Thursday, December 16, 2010


The Courage asked me to do a print for their special New Years Day show at The Triple Door. Noah + I looked at a lot of prints and what we liked about different pieces for about 2 weeks. It's nice finding out other artistic appreciations from musician friends. Noah has a great sense of artistic value and why things work, it was great narrowing down a direction because of this.

How The Triple Door looks and runs their business instantly holds class. I wanted the poster to reflect that as well as the organic strength of The Courage. I listened to their record "Fearful Bones" on repeat for days and kept coming back to their song 'Wandering Bird'. I drew 2 diff. bird versions and offset them a bit. I then placed the hook line in a gear and surrounded the piece with a border to make it look more like a book. I like doing little things that break the piece so I pulled the image through the frame for a little touch. I went Audubon on this.

Noah + Ivan came to help me print them, they were warriors, we braved black outs too, the electric kind. Here's some snaps of the process:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NO THEFT x GARAGE VOICE x Patrick Michael Toney

Patrick and I usually just work on screen printed posters together. We both have different artistic backgrounds and sometimes we struggle thru a solution, but it always enhances the final outcome. This poster is straight up turn of the century print with the whole workers union flare. The hand holding lighting felt really fitting for the rock n' roll that will be happening tonight, it's gonna be swell AND our last show of the year. We be playin' new tunes y'all! GARAGE VOICE


Benjamin Doerr asked me to do a poster for his release of St. Paul de Vence that happens this Friday at The Tractor. Benjamin & I share a special history to our home country France as well as having grandparents who were from the south who served in the French Resistance. I can't wait to hear the stories of his grandfather that he sewed to tunes in St. Paul de Vence.

I made the poster as a reflection of the 3 week journey Benjamin did in France to hear the stories again at the feet of his grandfather. Turning the flag into a suitcase instantly came into my mind. I wanted the type to reflect something about St. Paul de Vence so I looked at 100 wood carved signs that hang in front of every shop there and mimicked their type treatments. Voila :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


TK JR. & Pablo Trucker asked me to do a poster for their Conor Byrne show this Friday! TK said 'it can be very simple, even just type' so I dove head first. I've been using this great industrial era font Bebas Neue on a couple pieces and it fit for what I was goin for. I wanted a worn/old type/heritage piece. I tattered the letters, put a dusk version of the red/blues for the USA heritage feel, and then stacked the 2 names in alternating form to give a cohesive element of how their live show will be like. Both bands are working on new material and I'm excited for it to go public!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010


Amanda DuFord's album release show is this evening. I'm proud to see her commitment begin its payoff tonight. Patrick & Bruce of Garage Voice will be backing her up at this special show and I'll be opening the night with the assistance of some of my favorite people. Casey from Paper Astronomer will join me with guitar & vocals, Will Frei on picking guitar and his wife Tina Frei who shares the title of my favorite female vocal with Gemma Hayes. These 3 gifted friends of mine are about to have some significant changes in their lives that may alter Thomas Carr Stiles a bit, so I decided to do an old type poster for myself to remember this show by in remembrance of them

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NO THEFT x Paper Astronomer

Paper Astronomer has a couple more shows before the years end so for 2 of them I decided to do a 4th grader paper construction series. They make me think of old posters of space that I use to have on my walls :) I designed, cut these out, and had VANJA. shoot/edit all together in less than 24 hrs. I love when projects are effortless!

I've included a couple of zoom ins so you can see how that paper lifts. It was a blast and turned out just how I desired. The space ship required a LOT of x-acto knife patience that my cramping hands have scorned.

Paper Astronomer is the best unknown band in Seattle. Their show at Chop Suey last week is in my TOP TEN best live performances ever. Go see them while it's not expensive too. I'll see you there! I like seeing them together to :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thomas Adam Moffitt

Every week I look at Boston globes incredible photo coverage of whats happening in this world. I was scanning thru their latest post on the currents of Afghanistan and was chilled by this picture of Thomas Adam Moffitt. His stoic face with pimples, short hair cut, in his best uniform with the colors behind him made me think of my brother Zachary who is in the service. It looked just like him and the more I look at this picture the more I see my brothers face. Thomas Adam Moffitt died a week ago in Afghanistan at the age of 21. My brother just turned 21.

