into what I was thinking while I created the designs, but if you want to get right to the prints, here's the link:

The Calaveras project has brought Day of the Dead artwork, inspired by Posada, to life in the form of decks of playing cards. Now that same artwork is available for display in the form of woodcut prints. I will personally be hand-pulling each print. Each print will be signed, numbered, and part of a limited edition. 

I am so excited to be able to offer these modern day renditions of traditional day of the dead prints. Printmaking has always been a special interest of mine and the process is near and dear to my heart. I hope you love the prints because I couldn't be happier to offer these originals for a reasonable price to all who enjoy the artistic style and love Day of the Dead artwork as much as I do.

These prints pay homage to the legacy of printmaker and illustrator, José Guadalupe Posada. Posada was a pictorial journalist and satirist known primarily for his Calaveras, or skulls, which Posada employed to make a political or religious statement. His most famous illustration, Calavera de la Catrina ("Skull of the Female Dandy"), was meant as satire aimed at the upper class under Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. 

These prints represent major players in the Mexican Revolution. For instance, the Spades are based on the aristocracy. The King of Spades is a rendering of Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico turned dictator. Diaz was responsible for land rights being taken away from farmers and peasants and given to the haciendas, homes to the aristocrats of Mexico. The Revolution was mainly a war of land rights, spurred by the inequality of wealth in the country. Under Diaz, 5% of the population owned 95% of the land and workers on the haciendas were often treated no better than slaves—beaten for small infractions and sometimes killed in their pursuit to pay off never-ending debt to their hacienda masters. The Queen of Spades is my artistic salute to Catrina, a female member of the aristocracy. My interpretation is based loosely on Diaz's wife, Carmen Romero Rubio. She was very fashionable, and always dressed like the aristocracy of Europe. The Jack of Spades is a government soldier who fought under Diaz in the Revolution.

The Clubs suit represents the common people-the King of Clubs is a farmer, the Queen a peasant woman, and the Jack, a folk musician in the traditional charro suit of a mariachi player.

The Diamonds suit represents the clergy of the church. The Catholic Church was very active in politics at the time of the Revolution and owned a lot of land. In order to force the Church out of politics, anticlerical policies were introduced and some church land seized on behalf of the state. There's even incedences where clergy were executed—pretty serious stuff.

The King of Hearts is my artistic rendering of Emiliano Zapata, revolutionary and hero of Mexico. Zapata fought for the redistribution of the land from the haciendas and European aristocrats back to the native people of Mexico. A peasant by birth, he organized and led peasants in the South during the Mexican Revolution and forced Diaz into exile with the help of other revolutionary armies led by Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco in the North. Zapata was killed in 1919, betrayed and ambushed in a hail of bullets from his enemies. Zapata's armies had many key soldaderas, or women soldiers and officers. The Queen of Hearts is a soldadera, representing the female revolutionaries of the time. The Jack of Hearts is a bandito, a man who steals from the rich. Pancho Villa was a bandito before he was a general, stealing cattle from wealthy landowners in Northern Mexico.

The colorful history of the Mexican Revolution and the political satire of Posada's prints inspired me while making my own art and art prints. Posada's calaveras have become iconic in el Dia de Muertos celebrations, which take place on November 1st (little angels) and 2nd each year. I love the idea of celebrating the memories of all who have come before us and made such an impact on our world with their intelligence and bravery, as well as our loved ones. 

So check out theprints and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about my thought process behind the designs:

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

~Emiliano Zapata

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Giveaway Winners!!!

Posted by Chris Ovdiyenko on

Hey guys, here's the results:

First Prize Winner (iPad Mini coming your way!)
Benjamin Baltesar

Second Prize Winners 
Travis Magill
Josh Erlich
Jason Croft

Third Prize Winners
Ian Hutchison
Basilio Martella
Humberto Valdez
Becky C. 
Jairo Marin

Thank you all of you for entering!!! Winners, I'll be in touch shortly via email to shore up addresses. And thanks again to everyone for backing the project and supporting Calaveras!! You're all awesome!



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