Studio Shots: Matt Doubek and Sam Mobley

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Matt Doubek and Sam Mobley work in unique, yet aligned styles: In addition to painting and silkscreening, both do graphic design work; Matt also builds and installs custom wood architectural details for homes, and Sam creates forward-thinking one-of-a-kind furniture. Put them together -- something that happens at least once a year at Pirate: Contemporary Art -- and you have one-of-a-kind art combo that's seamlessly in tune, turning out works on a theme using interweaving techniques and tandem thinking. This year's Pirate Doubek/Mobley collaborative exhibit, Every Good Cowboy, opens Friday; according to Matt, expect to see a show featuring "mostly cowboys and one Indian," all of it driven by a shared penchant for the rustic Western influence and lots of old barn wood.

Last weekend, I had a chance to chat with the two-headed monster at Matt's Louisville studio, a place that's cozy with clutter, about the show and other things.

How did they become a working duo in the first place?

"We met at an art festival at the Denver Pavilions, and I hijacked him," says Doubek (who also goes by the trade name of 'Alias Krap Master Studios') of his opportune first meeting with Sam. It was professional love at first sight, and it didn't hurt that their wives got along, too; Sam also joined Pirate, and, so to speak, they tied the knot.

And how does the bi-city duo (Sam lives and works in Denver) get started plotting out their annual Pirate show? "We go have lunch at Benny's with our sketchbooks and crank on the idea," Matt says. "We always seem to start with burritos and beer." This year, an already strong affinity for the Wild West gave them plenty to work with; their exhibits typically include both miniature affordable works collaged on small blocks of reclaimed wood and larger -- sometimes much larger -- paintings. A lot of what they actually work with -- their art materials -- come from the hardware store and the dumpster. Matt says he prefers to use old wood and signs, recycled house paint and substrate surfaces that he's been collecting for years, over which he applies collaged and gel-transferred drawings and images, always working toward a handmade look. For larger works, he uses an old overhead projector to enlarge his illustrations. Sam, on the other hand, uses more direct silk screening techniques from Photoshopped images. The result, either way, blends the spirit of fine art and and the elegant craftsmanship of graphic design and illustration in irresistible ways, all with a good helping of pure, unadulterated humor. Attend the reception for Every Good Cowboy tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., at Pirate, 3655 Navajo Street; Matt and Sam will be cooking up pulled pork on the bar-b-que for gallery-goers. See the show through February 20.

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