It's an emotional aching swirl that tugs at so many strings of life, belief, ethics, family. I grow weary of the heightened fear of terrorism thats mass distributed by every outlet, I don't want to see this face above and not be moved. I don't want to feel casual about death in any of its avenues. I don't want to feel that the death of any one is acceptable.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Amanda DuFord approached me months ago to do her first official full length. Through our hashing out of ideas we built the record on the foundation of not having the album look like anything typical to the singer song writer stigma that is rampant in design (zoom in photo on face and slightly modified text, jus think disc makers design). For a month we poured over concepts, type, color, textures, placements, there wasn't one thing we didn't talk about. Amanda has a gift of scrap booking so the physical texture and lift off the page became a theme to build around.

I read her lyrics and drifted into so many places. The theme of the record is to not be overcome by doubt and it's numerous circumstances, to accept the vulnerability that comes with growing, and to accept the strength of grace in the good & ruff. I thought there should be a visible gradient of the ruff to deliverance. I did this in 2 ways: 1) Her lyrics reference a run down shack that's a safe trap, I conceptualized that with barren trees/stormy clouds/jagged mountains and then built a heavenly city where the final outcome lies 2) obviously color.
I put the whole imagery in a single drop of rain for reference to the album title. I kept the edges scrappy & incomplete to mirror the scrap book theme.

BASIC METHOD: Thumbnail, build in Illustrator, print each piece out, transfer to water color, water color each piece, arrange by laying each piece on top of the other, send to VANJA. in Michigan to shoot in 3 diff. formats digital/35mm/Hasselblad (we chose the 35mm for the grittier grain), edit film, add type. VOILA. The tear drop alone is over 2ft tall.

For the back of the record I thought it should reflect the outcome of the themes: the Heavenly city. I didn't want to jus zoom in on the city for the back, so I made the city out of each piece where as the cover is 1 piece with the city painted on it. Both the cover and back have a small path in them, 1 to lead from the shack up, and then seeing the path again but in gold leading into the city, kinda pilgrims progress path of sorts.

Working with watercolored paper naturally bends it, so when laying it down it created these excellent depths by the unique shadows from those bends. This is my second all watercolor album cover (with VANJA. shooting it as well, this is the first ALBUM we did) & it's the biggest project I've done. I want all my work to be considered a natural extension of the client I'm working with. I never want my work to be blaring NO THEFT, I want people to think of my client more than they have before and this I consider the greatest accomplishment of my work.

Amanda is having her album release show at the Q Cafe | Nov. 5 | 8PM | $8, my GV brothers will be backing her up and she asked if Thomas Carr Stiles would open, I'm in.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NO THEFT x Paper Astronomer

(click to view larger)

Paper Astronomer are hard workers. Strict long practices 3x a week, they put their songs under brutal attention, and they're constantly releasing new material for their fan base. These attentive efforts are going to pay off soon, there's some good things for them in play.

They asked me to do their self titled EP with the Tiger Astronaut I did for their Tractor Tavern show. I decided the best way to keep it clean was to only have type on the back, keep it curved- san serif-vintage NASA style. I kerned each track to have equal width with the others and that brought another space dimension. To keep it close to the Tractor print we decided to screen print it ourselves, I wanted to push it further by putting a blank off white square under the Tiger making a frame within a frame. I then thought while we're at it lets do a secret print on the inside that you can only see if you cut the tabs off. I came up with a special type for their initials and made an antenna with visible audio waves. I had Casey (lead singer) come over and write out some lines that he and Brian (bass player) had wrote for the EP (I had him write out everything on their last EP as well) and put it on top. I'm really proud of how clean the designs transferred into printing them out. The smallest font size I did for the print was 9pt, SWEET.

(click to view larger)

I'm always inspired by Paper Astronomer's work/songs/performances. This album isn't up at their site yet, but will be hopefully soon. Pat on the back boys, you did it again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NO THEFT x The Voetbergs

Liddy Voetberg
asked me to do a poster for their show at the R.E. Bennett Auditorium that will also feature the incredible talents of the Konzelman Brothers & Hanneke Cassel. It was a challenge working with 3 diff photos that were very diff from each other and make the piece design friendly. I decided old playbill and rustic orange were my allies. This is going to be a talent explosion, go, be challenged & inspired!

Monday, October 18, 2010


My friend Amy Seeley asked me to do a special cover for her digital release of "Catalinas" that was 1st made available on her birthday. It's a new direction for her, same rich wonderful voice surrounded by subtle electronica landscapes. I listened to this song on repeat while I thumb nailed and dissected the lyrics AND you know what? I'm still not tired of it :) The song explores an experience she has at the mountain scape of the Catalinas and how this inspires her to draw more life out of hers.

Visually I decided to make a key hole out of the mountains and the setting sun against a layered backdrop of the sunset sky, I then made a skeleton key out of a custom calligraphic 'C' for 'Catalina's' to represent that experience/place being the catalyst of her pursuing newly discovered inspirations. Spatially it almost follows the rule of thirds with the descending Sun breaking the tension of the top third as well as breaking the mountains to give slight depth to the landscape. I really enjoy the color choices, it really makes it for me. I'm also proud of how cleanly it matches her song musically & lyrically.

Amy Seeley is an absolute gem to work with. She's prompt on communication, willing to explore the design her music makes me feel, and always honest. Please have a listen & support her.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Lower Lights Burning asked me to do a poster for their big home show. For some reason whenever I have thought of his band I've thought of old lanterns. I finally was able to put that vision to use when I found an old lantern at Goodwill for 3 bones. This is the most time i've spent on a poster before, all drawn besides the text, it's one of my favorite pieces. I thought the fall leaves would be a fitting replacement for fire that would naturally come after a lantern was bashed.

I'm taking the time to think more before getting on my computer to create, it's allowing me to pull from so many more places.

I'm going to this show AND was jus asked to play some Thomas Carr Stiles songs before LLB's set! NICE!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Todays Inspiration

While rolling 2 tires across a street into the back of an old Honda Vanja is selling (takers?) I saw this color tattered leaf. It stayed in my car all day till I started sketching my latest piece for Lower Lights Burning. A sweet purchase from Goodwill joined the sketch too, I'll share later this week.

I've been looking at things outside of blogs/ffffound/design heroes lately. To do so I've been picking up my pen more, just sitting around and thinking, resting, praying more, getting outside, connecting with strangers. I'm excited to share how these changes are impacting my work. I'll be sharing the latest very soon with a few album covers for 1) Paper Astronomer 2) Amanda DuFord 3) Amy Seeley, couple posters and other printables.

A note on nature: It will always have the best design, the best color swatch palettes, and the best inspiration. When in a slump, step outside.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I usually don't dig the NIKE's except when the Chi-Town Dynasty was cementing it's empire with the Jordan/Pippen cornerstones ->I was wearin every endorsed pair LOYALLY<-

Since my hoop dreams dissipated from the results of low ups and other interests flooding I've left the laces & soul of the NIKE realm. Couple days ago I stumbled on these NIKE AIR WILDWOODS and I've been peeking at them on my desktop 3x a day. HOLLA!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Togetherness is better than apartness

I again have had to wait for Vanja to come back to Seattle. She's promised to never go back to Michigan again unless it's with me and has assured me no more babies will be happening anytime soon from her sister...not really to either. Holding her hand has to be my favorite thing in the world, next in line is avocado's, sweet tasty yummy avocado's...MMmmmm.. ALSO Vanja has my favorite smile, crazy huh? and apparently she owns many sunglasses.

Patrick Toney

I've known Patrick since 2000. Since then we've done a lot together: Went to Mexico and upon our return started a band with Bruce Pearson, gone thru many hair styles, many all nighters, dated sisters (I'm still with mine :D) , went to a Seattle Super Sonics basketball game before Oklahoma took em, grew out our beards for a month with our good friend Mert, moved to Seattle and shared the same roof for the last 6 yrs, we've been accountable to each other in many areas, we've eaten SO many fried egg sandwiches and ramen (he likes putting pieces of lettuce in his), we've shared some design projects recently that I only see getting bigger/better, we've made each other endless pots of French Press, we've jumped in on the same melody/harmony/whistle out of the blue countless times, we've shared a lot of clothes, we've spotted each other so many times, we've become firm on Coca Cola.

This is what I can think of in a couple minutes. He had a birthday on Thursday and had the good fortune of having his mom here for it. I count Tric the dearest of friends and am blessed to call him my brother. Pat him on the back the next time you see him, if you gain him as a friend your life will be richer in SO many ways.

Friday, September 17, 2010


All B&W series over at GV's site on our latest printing project. Shrek it out!